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Ob^ Undian (Tburcl) (Tommentarles 

Edited under the general supervision 
of the Bishops of Lahore & Rangoon 


Cambridge Brotherhood ^ Delhi 


^be 3n&(an Cburcb Cotnmentarieg 









Published at Madras {2nd edition)^ 1909 
Published in England for the Indian Episcopate^ 1919 




A FEW words of introduction are necessary to explain 
the general purpose of this series of Commentaries. 
The work was commenced under the general supervision 
of the Bishop of Kangoon and myself, acting as a 
Committee appointed in accordance with a Kesolution 
of the Synod of Indian Bishops which met in 1900. 
Subsequently, with the sanction of the Metropolitan, 
the Rev. C. F. Andrews, of the Cambridge Brotherhood, 
Delhi, was appointed General Editor. The work of 
revision before publication is being left mainly in his 
hands, but a general Episcopal supervision of the work 
will still be maintained. 

It is hoped that these Commentaries, while presenting 
a direct and scholarly interpretation of the New Testa- 
ment, based upon the work of the great English 
Commentators, will, at the same time, contain such 
references to Eastern religious thought and life as may 
make them serviceable to both Christian and non- 
Christian. The series will, in due course, if funds permit, 
be translated into the leading Indian Vernaculars. It is 


inevitable that in the interpretation of the New Testa- 
ment there will be differences of opinion, and it has 
seemed best to allow these differences to appear in 
the series rather than to aim at a colom-less uniformity. 
The final responsibility for the views taken of particular 
passages will rest with the individual contributors. 

The thanks of the Synod Committee are given to the 
Editors of the Cambridge Bible for Colleges and 
Schools for their kind permission to quote freely from 
that Series, and also to the Cambridge University Press 
and the Delegates of the Oxford University Press for 
a similar permission to use the text of the English 
Bevised Version in this volume. 





This little book was prepared at the request of the 
Bishop of Lahore, acting as Convener of a Committee 
appointed by the Synod of Indian Bishops to arrange 
for the publication of a series of Commentaries on the 
Books of the New Testament, specially adapted to the 
requirements of this country. Its size was determined 
by the condition that it should not exceed in bulk 
the corresponding volume in the ' Cambridge Bible for 
Schools and Colleges.' This condition precluded 
the possibility of supplying anything in the shape of 
full and copious ' Studies,' — calculated to elucidate in 
detail the spiritual and practical teaching of the Epistle. 
I have contented myself, therefore, with the briefest 
references to many of the fascinating subjects sug- 
gested by this ' Joy Letter ' of the great Apostle, and 
have endeavoured to confine myself to the task of ex- 
plaining the meaning of the text as tersely as possible. 

As the notes will show, free use has been made of 
the well known Commentaries of Bishops Lightfoot 
and Moule, and occasional reference has been made, 
also, to Conybeare and Howson's ' Life and Epistles of 
St. Paul.' But, as readers will see for themselves, the 
book is far from being a mere compilation. 


Special attention has been paid to the New Testament 
usage of all remarkable words and expressions which 
occur in the Epistle, and the parallel passages have been 
collated so as to provide material for addresses and Bible 

I have to express my great indebtedness to the Rev. 
C. F. Andrews, of the Cambridge Delhi Mission, who 
has kindly read through the proof sheets and made 
sundry suggestions, which, in almost every case, I have 
felt able to adopt readily and gladly. 

The little volume is now issued in the earnest hope that 
the God of Truth may make use of it to throw light, for 
Indian readers, on the meaning of those inspired words 
which are * spirit and life ' to those who rightly appre- 
hend them. 


TiNNEVELLY, Juhj, 1906. 




,, II. St. Paul and the Philippian 

,, III. Date and occasion of the 

,, IV. Authenticity of the Epistle .. 

„ V. The Historical Value of this 

,, VI. Character and Contents of 

THE Epistle 
„ VII. Lessons of the Epistle for 

THE Indian Church 
„ VIII. Outline Topical Studies of the 

Epistle . . 






The town of Philippi, now only a scene of ruins, has played 
a not unimportant part both in secular and sacred history. 
In its neighbourhood were famous gold and silver mines, 
worked, in early times, by the industrious Phoenicians, and 
yielding, even as late as the days of Philip, King of Mace- 
donia, ten thousand talents yearly. Passing through its 
very midst, and dividing it into a 'higher' and a 'lower' 
town, was the great Egnatian Boad, extending for a distance 
of 500 miles from the Hebrus in Thrace to Dyrrhachium 
on the x\driatic, from which town Italy was reached by 
what has been admirably designated a sort of ' tumultuous 
ferry ; ' the whole forming a mighty thoroughfare which Cicero 
described, in no mere figure of speech, as 'that military 
way of ours which connects us with the Hellespont ' (De 
Prov. Cons. ii). Here, too, is the beautiful plain, renowned 
for its fertility, where the last battle was lost by the re- 
publicans of Rome (42 B.C.), led by their generals, Brutus 
and Cassius, who strove in vain against the armies of 
Octavius (Augustus) and Marcus Antonius (Antony). And, 
above all, this was the place in which the great Apostle of 
the Gentiles was led by God to first plant the standard of 
the Gospel on European soil. Who can tell how much 
England and India, aye ! and the whole world of men, 
owe to this town near the head of the ^gean Sea as 
St. Paul's first Missionary centre in the evangelization of 
the West? 


1. Its geographical position. — Philippi lay on the great 
Egnatian thoroughfare, just at the spot where the almost con- 
tinuous mountain barrier (of the Balkans) between the East 
and West sinks into a pass, forming, as it were, a natural 
gateway for easy communication between two continents. It 
was thus, in the fullest sense, a key-position, and its strategi- 
cal importance had been recognized and utilized alike by 
Philip of Macedon and Augustus of Eome. Was it without 
reason, therefore, that the Spirit of God directed thither the 
footsteps of the prince of Missionaries ? If the Gospel were 
to cross the Balkans, here was the readiest way of access. 
As Bishop Lightfoot has well expressed it, ' We are stand- 
ing; at the confluence of the streams of European and 
Asiatic life ; we see reflected in the evangelization of Philippi, 
as in a mirror, the history of the passage of Christianity 
from the East to the West.' We may say, in fact, imitatis 
mutandis, that Philippi, with the Egnatian Eoad, was to the 
first Missionaries what the Suez Canal is to the Missionary 
of the twentieth century, a channel of communication be- 
tween Europe and Asia. 

2. Its name. — The town was named after its founder, 
Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, who built it with 
the double object of commemorating the addition of a new 
province to his dominions and raising a frontier-garrison to 
protect his kingdom against the mountaineers of Thrace. It 
was placed hard by the site of the ancient Crenides, ' the 
Place of Fountains,' so called from the numerous streams 
abounding in the neighbourhood. Of these, the most impor- 
tant is the little river Gangites (a tributary of the Strymon), 
which flowed a mile or so west of the town. 

3. Its importance as a Roman Colony. — Augustus, 
prompted, doubtless, by the desire to perpetuate the memory 
of his decisive victory over Brutus, added further to the 
dignity of Philippi by making it a Roman Colony, with the 


proud and high-sounding title Colonia Augusta Julia Philip- 
pensis. It thus became, in every sense of the term, an 
out-lying post of the Roman Empire, bearing a miniature 
resemblance to the Imperial City. When such a Colony 
was founded, the colonists were wont to march to their 
destination with colours flying, in military array, and to 
mark out their new possession with the plough ; their names 
were still enrolled in the annals of Rome ; the language 
used, the coinage current, the laws in vogue, all alike were 
Latin ; the very Magistrates arrogated to themselves titles 
of dignity borrowed from statelier functions in the Father- 
land. Every such Colony was hke a lesser Rome, trans- 
planted bodily into some far-ofl district of the Empire. 

Philippi had, moreover, been gifted with the ' Jus Italicum,' 
by virtue of which it enjoyed immunity from the ground- 
tax which was levied by the Romans on all provincial 
lands, and was raised to the same level of dignity as the 
sacred soil of Italy itself. Its inhabitants could pride them- 
selves on the full possession of the three great privileges of 
Roman citizens, exemption from scourging, freedom from 
arrest (except in certain cases), and the right of direct 
appeal to Caesar. Some of them had never seen that glori- 
ous mother-city which was the * mistress of the world ' ; 
but, as they turned their faces westward, and travelled in 
imagination over the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, their 
breasts might well glow with pride as they realized that 
they were members of such a Commonwealth, free of its 
rights, sharers in its glory. 

St. Paul makes good use of the peculiar position of Philippi 
as a Colony in the teaching of the Epistle, and, as we study 
it, we shall do well to bear in mind the facts which have 
thus been briefly mentioned. The Christian, whose Com- 
monwealth is in heaven, and who is • a citizen of no mean 
city,' while * holding the fort ' for Christ in the midst of 
a crooked and perverse generation, may well find his 


position illustrated by the circumstances of the Philippian 
colonists whose duty it was to uphold the honour of the 
Empire among barbarians and alien tribes on the distant 
confines of the State. The Indian Christian, in particular, 
with countless Hindus and Muhammadans pressing round 
him on every side, may learn from this Epistle his duties 
as well as his privileges in calling himself ' a citizen of 


St. Paul's first visit to Phihppi, as recorded in Acts xvi, 
was paid about the year ^ a.d. 52, during the course of his 
second Missionary journey. His companions on that oc- 
casion were Silas, Timotheus, and, as we infer from Acts 
xvi. 10, 12 (compared with xx. 6), the beloved physician, 
Luke. Embarking at Troas, they made a quick voyage to 
Neapolis, favoured by wind and wave. After landing at 
Neapolis, a town which is probably identical with the modern 
Turkish village Cavallo, they lost no time in pressing 
forward along the great Egnatian Koad which leads over a 
mountain ridge towards Philippi. When the descent on 
the further side began, and the lovely sea view on the south 
had now been lost to view, they would see stretched out 
before them the fair and fertile plain where lay the objective 
of their present journey, 'the first city of Macedonia* (so 
we understand Acts xvi. 12) to be reached along that path- 
way. The Jews in Philippi appear to have been few in 
number, possibly owing to the colonial and military character 
of the place. St. Paul found no synagogue, as in Antiochi, 
Iconium, and elsewhere, in which to give his message, but 

• iThe ordinary chronology is used in this book. The first visit to 
Philippi was, more probably, towards the close of a.d. 50. Some place 
dt even earlier. 


was obliged to seek out, on the Sabbath Day, the little com- 
pany who met for worship in their humble ' proseucha,' or 
prayerhouse, on the banks of the Gangites, outside the city. 
The narrative in the Acts affords us a graphic view of the 
events which transpired during this first visit of the great 
Apostle, and of the three typical conversions which then took 
place, first that of Lydia the merchant, then that of the sooth- 
saying slave girl, and, lastly that of the Boman jailer, a sub- 
ordinate officer under Government. Bishop Lightfoot has 
pointed out that these three first converts ' stand in marked 
contrast each to the other in national descent, in social rank, 
in religious education,' and that ' the order of their conver- 
sions is significant, first the proselyte, next the Greek, and, 
lastly, the Eoraan,' symbolizing the order of the progress of 
Christianity throughout the world. 

The visit was brought to an abrupt conclusion by a fierce 
storm of persecution, followed by a miraculous deliverance. 
This opposition to the Gospel seems to have continued after 
the Apostle had passed on his way to Thessalonica, and the 
Philippian converts came in for their full share of conflict and 
affliction (2 Cor. viii. 2 ; Phil. i. 7, 28-30). On his departure, 
St. Paul appears to have left behind him in the city his 
friend and companion Luke (Acts xvii. 1, 4, 1st person 
dropped in narration) and possibly also Timothy, who may 
have continued to labour there for a longer or shorter period. 
Later, in i the year 57, we find the Apostle despatching Ti- 
motheus and Erastus into Macedonia (Acts xix. 22), and, 
beyond doubt, Philippi must have shared in the objects of 
their mission. "We may be quite sure, also, that the Philip- 
pian Christians, with their warm affection, were not slack 
in responding, along with other Macedonian congregations 
(2 Cor. viii. 1-5), to the appeal of their beloved leader for 
liberal help for the needy brethren in Judasa. 

lOr, according to a more probable chronology, the year a.d. 55. 


In the autumn of a.d. 57,^ after an absence of five years, St. 
Paul himself set out from Ephesus to re-visit his European 
Churches (Acts xx. 1 ; 2 Cor. ii. 12, 13 ; vii. 5, 6), and, be- 
yond question, the Philippians profited by his loving ministra- 
tions. A very short interval of time saw him once more 
among them, when, in the spring of 58,^ on his way from 
Corinth, he tarried to keep the Paschal Feast with his 
faithful converts (Acts xx. 6). From this time we com- 
pletely lose sight of the Philippian Christians till we see 
them, still loyal to the core, sending Epaphroditus with 
their free-will offerings to succour St. Paul in his Koman 
prison (Phil. ii. 25, 30; iv. 10-18). It was by the hand of this 
trusty messenger that the Apostle sent his Epistle, breathing, 
as it does in every page, the strongest personal affection. We 
gather from its contents that it was his formed and fixed 
intention not only to send them Timothy as a helper of their 
faith, but also to visit them himself, once more, in person 
(ch.ii. 19, 24). Did this prospective visit ever take place? The 
historical references contained in 1 Tim. i. 3; 2 Tim. iv. 13, 20 
would seem to answer that question in the afiirmative, and 
to indicate at least one such visit in the interval between 
St. Paul's first and second Roman captivities. 

Enough however has been said to show that his relation- 
ships with the Philippian Christians were of the closest 
and most cordial character, and were constantly maintained. 
Never did he cease to love and pray for them ; never did 
they fail to show their loyalty and gratitude to him. 

The after history of this Church is quickly told. On his 
way from Asia to martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius passed Phi- 
lippi. He was there courteously received and honoured by 
the Christians. This memorable visit led to the opening of 
friendly communications between them and Polycarp, the 

1 More probably, in the spr ng of a.d. 56. 

2 Or, more probably, 67. 


friend of Ignatius and Bishop of Smyrna, to whom they ap- 
plied for advice and exhortation. Polycarp's response to. 
their appeal was his famous Epistle (the only one of his 
extant). In this, he strikes the note of joy, — 'joy in the 
Lord ; he urges them to holiness of hfe, emphasizing faith 
and love and hope ; he warns them solemnly against the love 
of money ; he gives instructions as to the seemly conduct of 
wives, dearcons, and presbyters ; he bids all alike to ' play 
the citizen ' for God ; he insists strongly on loyalty to the one 
true Gospel, and points them to the holy example of those 
who have trodden the way of righteousness and reached their 
heavenly home ; he exhorts them to steadfastness, humility, 
liberality, sobriety, while, at the same time, he has to grieve 
over the fall, apparently from avarice, of Valens, once a 
a presbyter among them ; finally, he commits them to God 
and to His Word, and bids them pray for all men. 

With this letter, the Philippian Church practically disap- 
pears from view. Save for a chance allusion to it by Tertul- 
lian and others, and the occasional occurrence of the name 
of one or other of its bishops in the records of ecclesiastical 
Councils, we know really nothing of its later history. Begin- 
ning with the brightest promise, its glory soon began to dim, 
and has long ago faded into darkness. It affords a standing 
warning to our Indian congregations to beware of swerving 
from the path of truth and love and Missionary zeal. Let 
us be thankful, however, that the fruits of its pristine faith 
and love remain, and the Epistle which was written to 
stimulate and nourish them. 


I. The place of wanting. — The Epistle was undoubtedly 
written from Rome, during the two years' captivity recorded 
by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles (xxviii. 30). This 


means that it must be dated within the years a.d. 61-3.' 
Although a few critics, of whom Meyer is chief, have assigned 
the writing of the Epistle to the period of the Apostle's 
imprisonment in Csesarea (Acts xxiv. 23-7), their arguments 
will fail to convince all those who ponder carefully the 
following facts : — 

(1) The reference to ' Caesar's household ' (Phil. iv. 22) 
applies naturally to Eome, but cannot, without unfair forcing, 
be adapted to Caesar ea. 

(2) St. Paul's joyful account of the progress of the 
Gospel (Phil. i. 13-18) is in point if he is speaking of Eome, 
a city of the first importance and a comparatively new 
field for evangelistic work ; but it would hardly be applica- 
ble to Caesarea, a place o£ no very great renown and one 
which had already been well evangelized by others (Acts. x. 
1-48; xxi. 8-16). 

(3) The Apostle, in this Epistle, anticipates a speedy 
release and contemplates a visit to Macedonia (i. 26 ; ii. 24 ; 
cf. Philemon 22). At Caesarea, on the other hand, his expec- 
tation was to visit Bome, as a prisoner who had appealed to 
Caesar (Acts xxv. 11, 12). 

(4) The mention of the Praetorium (i. 13), which might at 
first sight seem to favour the arguments for Caesarea (Acts 
xxiii. 35, Herod's Praetorium), also fixes Eome as the place- 
of writing, for the real Praetorium, ^ the Body of the Imperial 
Guards, was located in that city, and this alone fulfils all the 
requirements of the case. 

We conclude, therefore, with the vast majority of scholars, 
that our Epistle was penned by the Apostle during his first 
captivity in Eome. 

2. The Date. — Quite a war of controversy has raged round 
the question of the date of this Epistle. Is it to be assigned 

1 Or, more probably, 60-G2. 
2 But see foot-note on chapter I, verse 13. 


to an early, or a later, period in the Apostle's first Eoman 
imprisonment ? Was it written before or after the Epistles to 
the Ephesians and Colossians ? On the whole, it seems fairest 
to the reader to present in some detail the arguments for and 
against a later date for the Epistle. 

(1) The fact indicated in the Epistle that the Gospel had 
already made rapid headway in Eome requires (i. 12-14), we 
are told, as late a date as possible for its writing and despatch. 

To this it is replied that St. Paul found a large and flourish- 
ing church already existing when he first arrived in Rome. 
So considerable was the Christian community there that he 
had felt it needful, about three years previously, to address the 
longest of all his Epistles to it, Moreover, the language of 
joyous hope used in this Epistle as to the progress of 
the Gospel must not be unduly pressed, since it only indicates 
a new and vigorous evangelistic work on the part of the 
Roman Christians ; and this, it is urged, would be more likely 
to have been set on foot soon after his arrival in their midst, 
before the fresh stimulus of his presence had lost its novelty. 

(2) It is claimed that the Epistle wears an aspect of gloom 
and anxiety, suggestive of rigorous imprisonment and im- 
pending danger, and that this forbids the possibility of its 
having been written before quite the conclusion of the two 
years of comparative freedom indicated by St. Luke (Acts 
xxviii. 16 and 30, 31). This argument is further supported 
by references to contemporaneous history. Burrus, the mild 
and virtuous Praefect of the Praetorian Guards, was succeeded 
in A.D. 62 by Fenius Eufus and Tigellinus, the latter of whom 
was notoriously wicked. Poppsea, too, who had become a 
proselyte to Judaism, was now the Emperor's consort, and 
this infamous woman would naturally exert her influence 
on behalf of the Jews and against the Apostle Paul. Such 
circumstances would be sure to lead to a darkening of 
his prospects such as is hinted at in certain verses of the 


To meet this argument, we must bear in mind that 
St. Luke, the historian, has given only the briefest possible 
epitome of the history of the two years in question, and 
one by no means inconsistent with the general tenor of the 
Epistle ; whereas St. Paul, the letter writer, naturally gives 
expression to the alternations of feeUng consequent upon the 
varying experiences of each day. Moreover, so far from the 
Epistle being really gloomy, it is marked, on the whole, by 
the characteristic of overflowing joy. The very burden of its 
message is ' Eejoice in the Lord .' The word ' joy', as we 
shall have occasion to see, is the keynote running through its 
every chapter. It is improbable, too, that political changes 
in the Imperial Court would make much difference in the 
condition of an obscure provincial prisoner, the champion of 
a cult not yet sufficiently prominent to be regarded as danger- 
ous to the State. 

(3) Stress is laid, though this argument is entirely in- 
consistent with the one preceding, on the fact that, in this 
Epistle, the Apostle appears to be expecting the immediate 
decision of his cause and to be looking forward to a speedy 
deliverance (i. 19, 25 ; ii. 24). 

But this can hardly be regarded as, in itself, conclusive. 
During his two years' confinement he must often have expect- 
ed his trial to come on, and a Eoman prisoner, under such 
circumstances, would experience many hopes and disappoint- 
ments. Furthermore, the expressions in question are no 
stronger than similar ones in his Epistle to Philemon (22), and 
must not, therefore, be unduly pressed in the present instance. 

(4) It is argued, again, that the notices contained in the 
Epistle of numerous communications between St. Paul and 
Philippi, after his arrival at the capital, and the circumstances 
of Epaphroditus' visit, demand the lapse of a considerable 
period of time. 

The answer to this is that, at the very most, two journeys 
from Rome to Philippi, and two itom Philippi to Rome, are 


required. We may allow time for tidings of the Apostle's 
arrival in the City to reach the Philippians ; we may allow a 
further period for their contributions to reach St. Paul by the 
hand of Epaphroditus (ii. 25 ; iv. 18); and we may suppose that 
a messenger from Eome arrived at Philippi with tidings of their 
friend's illness (ii. 26), and that a return messenger brought 
him news of their present anxiety (ii. 26). Now a month 
would ordinarily be sufficient for a single journey between the 
two places, as careful calculation shows ; and so, even grant- 
ing that four journeys actually took place, the conditions of 
the case only require n lapse of four months or so after 
the Apostle's arrival in Eome before the despatch of the 
Epistle. We must note, however, that the four journeys thus 
postulated may possibly be reduced to two, since the Philip- 
pians may have heard beforehand that the Apostle was on his 
way as a prisoner to Rome, and Epaphroditus may have 
then started off with their contributions in time to meet 
him on his arrival there. But be this as it may, in any case 
some months must have elapsed in Rome before St. Paul 
wrote the Epistle, and, as we have seen, this would afford 
ample time for any journeys to and fro involved by the 
conditions of the case. 

(5) Lastly, it is urged that, inasmuch as Luke and x\ris- 
tarchus accompanied St. Paul on his voyage to the City (Acts 
xxvii. 2), and join him in his salutations to the Colossian 
Christians and Philemon (Col. iv. 10, 14 ; Philemon 24), 
whereas their names are absent from the Epistle to the Philip- 
pians, this last-mentioned letter must have been written at a 
later date tban the other two, these two companions, in the 
meantime, having departed from Rome. 

The advocates of an earlier date for the Epistle meet this 
argument by the following considerations : — • 

(a) An argument from silence is always too precarious to 
be conclusive in itself. In the Epistle to the 
Ephesians no mention occurs either of Aristarchus, 


Luke, or Timothy, though it was written confessedly 
at the same time as Colossians and Philemon. 
(5) The two companions in question may possibly be in- 
cluded in the general salutations of ch. iv. 21, 22. 

(c) But, not improbably, Aristarchus, being a Thessa- 

lonian (Acts xxvii. 2, 5, 6), may have left St. Paul 
at Myra, when the latter was transferred into an 
Alexandrian vessel, and so have continued his 
journey homewards, rejoining the Apostle in Eome 
at a later period. If so, the argument under con- 
sideration makes for the earlier date of the Epistle, 
which may have been written before x\ristarchus 
arrived in Eome at all. 

(d) And, again, St. Luke may have been despatched on 

some temporary mission from Eome, similar to the 
one contemplated for Timothy (ii. 19-21), and so 
have been absent when the Epistle was written. 
On the whole then it would seem that the balance of evi- 
dence is in favour of the earlier date for the Epistle, so ably 
advocated by Bishop Lightfoot, though it must be confessed 
that the arguments on the other side are not wholly devoid 
of force. In support of this view it should be mentioned 
also that a careful comparison of the style and matter of 
the Epistles of the first captivity with the ' great central 
group' of Pauline letters (Corinthians, Galatians, Eomans) 
on the one hand, and the Pastoral Epistles on the other, 
reveals the fact that the Epistle to the Philippians has 
closer affinities with the preceding group, especially with 
Eomans the latest of that group, than either Ephesians or 
Colossians, while these, on the contrary, look onward dis- 
tinctly to the Pastoral Epistles. So many and so close are 
the parallels between Eomans and Philippians, that we can 
scarcely avoid the conclusion that the latter Epistle is a 
connecting link between the letters of the third Apostolic 
journey and those addressed to the Colossians and Ephesians. 


This consideration, following on the balance of evidence 
given above, seems conclusive as to the earlier date of the 

We are thus enabled to assign it, with the strongest proba- 
bility, to the end of the year A.D. 61 \or the beginning of the 
year 62} 

3. The Occasion. — Concerning this, happily, there is no 
room for doubt. The contents of the Epistle are decisive on 
the point. Epaphroditus had conveyed in person to the 
Apostle the liberal gifts of the Philippian converts (ii. 25 ; 
iv. 18). His disregard of his own health, in his anxiety to 
be of service to St. Paul, had brought on a dangerous ill- 
ness, from which he had only just recovered (ii. 27-30). He 
was most anxious to return without delay to PhiHppi, to 
remove the distress which had been occasioned there by 
the tidings of his sickness (ii. 26). The Apostle, therefore, 
guided undoubtedly by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 
and influenced partly by news which had reached him 
of misunderstandings rife among certain of the Phihppian 
Christians (i. 27; ii. 2, 3, 14; iv. 2), took the opportunity 
thus afforded for sending a letter to them by the hand of 
Epaphroditus, a letter fragrant with his love for them and 
his fervent desire for their spiritual welfare. It is to this 
concurrence of circumstances, in the Providence of God, that 
we owe the Epistle to the Philippians. 


I. Internal Evidence. — It is difficult to imagine how any 
careful student of the Epistle can rise from its perusal with 
the sUghtest doubt as to its genuineness. It contains such 
a natural and spontaneous outpouring of the deepest feelings 

1 Or, on a revised chronology, the end of the year a.d. 60 or the 
beginning of the year a.d. 61. 


of the Apostle's heart, and is such a true reflection of hif? 
mind and character as we know them from his unquestioned 
history, that the very suggestion of forgery or artificial 
creation seems wilfully absurd. No motive, besides, can 
possibly be assigned, on the hypothesis of invention, for 
the production of the Epistle. We can hardly take seri- 
ously, therefore, the efforts of Baur and others to prove it to 
be a fabrication of the second century, especially since 
their criticisms have been rejected as spurious even by such 
rationalizing scholars as Hilgenfeld, Pfleiderer, Renan, and 
Wittichen. It will be well to state in brief, however, the 
historical proofs of the authenticity of the Epistle. 

2. External Evidence. — Clement of Rome (end of cent. 1), 
to take the Apostolic Fathers first, — uses phrases which seem 
to be reflexions of Phil. i. 10, 27; ii. 5, 15; iv. 15; etc., and 
which make it highly probable that he was acquainted with 
the Epistle. 

Ignatius, on his way to martyrdom (about a.d. 110), wrote 
several letters in which apparent allusions to the Epistle 
occur. To the Romans (ch. ii) he expresses a desire ' to be 
poured out as a libation to God ' (cf. Phil. ii. 17). He bids 
the Philadelphians (ch. viii) * do nothing from party-spirit ' 
(Phil. ii. 3). He tells the Smyrnaeans (ch. iv) ' I endure all 
things, while He, the Perfect One, strengthens me' (Phil. 
iv. 13), and, again, he exhorts them (ch. xi) ' being perfect, be 
ye also perfectly minded ' (Phil. iii. 15). 

Polycarp (early cent. 2) in his letter to the Philippians (chs. 
iii and xi) makes direct mention of St. Paul having written to 
them, and, in various passages, echoes the language of the 
Epistle. For example, he says (ch. i) * I rejoiced greatly with 
you in the Lord' (cf. Phil. iv. 10); again (ch. ii) 'to whom 
all things in heaven and earth are subjected' (Phil. ii. 10); 
once more (ch. v) * if we live as citizens worthj^ of Him ' 
(Phil. i. 27); and again (ch. xii) 'the enemies of the Cross* 
(Phil. iii. 18) ; besides other passa^ges. 


The Epistle to Diognetus (about a.d. 117) has the phrase 
* Their citizenship is in heaven ' (Phil. iii. 20). 

Justin Martyr, MeUto, and Theophilus (all of cent. 2), also 
adopt expressions from this Epistle. 

The Eiyistle of tlie Churches of Vienna and Lyons (a.d. 177)' 
contains Phil. ii. 6, ' Who, being in the form of God, counted 
it not a prize to be on an equality with God.' 

The Ancient Versions, including the oldest Syriac, all 
include this Epistle, as do also the various Canons of 
Scripttire of the second century. 

Irenseus (late cent. 2) quotes Phil. iv. 18 as the words of 
' Paul to the Philippians.' 

Clement of Alexandria (late cent. 2) more than once quotes 
the Epistle as the ' words of the Apostle.' 

Tertullian (cent. 2-3; quotes Phil. iii. 11-13 as ' written 
by Paul to the Philippians ' ; mentions Philippi as a Church 
possessing 'authentic Apostolic Epistles'; and, replying to 
Marcion, refers directly to Phil. i. 14-18; ii. 6-8; iii. 5-9, 20, 21. 
He tells us also that the Epistle had been read in the Philip- 
pian Church right up to his own time. 

In fact, no shadow of doubt about the authenticity of the 
Epistle is to be found in the whole range of early Christian 


It is natural and necessary that the student of the Life and 
Teaching of Christ should base his knowledge of it first and 
foremost upon the four Gospels ; and among non-Christians 
especially, but also among Christians, there are few who read 
the Epistles of the New Testament with any view to their 
bearing on the Gospel history. If, however, we consider 
that the Gospels, as we have them, were not yet written when 
most of the Epistles of St. Paul were penned, it is obvious 


that the testimony given by the Epistles regarding the Life 
and Teaching of Jesus is a valuable and essential element in 
the historical evidence of what He said and did. 

Broadly speaking, we may say that the four Gospels are 
regular treatises in which the writers set themselves to give 
an account to the Church and the world of the Life and 
sayings of Christ; while the book of the Acts of the Apostles 
is a well-arranged narrative of the continuance of His work 
by His disciples. The Epistles, on the other hand, were Gele- 
genheits Schriften, i.e., writings called forth by some special 
■occasion, and intended to meet the needs of some particular 
■church at a particular time, as we have already seen in the case 
of this Epistle. If, then, the incidental testimony given by 
these occasional writings agrees with that of the Gospels and 
Acts as set treatises, the historical value of both is greatly 
confirmed. The agreement of this Epistle with the Acts is 
sufficiently brought out in the Introduction and Exposition, 
but some w^ords as to its relation to the Gospels may not be 

We have here a letter of St. Paul written about the year 
A.D. 62 (see Introd. III). The Crucifixion and Resurrection 
■of our Saviour took place about the year a.d. 30.^ Between 
the two, therefore, barely the space of a generation had 
elapsed, and there were many persons living who had personal 

1 The reader must remembsr that the year of our Lord's birth (a.d.), 
in current usage, has been fixed four years or so too late. This is 
•owing to a mistake made by the Chronologist known as Dionysius Exi- 
.guus (died circ. a.d. 566) who calculated the date of the birth of Christ 
as the year 753 from the founding of the city of Rome. But 
our Saviour's birth must have taken place some time before the death 
of Herod the Great, which happened in the year 750 after the found- 
ation of Rome. When this error was discovered the era computed by 
Dionysius Exiguus had passed into common use, and could not conve- 
niently be changed. In saying, therefore, that the Crucifixion took 
place in the year a.d. ,30, we have to remembsr that this was really 
about thirty-four years after the actual birth of Christ. 


knowledge of the facts and sayings recorded in the Gospels or 
who had heard them at first hand from personal witnesses 
of the events. Supposing that we had only this one literary 
record of the teaching of the Gospel ^ in the first century a.d. 
by its chief preacher, how far could we reconstruct the Gospel ^ 
history and teaching, and what points of contact would this 
show with the records known as the four Gospels ? 

To take first the great facts of the Life of Christ, the 
otherwise uninstructed reader would learn that before His 
birth in the world He had existed in the form of God and 
as equal with God (ii. 6 ; cf. John i. 1-3, 15, 18 ; xiii. 
1, 3 ; xvii. 5) ; that He had voluntarily surrendered the 
exercise of this Divine prerogative and assumed human 
nature (Phil. ii. 7 ; John i. 14) ; that He suffered and died on 
the Cross (Phil. iii. 10 ; ii. 8) ; that He rose again from the 
dead and was exalted to heaven with a real, but glorified 
body (iii. 10, 21 ; ii. 9) ; that He has authority over all things 
(iii. 21; cf. Mat. xi. 27; xxviii. 18), and can rightly claim the 
title of Lord (ii. 11 ; John xiii. 13) ; and that He will come 
again as Saviour and Judge (iii. 20; i. 6; cf. Mat. xvi. 
27; Luke xxi. 27-8). As regards the Teaching of Jesus the 
reader would note at the outset that St. Paul regarded 
himself as His bond slave (i. 1), owing Him absolute alle- 
giance to the exclusion of all else (cf. Mat. x. 37 ; Lu. xiv. 

llu studying the PauUne Epistles (and indeed the New Testament 
generally) it is important for the Indian reader to bear in mind the two- 
fold meaning of the word ' Gospel '. Originally, as used in the New Tes- 
tament itself, it signified only the message proclaimed by Christ and his 
Apostles as being the ' good news ' of God's salvation. When the written 
records of Christ's life became recognized in the Church, they received 
the name of ' Gospel ', as embodying the good news. And we may add, 
when Muhammad, with his imperfect knowledge of the Christian religion, 
wished to designate the New Testament as a whole, he employed the 
name of the four most prominent books and called it 'Injil'. Nor was 
he quite wide of the mark, for all the books of the New Testamen t 
have for their subject the 'good news of salvation'. 


26) ; that to suffer for Christ is the greatest of privi- 
leges (Lu. vi. 22-3 ; Mark viii. 35 ; cf. Phil. i. 29 ; iii. 7) ; 
to follow His example the highest ideal (John xiii. 14; 
Phil. ii. 5) ; that God our Father gives all needful gifts to 
his children who ask Him (Phil. iv. 6; Mat. vii. 7-11); espe- 
cially His Holy Spirit (Phil. i. 19; Lu. xi. 13); and that 
only in the Spirit can He be worshipped acceptably (Phil. iii. 
3; John iv. 23-4); that the Christian life is the result of 
being taken hold of by God (Phil. iii. 12; John vi. 44), yet 
necessarily implies the most strenuous effort on the part of 
man, lest its fruit be lost (Lu. xiii. 24; Phil. ii. 12, 13 ; iii. 13, 
14) : that it is the duty of the Christian to spread his faith 
(Phil. i. 27 ; Mat. xxviii. 19), while yet he is to beware of 
dealings with the morally unclean or dogs (iii. 2 ; Mat. vii. 6) : 
that his reward here and hereafter is to gain Christ and be with 
Him (iii. 8 ; i. 23 ; cf. Lu. xxiii. 43 ; Mat. xxv. 34) ; and that 
those who are enrolled among God's people (Phil. iv. 3; Lu. x. 
20) must now evince the fact by their mutual love (Phil. ii. 
2 ; John xiii. 35), while they continually enjoy His peace 
in Christ (Phil. iv. 7, 9; John xiv. 27). 

Such are the main points of direct contact with the Gospel 
record, (not of course in the way of quotation, but of explicit 
agreement), in this brief Epistle. How much they are ampli- 
fied and increased in the other Pauline Epistles a careful com- 
parison will easily show. 


An attentive reading of the Epistle will readily reveal its 
leading characteristics. Its messages are clear and plain ; its 
salient features are well-defined, and unmistakeable. 

1. It is non = controversial in character. — No necessity 
existed, as in the case of the Galatian and Corinthian Churches, 


for St. Paul to maintain and defend, against theological oppo- 
nents, his Apostolical authority. The Philippian Christians 
had proved unswerving in their loyalty to the Missionary who 
had led their feet into the way of life and peace. They were 
bound to him by no common ties of love and gratitude. 
Again and again they had shown their firm attachment to him 
by ministering to his necessities (iv. 10-18). He was able to 
dispense, therefore, in addressing them, with the title of 
' Apostle' (i. 1 ; contrast Rom. i. 1 ; 1 Cor. i. 1 ; 2 Cor. i. 1 ; 
Gal. i. 1), and to talk with them heart to heart, as a friend with 

No serious errors in doctrine, moreover, had arisen in the 
Philippian congregation to confuse their minds and to cause 
alarm to the Apostle. They were adhering firmly to ' the 
faith w^hich was once for all delivered unto the saints.' In 
this, the Epistle differs from that written to the Colossians 
from the same Roman prison, as well as from those previously 
sent to the Romans, Galatians, and Corinthians. It is true 
that, in the third chapter, he strikes a note of solemn warning 
against Judaism on the one hand and Antinomianism on 
the other; but we have no reason to suppose that either 
of these errors was specially rife among them. It may be 
that, with a true instinct, he recognized the first appear- 
ance of the noxious weeds and hastened to pluck them up 
forthwith ; or it is possible that the word of admonition was 
suggested by circumstances external to themselves, not im- 
probably by the state of things around him in Rome itself 
(Phil. i. 15-17 ; Rom. vi. 1, 2). No sharp rebukes of error were 
required by these beloved converts. No loud and alarming 
blasts of controversial argument disturb the calm and joyous 
peace of this Apostolic message. 

2. It overflows with personal affection. — The great 
Apostle is full of thankfulness for the faith of his. Philippian 
friends (i. 3). He is constant and joyful in his prayers 
for them (i. 4). He longs over them all with a strong and 


home-sick longiag {iimTo9ew) ia the heart of Jesus Christ 
(i. 8). While his personal inclination would make him wish ' to 
depart and be with Christ which is very far better ', yet for 
their sakes he is joyfully ready to forego the tempting pros- 
pect, and to remain in scenes of trial and affliction to be of 
further service to them (i. 23-26). How gladly, should the 
need arise, would he pour out his life for them ! (ii. 17). 
So great and tender is his loving care for them that he 
will gladly deny himself one of his truest comforts and 
spare Epaphroditus to return to them (ii. 25-30); aye! and 
even Timothy his own dear son in Christ (ii. 19-23). He 
would have them know the wealth of gladness which their 
loving thought and gifts have brought him (iv. 10-18), gifts as 
fragrant as the sweetest odours, because the outbreathing of 
their true affection. 

The whole Epistle, in short, is the unique and spon- 
taneous overflowing of a great heart glowing with holy love. 

3. It is a pastoral on Christian unity. — One flaw threat- 
ened to sully the fair beauty of the Philippian Church. A 
' root of bitterness ' was springing up and many were in real 
danger of being defiled. A spirit of strife was appearing in 
the congregation, born, most probably, of personal rivalries. 
Two ladies in particular, Euodia and Syntycbe, are singled 
out in the Epistle as being ringleaders in these unfortunate 
disputes (iv. 2). 

The evil has not yet grown to large dimensions, and the 
Apostle hastens to lay his finger on the sore in the earnest 
hope of healing it. With a rare delicacy he indicates the 
danger, and with all the strong tenderness of his sympathetic 
nature begs them to avoid dissensions and to cultivate the 
closest Christian unity. As for himself, he loves them all 
(i. 1,4,7, 8). Let them, for their part, 'stand fast in one 
Spirit ' and strive slioulder to shoulder for the faith of the 
Gospel (i. 27). If they would gladden his heart, let them put 
away every form of party spirit {ipiOela^) and vainglory, and be 


of one mind together in the unity of the Holy Ghost (ii. 1-4). 
He bids them display, in all things, ' the mind of Christ ', 
the mind of self-abnegation, of self-abasement, of true hu- 
mility (ii. 5-8). He calls on them to put away all ' murmur- 
ings and disputings ' and to shine, with no dim or uncertain 
light, as God's luminaries in the world (ii. 14, 15). Let the 
ladies who had been the cause of strife be reconciled (iv. 2, 3). 
Let a spirit of unselfish ' yieldingness ' (eVtet/ce?) replace 
their rivalries (iv. 5). So shall the Church enjoy God's joy 
and peace and power (iv. 4-13). 

4. It is studded with special words and thoughts. 

— Certain keywords and striking topics will be found to 
characterize the Epistle. The truths indicated by such key- 
words flash forth like diamonds from a golden setting and 
add beauty to the whole. They also suggest lines of thought 
and methods of treatment most helpful to the student. (For 
examples, see VIII). 

(1) It is an Epistle full of Christ. The word Christ 
occurs no less than thirty-seven times. It stands out clear 
and prominent in every chapter. Bishop Lightfoot has well 
remarked that this Epistle ' recalls us from theological and 
ecclesiastical distractions to the very heart and centre of the 
Gospel, the life of Christ and the life in Christ.' Its Christo- 
logy is a study in itself, and one which will richly repay the 
careful student. Our relationship to Christ, as His servants, 
saints, prisoners, confessors ; our possession in Christ, grace, 
peace, comfort, joy, knowledge, righteousness, strength, riches, 
* the supply of the Spirit ' ; our resptonsihility to Christ, to 
bring forth fruit, to preach Him, to magnify Him, to ' live ' 
Him, to suffer for Him, to manifest His 'mind', to do His 
work, to carry His cross, to wait for His appearing ; these, and 
countless other truths, will become luminous before as in the 
light of such a study. We shall rise from it strengthened for 
our walk and warfare, resolved to be, like the Epistle itself, 


all for Christ, full of Christ, permeated with Christ through 
and through. 

(2) It is an Epistle full of joi/. The keynote of * joy ' is 
struck again and again. The word joy or rejoice is found 
sixteen times in this one short letter (i. 4, 18, 18,25 ; ii. 2. 17, 
17, 18, 18, 28, 29 ; iii. 1 ; iv. 1, 4, 4, 10). It greets us in every 
chapter ; it confronts us at every turn. ' Rejoice in the Lord', 
this is the burden of the Apostle's message to his Philippian 
converts, and this is the Holy Spirit's message to ourselves. 
A strange greeting, tiuly, to come from a place of captivity ; 
at a time, too, when danger-clouds seemad gathering overhead. 
But, as some one has well expressed it, ' God's birds can sing 
even in darkened cages ', and so it has come to pass that what 
is perhaps the sweetest joy-song in inspired Writ issued from 
a Roman prison. Let us learn, like our Epistle, to be full of 
joy, sacred joy, the very joy of God. 

(3) It is cm Epistle full of holy-mindedness. The word 
4)pov6iv occurs ten times in all (i. 7; ii. 2, 2, 5;. iii. 15, 15, 19 ; 
iv. 2, 10, 10 ; omitting it in iii. 16, according to the best MSS.) 
It denotes the action of the cbpeve<^, which include the heart 
and will, as well the mind and thoughts. The Apostle would 
have the Christians of Philippi set their heart and mind and 
will, in holy concentration of attention, upon the * one thing ', 
the glory of their God and Saviour. lie longed to see ' the 
mind of Christ ' fully reproduced in them. If their ' mind ', 
in this sense, were right, their life would be found to be right 
also. While others, therefore, ' mind earthly things ' (iii. 19), 
let every faithful Christian, with all the energy which the 
Spirit Himself inspires, set heart and mind and will on Christ 
and on His holiness. 

(4) It is an Epistle full of felloioship. We are almost 
startled, at first sight, to notice how thickly it is studded with 
picture-words compounded from the preposition gvv (with), 
denoting the closest fellowship and most intimate association. 
The very reading of these compound words were enough to 


kill the spirit of rivalry and faction. We feel, as we study 
them, how close and real are the bonds which bind together 
all who ' love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.' The words 
in question are as follows : — 

(a) Fellow-partakers {av^tcotvwvos:), sharing the grace of 
Christ together ; sharing the afflictions of Christ 
together, (i. 7 ; iv. 14). 
{h) Fellow-athletes {avva^OXico), wrestling for Christ to- 
gether, (i. 27 ; iv. 3). 

(c) Fellow-spirits (av/jLyjruxo^;) , united in Christ together 

— in mind and soul. (ii. 2). 

(d) Fellow-rejoicers (avyx^Lpco), rejoicing in Christ to- 

gether, (ii. 17, 18). 

(e) Fellow-workers {avvepyo^), working the work of 

Christ together, (ii. 25 ; iv. 3). 

(f) Fellow-soldiers {crva-rpa^TLcorr]^), waging the wars of 

Christ together, (ii. 25). 

(g) Fellow-helpers {orvWcvfi^dvw), holding the burdens 

of Christ together, (iv. 3). 
(/z) Fellow-yokebearers [(Tv^vyo<^), bearing the yoke of 
Christ together, (iv. 3). 

Thus every chapter is illuminated with the bright doctrine 
of 'the communion of saints', and compounds expressive of 
that doctrine are heaped together with rare profusion. Happy 
is the Church which, while it holds fast the trust of the Gospel 
is characterized by this grand feature of Christian unity. 

The following is suggested as an easy, useful analysis of the 
Epistle : — 

I. Prayer, and Personal 

Introductory salutation, i. 1, 2. 
Thanksgiving and Prayer, i. 3-11. 

Personal. St. Paul's bonds, work, rivals, dilemma, convic- 
tions, i. 12-26. 


II. Hortative, and Personal 

Exhortation to consistency and courage, i. 27-30. 
Exhortation to unselfishness and unity, ii. 1-4. 
Example of Christ's humility, ii. 5-11. 
Exhortation to obedience and holiness, ii. 12-16. 
Personal. Explanation of plans. Missions of Timothy and 
Epaphroditus. ii. 17-30. 

III. Admonitory 

Warning against Judaism, iii. 1-14. 
"Warning against Antinomianism. iii. 15-21. 

IV. Hortative, and Personal 

Exhortations to unity, joy, forbearance, prayer, etc. iv.l-9» 
Personal. His thankfulness for their gifts; his content- 
ment under all circumstances, iv. 10-20. 
Closing salutation, iv. 21-23. 


The circumstances of the Philippian converts present numer- 
our parallels \Yith those of Indian Christians in our day. They 
had been gathered out from among the heathen, to be the 
people of the living God. They were surrounded on every side 
by those who did not own allegiance to the Heavenly Master, 
but still walked on in Pagan darkness. The religious cults of 
the Greeks and Eomans were venerable from their antiquity,, 
presenting many points of contact, and even identity, with 
those prevalent in India to-day. Their philosophies were deep 
and subtle ; their classical literature rich and extensive. The 
educated classes, again, were beginning to be ashamed of vain 


ceremonies and idol-worship. It was, everywhere, a period of 
change and transition. The application of these facts to modern 
India will be obvious to all. We might expect, therefore, jpnmrt 
facie, that the teaching of an Epistle to an infant Church so 
situated would be particularly suited to the needs of Indian 
Christians ; and, as we examine it with this thought before us, 
we shall not be disappointed. What, then, are the chief les- 
sons which we may learn for ourselves from this earnest Pas- 
toral addressed to a community whose condition and surround- 
ings were so analogous to our own ? 

1. A lesson of missionary zeal. — The Epistle to Philippi 
is marked by a strong, keen missionary spirit. Evangelistic zeal 
is writ large on every page of it. The hand which penned it 
was the hand of one who had consecrated his whole life, with 
all its powers, to the work of promoting the salvation of the 
heathen and whose earnest motto stands out, in large, bold 
type, in the very centre of his letter—' ONE THING I DO.' 
Even in prison, he prosecuted his missionary work, preaching 
the Gospel to the soldier-warders who were bound to him with 
chains, insomuch that the sweet savour of the knowledge of 
Christ permeated the whole camp of the Praetorian Guards 
(i. 12, 13). Here was a Missionary who never rested on his oars, 
a soldier of the Cross who never failed to show his colours. 
His enthusiasm proved contagious. Fired by his example, the 
Eoman Christians took courage and witnessed boldly for their 
Lord (i. 14). And the result was,— what it will ever be when 
God's people are filled with missionary zeal and are roused 
to earnest evangelistic work — ' the progress of the Gospel ' 
(i. 12). But the Apostle was not satisfied with encourage- 
ment in Eome ; he longed to see advance all along the line. 
He loved the PhiHppian converts far too much to see them 
settle down at ease, in the enjoyment of spiritual privilege, 
careless about the souls around them. From the very first 
he had sought to instil into their hearts a warm, evangelis- 
tic spirit. Nor had his teaching and example been in vain. 


They had helped him, from the beginning, in his mission- 
ary work. They had reinforced him, in his campaign in 
Thessalonica and other cities, by their gifts and prayers (iv. 
16), and this repeatedly. Still more recently, they had sent 
Epaphroditus as their ' Missionary substitute ' (see ii. 30) 
to carry further gifts and to render personal co-operation (ii. 
25-30; iv. 10, 18). Nay, more, it was their glory and their 
joy to have assisted actively in the propagation of the Gospel 
by sympathy, by prayer, by contributions, and (shall we 
doubt it ?) by actual evangelistic labours, ' from the first 
day until now ' (i. 5). They had caught, by happy contagion, 
something of their great founder's missionary spirit. The 
flame was burning, but it needed fanning still. The metal 
was warm, but the Apostle longed to see it heated quite 
red-hot. He therefore turns upon it, in this inspired Epis- 
tle, the furnace blast of his own glowing enthusiasm, in the 
power of the Holy Ghost. He urges them to a bolder 
conflict and to a bolder testimony. They are citizens of 
Eome, and, as such, responsible for upholding the honour 
of the State among aliens and barbarians ; let them remember 
that they are also citizens of heaven, bound to fight mightily 
for the Commonwealth of Christ, ' with one soul striving 
for the faith of the Gospel, in nothing afi'righted by the 
adversaries ' (i. 27, 28). He would stimulate them to a life 
of evangelistic efiort, enforced and illustrated by true consist- 
ency of conduct (ii. 15, 16). Let them shine as God's light- 
bearers in the world, offering for the acceptance of all with 
whom they come in contact the word of eternal life. Let 
them emulate the example of their own Epaphroditus who 
* for the work of Christ ' had been nigh -unto death, • gambling 
with his life,' in the desperate earnestness of holy zeal, for the 
glory of his Lord and the salvation of his fellow-men (ii. 30). 
Thus we see that the whole Epistle burns and glows with 
an ardent missionary spirit. It presents a grand array, 
too, of what we may call, 

lessons of the epistle for the indian church xxxvii 

Missionary Mottoes. 

In furtherance of the Gospel, i. 5. 

The defence and confirmation of the Gospel, i. 7, 16. 

Unto the progress of the Gospel, i. 12. 

Striving together for the faith of the Gospel, i. 27. 

As lights in the world, ii. 15. 

Holding forth the word of life. ii. 16. 

For the work of Christ, ii. 30. 

But one thing I do. iii. 13. 
Fellow-Christians of India, let us catch the fire of this holy 
zeal. We, too, are citizens of heaven. We, too, are called 
to be soldiers of the Cross. Let the Church of India be a 
missionary Church. Be this its one great object, * the pro- 
gress of the Gospel.' Be this its grand ambition, to hold 
forth to men of alien faiths the word of God's eternal life ; to 
strive with an untiring energy * for the faith of the Gospel.' 
Never let it be forgotten that a non-missionary Church is a 
stagnant, doomed, and dying Church. 

2, A lesson of humility. — The Epistle teaches us the 
dangers which arise from human pride and self-assertive- 
ness, and points us to the one true antidote, the putting on, 
by faith, of * the mind which was in Christ Jesus.' The Apos- 
tle is himself the exemplar of his teaching. From the Jewish 
standpoint, he held, by birth and education, a position of 
influence and social superiority. He could claim a noble 
ancestry, an orthodox upbringing, a status in every way 
beyond reproach (iii. 4-8). But all these advantages of race, 
and class, which men count 'gains', he had counted 'loss' 
for Christ. The caste spirit, for him at least, was of the 
earth, earthy ; it was, as he now beheld it, carnal and anti- 
Christian. It had been expelled from his heart, once and 
for all, when he yielded himself to Christ and became the 
' bondslave ' of his Lord. Now he worshipped by the spirit of 
God, and gloried in Christ Jesus, and had no confidence in the 


ilesh (iii. 3). The old pride of birth and pedigree (and who so 
boastful of them as a patriotic Jew ?), the once strong 
zeal for caste and creed, that vaunted orthodoxy and 
punctilious observance of every minute detail of national 
and religious customs which characterized the Hebrew 
Pharisee, all these were cast away for ever, as refuse thrown to 
dogs {cTKu^aXa). A nobler birthright, a grander status, were 
his in Christ. Why cling to earthly dust when a crown of glory 
was within his reach ? Why claim a place of trifling social 
precedence among the sons of Adam, when he had now 
become, by grace, a child of God ? His choice, then, was 
made, and made for ever. He counted all things but loss 
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. 
And who will venture to question the wisdom or the right- 
ness of that choice? 

Having thus turned his back on the empty glories of race 
and caste, he could invite others, with a good conscience, 
to follow in his steps. He bids them, therefore, each to 
'esteem other better than themselves' (ii. 3-8). The Spirit 
of Christ and the spirit of the world are mutually and 
eternally antagonistic to each other. If the Philippians 
would do the will of God, they must abjure that party-spirit 
and class-pride which have no place in the Gospel of our 
Lord. A nobler example than that of Paul is theirs. Let 
them remember and contemplate, till their souls are aglow 
with the power of it, the supreme unselfishness of Jesus, 
tlie Son of God. Had He not denied Himself, forbearing 
to hold fast, as some peerless prize, the prerogatives of 
Deity ? Had He not further ' emptied Himself ', divesting 
Himself of heavenly glory and Divine majesty, for the sake 
of fallen man ? And had He not, stooping lower still, 
* humbled Himself ' to take the form of a bondslave and become 
obedient, aye, even to the death of the Cross ? In the light 
of that sublime Self-sacrifice, what room is left for the 
mean pride of earthly greatness? Surely the teaching of 


the Epistle is cle-ar and decisive on this point, and presses 
home on us the strong conviction that every form of caste- 
spirit is under the ban for ever. Is there no need of this 
lesson in the Indian Church to-day ? Bacial distinctions 
and caste-prejudices are the cause of much weakness, and 
the fruitful source of many evils. It were a fatal policy 
to attempt to justify the toleration of what, beyond all 
doubt, is * not of the Father, but of the world.' We need 
to realize our spiritual birth-right, to take our place as 
citizens of heaven, to view things in the light of the 
Sacrifice of Calvary. ' Let this mind be in you, which was 
also in Christ Jesus.' In that ' mind ', human pride and 
caste distinctions have not, nor can they ever have, a place. 
Let us cease to follow earthly standards and to cling to carnal 
customs. A Church is strong and vigorous in proportion 
to its faithfulness to Scripture and its depth of spirituality. 
It is weak and carnal when it conforms to the spirit of 
the world. 

3. A lesson of liberality. — The Philippian Christians 
afford a conspicuous example of generosity in giving. In 
common with the other Macedonian Churches, they gave 
to the cause of God * according to their power, yea, and 
beyond their power ' (2 Cor. viii. 1-4). They had given 
proof after proof to their beloved Apostle of their wilUngness 
to deny, themselves for the furtherance of the Gospel (iv. 
15, 16). How gladly they seized the new opportunity now 
presented to them for sending contributions to help the 
cause at Rome ! (i. 5 ; iv. 10). Out of their poverty they 
gave, and gladly gave, for Christ's sake and the Gospel's. 
Here is no Infant Church subsidized from foreign sources 
Rather we see a strong and active congregation, with an 
organized staff of superintending bishops and of assistant 
deacons, self-supporting and independent, subscribing funds, 
again and again, for the propagation of the Gospel in other 


Who will deny that, here in India, we fall far short of 
so inspiring an example ? While we can thank God for 
progress made and for a growing realization of the duties 
of self-support and independence, truth requires us to confess 
that a spirit of reliance on the arm of flesh and a readiness 
to receive financial help from others are still sadly rife among 
us. We have not yet learned to give ' according to our 
power, yea, and beyond our power.' Surely the time has come 
for unlearning, and, with God's help, for undoing, some 
of the mistakes of the past. We have been children long 
enough. Now let us quit ourselves like men. Indian fellow- 
Christians ! out of our poverty, if need be, like the Philip- 
pians of old, let us give with a liberal hand for the support of 
our congregations and for the spread of the Gospel. Never 
let it be said that, while new churches stepped out into 
independence in Uganda and elsewhere, the Indian Church 
remained content to live a sort of parasite existence. Let us 
trust God and go forvv'ard. May we give until ive feel the 
cost of giving. So shall we prove the truth of the promise 
made to the liberal Christians of Philippi — ' My God shall 
fulfil every need of yours according to His riches in glory in 
Christ Jesus ' (iv. 19). 

4. A lesson of spirituality. — One of the difficulties which 
confronted the Apostle Paul was the constant danger, in the 
newly-planted churches, arising from a tendency to substitute 
a system of externalism for that which is the distinctive feature 
of true Christianity, the worship of the Father ' in spirit and in 
truth.' We have only to read carefully the Epistles to the 
Galatians and Colossians to realize the existence, and constant 
recrudescence, of this deadly evil. The Apostle, with a true 
instinct, saw that the growth of such an error would be fatal 
to the very life of Christianity, and so set himself, in down- 
right earnest, to arrest its progress and to extirpate it alto- 
gether. Although we have no reason for supposing that the 
Philippian Church was in any special peril of this kind, 


yet the note of warning rings out in the Epistle with no 
uncertain sound. St. Paul says in effect (ch. iii. 2, 3), ' Be on 
your guard. Watch carefully all teachers who emphasize 
carnal ordinances and lay stress upon ceremonial observances. 
We Christians serve God in the Spirit, not with the ordi- 
nances and traditions of men. It is our glory that we are- 
Christ's and Christ is our's. We place no confidence in the 
flesh, or in those outward forms which pass with some for 
true religion.' His own experience had taught him the- 
tremendous gulf which lies between a system of externalism,. 
however grand and venerable, and a living contact and 
communion with the Saviour in the power of the Holy 
Ghost. To turn back from this religion of the Spirit to 
the bondage of carnal ordinances was nothing less, in his- 
estimation, than a fatal lapse from grace (Gal. v. 4). He- 
was bound, therefore, in very faithfulness, to warn his 
converts against a danger as insidious as it was deadly. To 
know Christ, in the full sense of the words, and the power 
of His Eesurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings,. 
this is true religion. All else is naught. And India needs 
the warning as truly as did Galatia, Philippi, or Colossal. 
The atmosphere around us, alike in Hinduism and Muham- 
madanism, is that of a system of external ceremonial. With 
the follower of Islam, an outward routine of prayers and 
fasts and prescribed duties usurps the place of fellowship 
with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. While, 
with the Hindu, an elaborate ritual, with all the parapher- 
nalia of idolatry, appeals to the senses of the people. We 
dare not ignore the danger which this involves to Indian 
Christianity. We, too, need to be on our guard lest 
symbolism and externalism are allowed to make dim our faith 
and hide from us the Face of God. Our truest wisdom lies 
in drawing a sharp line of demarcation between the external 
systems of the non-Christian religions of the country and 
the essentially spiritual character of the Gospel. Let us raise, 


as a Church, the banner of spiritual religion. Avoiding an 
-external symbolism which appeals merely to the aesthetic 
senses, and which approximates, in non-Christian eyes at 
least, to the ritual ceremonial of the heathen world around 
us, let us accept the watchword of St. Paul, and act upon it, 
■* we worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, 
and have no confidence in the flesh.' 

5. A lesson of consistency. — There will always be a dis- 
position on the part of human nature to divorce faith from 
practice. In no country is this more discernible than in 
India. Here, for generations, the Hindus have been accus- 
liomed to profess doctrines with which their lives are often 
at variance. To quote, with apparent sincerity, stanzas from 
moral poets strongly denunciatory of idolatry, and, an hour 
afterwards, to go and do puja in an idol-temple, is a mode of 
procedure which presents a strange spectacle of human in- 
consistency and argues ill for the reality of men's convictions. 

Now, our Epistle, recognizing the existence of an analogous 
danger in the Christian Church, sounds a loud, clear note of 
warning on the subject. In the Apostle's days, whether in 
Pbilippi or elsewhere, there were those, and their number was 
by no means inconsiderable, who, while professing faith in 
Christ, by their lives denied Him (ch. iii. 17-19). St. Paul weeps 
as he writes of them. They do more harm to the Gospel 
-cause than hosts of acknowledged unbelievers. They are, par 
excellence, beyond all doubt, ' the enemies of the Cross of 
Christ.' A terrible fate awaits all such unholy Christians. 
Their ' end is destruction.' Good had it been for these anti- 
nomian impostors -if they had not been born. 

Indian Christian brethren, we have been ' called unto holi- 
ness.' Let us beware of severing faith and practice. Nothing 
is more un-Christian, in reality, than to profess the faith of 
Christ while we are aliens to the life of Christ. In this land, 
where creed and practice are so widely and disastrously dis- 
-sociated from each other, let the Christian Church stand 


forth to view as God's ^Yitness to the reality of true religion. 
Let our light shine before men. Let them see that we are 
what we profess to be, and that we jpractice what we believe. 
Let it be seen that new power is our's, the power of God 
to sanctify our lives, as well as new ideals. So shall our 
Lord be glorified. So shall we be ' a praise ' in the earth. 


The reader is recommended to study the Epistle from 
various points of view, in order to appreciate the fulness 
of its teaching. By way of suggestion, some topical outlines 
are appended, and these may be multiplied by the careful 
student. The first of these outlines is written at some length, 
as a useful sample. The remainder are presented only in 
brief, but may be similarly expanded. 

A. The Epistle of Christian Joy. 

Chapter 1. — Service Joy. The Joy of God's Service. 

(1) Jorjful m Prayer. — vv. 1-11. N.B. — Prayer comes first 

in service. 
{a) Salutation. — vv. 1-2. 
{h) SuppUcation. — vv. 3-11. 

(2) Joyful in Prison. — vv. 12-20. 

[a) In spite of bonds. — vv. 12-14. 
{h) In spite of rivals. — vv. 15-18. 
(c) In spite of suspense. — -vv. 19-20. 

(3) J<yyful in Purpose. — vv. 21-30. 

{a) A deliberate choice. — vv. 21-1. 
(6) A happy confidence. — vv. 25-6. 
(c) A heavenly citizenship. — vv. 27-30. 

Citizen conduct, co-ojjeration, — v. 27, and con- 
flict.— w. 28-30. 


Chapter 2.--Saceifice Joy. The Joy of God's Altar. 

The highest joy comes from deep abasement.. 

(1) Joy fill in Self-denial. — vv. 1-11. 

The right attitude for blessing is to be 

(a) Loving and of one accord. — vv. 1-2. 

(b) Lowly and of humble spirit. — v. 3. 

(c) Looking on the things of others. — ^v. 4. 
{d) Like-minded with Christ. — vv. 5-11. 
His humiliation. — vv. 6-8. Steps down. 

He denied Himself. — ^v. 6. 
He emptied Himself. — v. 7. 
He humbled Himself. — v. 8. 
His exaltation. — vv. 9-11. Steps up. 
High exaltation.— -V. 9. 

Supreme honour. — v. 9. 
Universal homage. — vv. 10-11. 

(2) Joyful in Sacrifice.— ^iv. 12-18. 

(a) Solicitude concerning the converts, vv. 12-14*.. 
{h) Satisfaction over the converts. — vv. 15-16. 
(c) Self-sacrifice for the converts. — 'VV. 17-18. 

(3) Joyful in Sympathy. — vv. 19-30. 

A tender mosaic of St. Paul's care for the con- 
verts, his love for his friends, and their affec- 
tion for each other. 
Tivo special Missioners. 

(a) Timothy, the keen Missionary.— vv. 19-24. 
His proposed Mission. — v. 19. 
His practical sympathy. — vv. 20-21. 
His proved Missionary zeal. — vv. 22-24. 
{b) Epaphroditus, the loving Minister. — vv. 25-30.. 
His sterlingness. — -v. 25. 
His tenderness. — vv. 26-27. 
His worthiness. — -vv. 28-29 
His faithfulness. — v. 30. 


Chapter 3.— Spiritual Joy. The Joy of God's Spirit. 

(1) Counting all loss for Christ. — vv. 1-11. 

{a) Spiritual joy. — v. 1. 

(b) Spiritual religion. — vv. 2-4. 

(c) Spiritual gain. — vv. 5-9. 

(d) Spiritual ambition. — vv. 10-11. 

(2) Pressing on to the Prize. — vv. 12-16. 

{a) Present attainments. — v. 12. 
{b) Persistent advance. — vv. 13-14. 

'Forgetting', 'Stretching forward', 'Pressing' 
(c) Practical advice. — vv. 15-16. 

(3) Looking ever for the Lord. — vv. 17-21. 

(a) Walk holily.— vv. 17-19. 

The Christian walk. — v. 17. 
The un-Christian walk. — vv. 18-19. 
(6) Wait eagerly.— vv. 20-21. 
The citizenship. — v. 20. 
The Coming.— V. 20. 
The change. — v. 21. 
Chapter 4. — Satisfying Joy. The Joy of God's Fulness. 
The three marks of this chapter are : — 
Peace.— vv. 6, 7, 9. 
Power. — V. 13. 
Plenty.— vv. 18-19. 
(1) Joy fid in Obedience.— w . 1-9. 

Notice seven golden precepts environing true Christian 


(a) Stand fast in the Lord. — v. 1. 
{b) Be of the same mind in the Lord. — v. 2. 
(c) Help them who laboured in the Gospel. — v. 3. 
(Then comes the exhortation to 'REJOICE' 
in the centre.) 
{d) Let your forbearance be known. — v. 5. 


(e) In nothing be anxious. — \\. 6-7. 

(/) Think on these things. — v. 8. 

(g) The things which ye learned, do. — v. 9 

(2) Joyful in Abundance. — 'VV. 10-23. 
{a) The secret.— vv. 10-13. 
[h) The sweet savour. — ^vv. 14-18. 

Fellowship (14-16) ; Fruit (17) ; Fulness (18). 
(c) The supply.— vv. 19-20. 

The salutation. — vv. 21-3. 

B. The Epistle of Christian Citizenship. 

Chapter 1. — ^The Citizens and theie Military Service 
(See vv. 5, 7, 12, 17, 27). 

Eemember that Roman citizens were liable for 
service in time of war, and must help to defend 
the Empire. 

Chapter 2. — The Citizens and their Civic Conduct. 

e.g.— Unity — v. 2 ; humility — v. 3 ; unselfish- 
ness — vv. 4, etc. ; contentedness — v. 14 ; inno- 
cency — v. 15 ; consistency — v. 15 ; testimony 
— vv. 15, 16 ; joyfulness— vv. 18, 28, 29. 

Chapter 3. — The Citizens and their Special Privileges. 
Eemember the three ways of obtaining Roman citi- 
zenship : 

(1) By birth, e.g., St. Paul. Acts xxii. 28. 

(2) By purchase, e.g., Claudius Lysias. Acts xxii. 28. 

(3) By favour, e.g., Philippians. (Apply to our 

adoption as God's children). 

Remember, also, the three great privileges of citizenship : 

(1) Immunity from punishment. — Acts xxii. 25 ; 

Rom. viii. 1. 

(2) Appeal to Emperor.— Acts xxv. 11 ; l.Cor. iv.3, 4. 

(3) Share in glory of Caesar's triumph. — Col. iii. 4. 


Notice, in this chapter : 

(a) The toga Christ's righteousness. — vv.3, 9. 

(b) The triumph... the Eesurrection. — vv. 10, 11, 21. 

(c) The largesse... the prize. — vv. 12-14. 

Chapter 4.- — The Citizens and their Special Duties. 
Eemember that Eoman citizens had certain taxes to 
pay, and were responsible for supplying contributions 
and service for the Imperial wars; also that they had 
the power of the Emperor and the resources of the 
State to cheer and sustain them. 

C. The Epistle of Christian Character. 

Chapter 1. — The mind of Unity. 
Chapter 2. — The mind of Humility. 
Chapter 3. — The mind of Holiness. 
Chapter 4. — The mind of Liberality. 

1. The mind of confident assurance ; trusting God 

to finish His work. i. 6, 7. 

2. The mind of corporate unity ; combining together 

for God's service, ii. 2; iii. 16; iv. 2. 

3. The mind of Christ's humility ; humbling our- 

selves for God's glory, ii. 5. 

4. The mind of constant progress ; reaching forth 

to God's prize, iii. 13-15. 
6. The mind of careful benevolence ; assisting in the 
advancement of God's cause, iv. 10, etc. 




|AUL and Timothy, ^ servants of Christ Jesus, i i 
to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are 



The oldest form of title is simply ' To the Philippians ', or rather ' To 
the Philippesians', the word ' Philippesian ' being an adjective which is 
found in ch. iv. 15, and also occurs in the heading of Polycarp's famous 
letter to this Church (Introd. II). 


1 — 2. Introductory Salutation 

1. PauJ] As in 1 Thes., 2 Thes., and in Philemon, the Apostle's 
official designation is omitted here, because his authority was not called 
in question at Philippi. There was no need for him to write ear 
cathedra to such loyal, loving friends. From Acts xiii. 9, and onwards, 
he is invariably called * Paul ', whether because th^ name was then 
given him for the first time ; or because he chose it, as St. Augustine 
thought, from humility, to express his own sense of un worthiness 
{paichis = little); or because he took it, as Jerome would believe, to 
commemorate the conversion of Sergius Paulus ; or because, as is very 
probable, he had borne from infancy the Gentile name Paul together 
with the Hebrew name Saul, according to a custom common in those 
days among the Jews, and used it in preference from the time when 
he came prominently forward as the Apostle of the Gentiles, 


2 at Philippi, with the 2 bishops and deacons : Grace 

r, leiseeis. ^^ ^^^ ^^^ peace from God our Father and the 

Timothy] Converted, most probably, during St. Paul's first visit to 
Lystra (cf. 2 Tim. iii. 10, 11 and 1 Tim. i. 2 with Acts xiv. 19, 20 ; xvi. 
1-2) ; and chosen as a companion by the Apostle in place of either 
Barnabas or John Mark (Acts xv. 39-41 ; xvi. 1-3) . He had been in- 
timately associated from the first with Philippi. He accompanied 
the Apostle there on his first visit (Acts xvi. 3-4, 10-12). Twice, at 
least, in after days, he seems to have been there again (Acts xix. 22; 
XX. 3-4, 6). Possibly still other visits were paid. He is seen in this 
Epistle (ii. 19-22) to be on the eve of yet another mission to that 

But for this association in the salutation, Timotheus plays no further 
part in the message of the Epistle, the rest of which is written by 
St. Paul in the singular number. 

Servants] that is, 'bond-servants, slaves'. This is a favourite word 
of the Apostle's in speaking of himself (Rom. i. 1; 2 Cor. iv. 5; Gal. 
i. 10 ; Tit. i. 1). It implies the complete surrender of the man into 
the absolute possession of the divine Lord, and also the right of Christ 
to that absolute service which only God can claim.i Among the 
Romans, the slave was regarded as the property of his master, in the 
same sense and degree as that master's goods and chattels, to be used 
by him at will. Every Christian is regarded in the New Testament as 
accepting this attitude of entire submission to the will of Christ (Rom. 
vi. 16-22 ; xii. 1 ; 1 Cor. vi. 19-20). 

Christ Jesus] So the order of the words according to the oldest 
MSS. It is St. Paul's more usual collocation of the words. The emphasis 
thus laid on the word Christ, the King IMessiah, calls attention to His 
authority and is appropriate to the thought of the context — His claim 
to command His bondslaves. 

The Saints] The root idea of this word is ' consecration, or separation 
from sin to God '. All Christians are called to be 'holy ones ', and the 
New Testament assumes this as an axiom and addresses them on the 
hypothesis that they are what they profess to be. An unholy Christian 
ought to be an impossibility, when we view the matter in the light 
of God's purpose and provision. The word thus denotes all those who 
have entered into covenant relationship with God, regarded as being 
genuine in their profession. It is, in itself, a protest against all 
attempts to divorce faith from practice, and needs to be strongly 

1 Compare the prefix 'Abd or GhuMm in Muslim names, such as 'Abdu'l-Khaliq. 
Though sometimes prefixed to human names ('Abdu'l-'Ali, Ghnlam Muhammad), this 
is regarded by orthodox Muslims as shirk (creature worship), and rightly. 


Lord Jesus Christ. 

emphasized in countries like India where the prevailing tendency has 
been to exalt the philosophical aspects of religion and to neglect the 
moral and the practical. 

In Christ Jesus] He is alike the source and the sphere'^ of our holi- 
ness. It is only as being in him, the Holy One, and abiding in Him, by 
faith, through grace, that we are, or can be, ' saints '. It is one thing 
to be ' in Christianity ', and another thing to be ' in Christ Jesus '. 

With the bishops and deacons] The laity here take precedence of 
the clergy. The latter are added separately because, though included 
in the term' saints', they are differentiated by their office, being men 
chosen out of the congregation to fulfil the ministerial functions of 
the congregation. Some have thought that the separate mention may 
be due to the fact that the contributions to St. Paul by Epaphroditus 
may have been collected and forwarded by them, as the officers of the 
Church. But this is more than questionable. The term ' bishop ' or 
' overseer ' (eVtcr/coTTo?) was at that early period probably applied 
to all presbyters (see, e.g., Acts xx. 17, 28). The word 'deacon' is used 
in this verse for the first time in a technical sense. Occurring, as 
the term (Sta/cot'O?) does, thirty times in the New Testament, it is 
only used three or four times as an official title, its ordinary meaning 
being merely ' a ministering servant '. 

We have thus, in this verse, a passing view of the gradual growth 
of Church organization, and a very early testimony to the fact that defi- 
nite orders of the ministry already existed, to be further shaped and 
developed as time went on. 

2. Grace to you and peace, etc.] The salutations of the West and 
East are for ever united in this Christian greeting. All that the Greek 
meant by his ordinary greeting ' grace ', and all that the Asiatic means 
by ' peace ' (Arabic ' salam', Hebrew ' shalom '), are eternally blended and 
fulfilled in Christ. Thus the New Testament salutation is a pledge 
of the union of the East and West in our common Saviour, and a sign 
that the highest ideals of both find their consummation and fullest 
expression in Him. It is also a challenge to us to sink all racial feeling 
and national prejudices, since we all meet and are fused together in 
Christ. Besides this aspect of customary greeting, the words, as 
here used, emphatically convey their primary meaning, 

1 By ' sphere ' in this sense we mean the region or surroundings in which a person 
lives. ' The Lord (i.e., Christ) is the Spirit' (2 Gor. iii. 17) ; the life we have, through 
union with Him, is an infinite one, yet centred in a Person ; in Him we live as in a 
new spiritual atmosphere. 


3 I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, always in 

4 every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my 

Grace] Denotes God's unmerited kindness, in all His dealings with 
unworthy men. 

Peace] Includes that ' peace with God ' which is the result of recon- 
ciliation through Christ (2 Cor. v. 18-21 ; Rom. v. 1), and also that ' peace 
of God ' which is continually imparted to those who live the life of faith 
in Him (ch. iv. 6, 7). It may be noted that siJnce, in this Epistle, ' grace ' 
is used in connexion with evangelistic work (i. 7), while ' peace ' occurs 
in reference to rest of soul amidst the trials of Christian life and labours 
(iv. 6, 7), we have here a special message to Christian workers, g7'ace 
for sei'vice, and peace in service, be unto you. 

Notice in this Section 

(a) The right vieiu of ministers and ivorkers. — The 'bond-slaves of 
Christ Jesus ', called to serve, not to be ' lords over God's 

(h) The right vieio of all triie Christians. — The ' saints in Christ 
Jesus', called to genuine holiness of life and character. 

(c) The right view of the Christian laity. — A holy priesthood, with 
the bishops and deacons added as necessary offLcials, taken out 
of the laity to do the ecclesiastical work of the laity. From 
the New Testament standpoint, it is absolutely wrong to 
speak of the body of clergy as constituting ' the Church '. 
Every Christian layman must take his place as a witness, an 
intercessor, a worker for God, in India (ef. 1 Pet, ii. 9). 

3-11. Thanksgiving and Prayer 

These verses include thankful remembrance (v. 3) ; joyful sup]jlication 
(vv. 4, 5) ; hapiiy confidence (v. 6) ; fervent desire (vv. 7-8) ; and earnest 
prayer (vv. 9-11). 

3. I thank] The Apostle, in writing to the Churches, was able to 
thank God for all of them, except the Galatians, among whom serious 
apostasy was rife (see Rom. i. 8 ; 1 Cor. i. 4 ; Eph. i. 16 ; Col. i. 3 ; 1 Thes. 
i. 2 ; ii 13 ; 2 Thes. i. 3 ; ii. 13 ; Philem. 4). But his warmest thanks- 
givings are excited by the INIacedonian Churches, Philippi and Thessa- 
lonica. Here, so great is his love and gratitude, ' he repeats words and 
accumulates clauses in the intensity of his feeling'. — Bishsop Lightfoot. 

My God] A phrase of frequent occurrence in the devotional por- 
tions of the book of Psalms (e.g., Ps. Ixiii. 1 ; Ixxxvi. 2.) It expresses 
strongly both personal relatiomhip and habitual fellowship. St. Paul 


supplication with joy, for your fellowship in furtherance of the 5 

uses it again in Rom. i. 8 ; 1 Cor. i. 4 ; 2 Cor. xii. 21 ; Philem. 4. It 
occurs also in ch. iv. 19, so that this Epistle both begins and ends with it. 

Upon all my remembrance of you] The phrase denotes not an occa- 
sional recollection of them in a series of isolated acts, but rather a 
habitual remembrance. He could dwell thankfully in thought, too, on 
the ivhole range of his memory of them ; his entire recollection of them 
was green and refreshing. His gratitude was stirred as he thought of 
souls saved from sin and Satan, lives uplifted and sanctified, obedience 
and service rendered to his Lord. Thanksgiving and recollection occur 
together also in Rom. i. 8, 9 ; Eph. i. 16 ; 1 Thes. i. 2 ; 2 Tim. i. 3; 
Philem. 4; though the thought in those passages is slightly different. 

4. Always] The word occurs about twenty-seven times in St. Paul's 
writings, and the passages will well repay study. In this Epistle we meet 
with it four times, namely: 

{a) Always praying, i. 4. 

(&) Always magnifying Christ, i. 20. 

(c) Always obeying, ii. 12. 

{d) Always rejoicing, iv. 4. 

Every supplication] The Greek word denotes ' a definite request, 
arising from a real sense of need '. It is found again in this Epistle in 
i. 19 ; iv. 6. In praying for the converts, the Apostle was no wild beater 
of the air. He realized exactly what they needed, and sought earnestly 
from God a specific supply of those defined needs. 

On behalf of you all] The studied repetition of the phrase ' you all ' 
is remarkable (i. 4 ; i. 7, twice ; i. 8, 25 ; ii. 17, 26). It probably suggests 
a gentle rebuke of the party-spirit at Philippi. The Apostle, at least, 
loves and prays for all, without distinction. May we not learn from 
this that the loving prayer of Christian men for all their fellow- 
Christians, of whatever extraction, will prove one of the best antidotes to 
anything like caste-spirit and will go far to rebuke and banish it ? 

Lightfoot would connect the words with 'I thank Goi ' rather than 
with 'every prayer of mine'. The grammar allows either connexion, 
and both are suggestive. 

Making my supplication] Literally, 'making the supplication', i.e., 
the supplication referred to in the formar part of this verse. 

With joy] These words, in the original, are emphatic from their posi- 
tion, ' tcithjoy making my supplication ', All his prayers for them were 
radiant with joy. This is the first occurrence of one of the keywords of 
tlie Epistle (Introd. VIj. 


6 gospel from the first day until now ; being confident of this 
very thing, that he which began a good work in you will 

5. For your fellowship, etc.] Conybeare and Howson translate * For 
your fellowship in forwarding the glad-tidings'. The word ' fellowship'' 
is restricted in some passages (e.g., Eom. xv. 26 ; 2 Cor. ix. 13) to the 
sense of ' pecuniary contributions ', and we know that the Philippians 
had materially assisted St. Paul in this manner (ch. iv. 14-17). But 
their ' fellowship ' cannot be limited to that alone ; it took the wider 
form of co-operation in work, and included sympathy, suffering, and 
service. These early Christians were real helpers in the holy war. 
The phrase ' in furtherance of the Gospel ' (et? to evayyeXcov) occura 
again in 2 Cor. ii. 12 ; ix. 13 ; Phil. ii. 22 ; and forms a grand motto for 
evangelistic work. 

(a) Journeying in furtherance of the Gospel. 2 Cor. ii. 12. 

(6) Obeying God „ ,, „ 2 Cor. ix. 13. 

(c) Co-operating ,, ,, ,, Phil. i. 5. 

(d) Serving (as a bondman) ,, „ Phil. ii. 22. 

The word ' Gospel ' is found nine times in this Epistle (i. 5, 7, 12, 16, 27, 
twice; ii. 22; iv. 3, 15). Its reiteration in this chapter is remarkablev 
and the collation of the phrases in which it occurs will repay study. 
The present condition of India is a loud call tp Indian Christians to 
co-operate 'for the furtherance of the Gospel'. 

The whole clause is to be connected directly with *I thank my God'. 
Their practical fellowship was the special ground of the thanksgiving. 

From the first day until now] See ch. iv. 10-19. The * first day ' reaches 
back at least to his first departure from Philippi and to the substantial 
aid which they had then sent after him. ' Now ' refers to their special 
contributions just received at Home (ii. 25). In their constant liberality 
and missionary zeal, the Philippians are an object lesson to us in India. 

6. Being confident] The word denotes * personal certainty '. It was 
an assurance founded on past experience. Christian workers need to- 
be confident in 

(a) God's perfect and complete working. Phil. i. 6. 

(6) The reality and integrity of converts. 2 Cor. ii. 3 ; 2 Thes. iii. 4. 

(c) The sincerity of their own conscience. Heb. xiii. 18. 

(d) Divine guidance in their work. Phil. i. 25. 

Of this very thing] Some would translate ' on this very account', 
* according'. But the phrase seems to indicate the substance of his 
confidence rather than the ground for it. 

He which began] That is, at the time of their conversion. This par- 
ticular verb occurs again only in Gal. iii. 3. It is used, sometimes, by 


perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ ; even as it 
3 Or, ye have - ^jabtfor me to be thus minded on behalf of you 7 

vie in your heart. o j *■ 

all, because ^I have you in my heart, inasmuch 

the Greeks, in a sacrificial sense, and denotes the action of beginning 
an offering. 

A good work] The * good work ' of salvation and sanctification, 
which commenced with their conversion. This would involve all other 
' good works ', such as their co-operation in the spread of the Gospel, 

Will perfect] The word means ' to bring to perfection ' (cf. Ps. cxxxviii. 
8). It is noteworthy that this word also is used at times in a sacrificial 
sense, and so would complete the metaphor suggested by the word 
' began ' . 

Until the day of Jesus Christ] The sanctifying work goes on ' right 
up to ' the glorious time referred to in ch. iii, 20, 21, when it will be 
consummated. He does not say ' until the day of your death', for the 
Coming, not death, is the goal of the Christian Church, The verse 
glov/s with anticipation of the near approach of the Advent. 

The exact expression * the day of Jesus Christ ' seems to be pecuhar 
to this one passage. In 1 Cor. i. 8, it is * the day of our Lord Jesus 
Christ ' ; and in 1 Cor. v. 5 ; 2 Cor. i. 14, ' the day of the Lord Jesus ' ; 
while in Phil. i. 10 ; ii. IG, we have ' the day of Christ'. For ' the day of 
the Lord ', see 1 Thes. v. 2 ; 2 Thes. ii, 2 ; 2 Pet. iii. 10 (cf. « the day of 
Jehovah' frequently spoken of by the Old Testament prophets). 

7. To be thus minded] Or, ' to be of this mind, to feel thus ', i.e., 
to realize the thankfulness spoken of above. Here appears for the first 
time another of the keywords of the Epistle {(ppoveiv) (Introd. VI). 

On behalf of you all] Or, perhaps, ' Over you all, or about you all ',. 
regarding them as the ground of his thankfulness of mind. Both 
renderings are permissible, and both ideas fit the context. But the 
rendering in the text gives an excellent meaning, suggesting his joyful 
intercession for them. 

Because I have you in my heart] This may also be translated < because 
you have me in your heart ', but the context seems decisive in favour of 
the rendering in the text. Cf. 2 Cor. iii. 2. It is not hard to love people 
when we have them in our hearts ! So also, to love God's ways and 
word and law, we are to have them in our heart (Ps. Ixxxiv. 5 ; Rom. 
X. 8; Heb. viii. 10). 

The strong affection which should bind minister and people together 
is indicated here, and the words contain a lesson alike for foreign 
missionaries, Indian pastors, and the Christian laity. Let love prevail ► 


as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the 
8 gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my 

In my bonds] We see by vv. 29, 30 that the Philippians knew what it 
was to suffer for Christ, and that their conflict resembled that of the 
Apostle. Some of them may even have been imprisoned for their faith. 
At least, they were sharers of hts bonds in the sense of syrnpathy and 
acti\'€ assistance. In India, do we not need more willingness to suffer 
patiently for Christ, with less readiness to have recourse to the secular 

The defence and confirmation, etc.] Here we have the two sides of the 
■evangelist's work, the defensive and the offensive. The ' defence ' or ' vindi- 
cation ' includes removing obstacles and overcoming prejudices. A com- 
parison of the passages in which the word occurs shows us that St. Paul 
vindicated the truth before the Jews (Acts xxii. 1) ; before governors 
(Acts XXV. 16) ; before false teachers (1 Cor. ix. 3) ; and before Roman 
emperors and citizens (2 Tim. iv. 16 ; Phil. i. 7, 16). We are to defend 
the truth, if need be, as against Church and State, open enemies 
and false friends ; and St. Peter bids us vindicate it before all men 
{I Pet. iii. 15). 

Confirmation] Speaks of direct advance and wise ' establishment ' of 
the work. The word is only used again in Heb. ri. 16. As Conybeare 
and Howson remark, ' St. Paul defended his doctrine by his words and 
confirmed it by his life '. 

' Ye all are partakers with me of grace] More literally, * co-partners of 
my grace as ye all are '. This word * co-partners ', one of the ' fellowship ' 
words of the Epistle (see Introd. VI), is found in three other passages 
only. By collating them, we see that Christians are co-partuers of 

(a) The root and fatness of the olive tree. Rom. xi. 17. 

{b) The Gospel and its happy service. 1 Cor. ix. 23. 

(c) The special grace of missionary labour. Phil. i. 7. 

{d) The cross now and kingdom afterwards. Rev. i. 9. 

Of grace] This may be taken generally to denote the grace of salva- 
tion, sanctification, service, and. missionary privilege. The occurrence of 
the cognate verb in v. 29 (e^j^ap/o-^?;) would perhaps narrow its meaning 
here to the special boon of being allowed to confirm the Gospel by suffer- 
ings. See also Eph. iii. 2, 8. Not every one would call bonds and 
Bufferings by the sweet name of 'grace'. 

8. God is my witness] St. Paul, as a missionary, invokes God as 
* witness ' to 

(a) His prayer for the converts. Rom. i. 9. 


witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ 
Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more 9 

(6) His longing desire for them. Phil. i. 8. 

(c) His sincerity in work. 1 Thes. ii, 5. 

(d) His consistent conduct. 1 Thes. ii. 10. 

This four-fold invocation may well furnish food for reflection alike 
for European missionaries and for Indian workers. 

Long after] Better, 'yearn eagerly'. It denotes a sort of home-sick 
longing, and is used in the New Testament of 

(a) Absent friends yearning over each other. Rom. i. 11 ; 2 Cor. ix. 

14 ; ch. ti. 26 ; 1 Thes. iii. 6 ; 2 Tim. i. 4. 
(&) The believer yearning for his home and rest above. 2 Cor. v. 2. 

(c) The Spirit yearning to possess the souls of men. Jas. iv. 5. 

(d) The Christian yearning for the Word of God. 1 Pet, ii. 2. 

In the tender mercies of Christ Jesus] Literally, ' in the bowels '. 
The word here used denoted, classically, ' the nobler viscera, heart, lungs, 
liver, etc'. The Greeks looked on these as the seat of the affections. 
Hence the word may well be rendered 'heart'. Lightfoot beautifully 
paraphrases, ' Did I speak of having you in my own heart ? I should 
rather have said that in the heart of Christ Jesus I long for you ' ; and he 
adds ' The believer has no yearnings apart from his Lord ; his pulse 
beats with the pulse of Christ ; his heart throbs with the heart of Christ'. 

In the matchless prayer contained in v. 9-11, we have a 'petition, 
in order to a process, in view of a purpose. 

9. This I pray that] The word * that ' would, classically, indicate pur. 
pose, ' in order that ', and perhaps we have here the object of the Apostle's 
prayer, the end which he had in view. But, in later Greek, it is often 
used in the sense of purport, so that it possibly denotes here the sub- 
stance of the prayer. 

That your love may abound yet more and more] Here is the petitiont 
— ' Love ' in its largest sense, to God and man, but with a special reference, 
doubtless, to the internal dissensions in the Church. ' Abound ', for, 
though they have some love, they need abounding love. When love 
abounds, converts will abound. When love abounds, the caste-spirit will 

More and more] This is the only occurrence of this exact phrase in 
the New Testament. The expression in 1 Thes. iv. 1, 10 is less strong, 
though similar, in the Greek. If nothing else abounds ' more and 
more ', at least let love ! ' The fire in the Apostle never says '* enough " '. 


and more in knowledge and all discernment; ior,2)rove the 
10 so that ye may ^approve the things that are things that differ. 

Knowledge] The word employed {eTTLypcooL^) denotes ' full knowl- 
edge ', and, in the New Testament, ' spiritual knowledge '. So far from 
being ' agnostics ', who can know nothing certainly of God, we are 
to be ' epignostics ' with full, clear, knowledge of His character and 
will, spiritually apprehended. We see that christian love is not to be 
blind, but intelligent, with both eyes wide open. 

We must distinguish this ' spiritual knowledge ' from the Jnana of 
Hinduism. The latter, which is regarded as the suvwium bonuvi or 
highest attainment of religion by thousands in India, denotes rather a 
cold, philosophical knowledge derived from abstract meditation. The 
former indicates a spiritual grasp of the truths of revealed religion by a 
warm responsive heart, such a grasp as elevates the whole man and, as 
the following words declare, finds its natural expression in holiness of 
life. For the Christian, true knowledge is only the means to an end, 
that end being the total transformation of character and life. 

And all discernment] or, 'perception'. While the former word 
* knowledge ' relates to general principles, this one has regard to the 
practical application of those principles. Our love is to be seen in 
delicate and fine tact, and in sanctified common sense. We are to 
perceive, with keen insight, the bearings and tendencies of things, 
whether in doctrine or practice, and know how to treat them accordingly. 
This word does not occur again in the New Testament, but a cognate 
form is used of the organs of moral sense in Heb. v. 14. 

The * all ' suggests the need of this ' perception ' under many circmn- 
stances and on divers occasions. Such practical perception is greatly 
needed in facing the problems which confront the Infant Church of 
India, as well as in evangelistic efforts among non- Christians. 

10. So that ye approve the things that are excellent] Here follows 
the process, to which the petition was directed. The equipment of 
abounding, intelligent love is to be used now in processes of dis- 
crimination and approving choice. Two renderings are possible. 

(a) That ye may test the tilings that differ, as the magnet discri- 
minates between iron and other metals ; ' sifting truth and 
holiness from their counterfeits ' (Moule). For this rendering 
' test ' , other occurrences of the verb may be cited in the New 
Testament (Luke xiv. 19; 1 Cor. iii. 13 ; xi. 28; Gal. vi. 4; 
1 Thes. ii. 4; v. 21), while the translation 'differ' is sup- 
ported by 1 Cor. xv. 41 ; Gal. iv. 1. 


excellent ; that ye may be sincere and void of 
5 Gr. fruit, offence unto the day of Christ ; being filled with 11 
the 5 fruits of righteousness, which are through 

(b) That i/e may approve the things that transcend, always laying 

the hand of approving claim on the higher riches of grace ; not 
content with a lower experience, but, by a true spiritual instinct, 
ever choosing and approving and enjoying the grander and fuller 
gifts bestowed on us ' for life and godliness ' (2 Pet. i. 3 ; Eph. i. 
18, 19 ; Heb. vi. 1 ; etc.) This sense of ' approve ' is confirmed by 
such passages as Rom. i. 28 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 3 ; while the transla- 
tion ' transcend ' is favoured by Matt. vi. 26 ■ x. 31 ; xii. 12 ; 
Gal. ii. 6. 
This latter rendering is preferred by our revisers, and also by Bishop 
Lightfoot, but both translations are allowable. A strictly parallel passage- 
is Rom, ii. 18, which is also capable of the double interpretation. 

That ye may be sincere] Here begins the statement of the purpose 
which is in view as the result of the process. It is ushered in by the Greek 
conjunction of purpose ' in order that ' ; and it is seen to be twofold^ 
namely, holiness and fruitfulness. 

* Sincere ' or rather * unmixed, without alloy, distinct, unsullied '. 
Three derivations of this word {eiKiKpivrjf;) have been suggested, 
(a) From a root (et\i]^ meaning ' a troop, or a company ', the word 
thus denoting the orderly separateness of marshalled ranks, men 
standing shoulder to shoulder, but distinct from any motley 
crowd which may surround them. Here is a thought for 
Christian soldiers, separate from the world, fighting the 
battles of their Lord. It appeals to us in India ; we are ^mong 
the heathen, but we must be separate from heathenism. 
Let the Church be free from all alloy of heathen customs. 
(6) From a word {etkr)) meaning ' sunlight ', the idea then being that 
of a substance * examined by the sun, tested, and found pure 
all pollution having been detected and put away'. Here is a 
thought for Christian saints, searched and purified by the Sun 
of Righteousness. 

(c) From the verb (eiXicaco), 'to roll round and round ', giving the 

idea of ' separated or sifted by rolling', and so left unmixed and 
pure. Here is a thought for Christian sufierers, whirled 
round in the sieve of trial, so as to separate all chaff from 
them. They are purified from alloy as gold is separated from 
quartz in the goldfields by crushing and washing. 


Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 
12 Now I would have you know, brethren, that the things 

Of these three interpretations, the first is the most irreproachable, so 
far as scholarship is concerned. 

Void of offence] The word bears a double meaning, indicating either 
(intransitively) ' without stumbling ' ; or (transitively) ' without causing 
others to stumble'. Both senses, surely, are in place. Christians are to 
go forward without any hindrance such as unbelief or disobedience would 
occasion them : and they are to be careful lest, by inconsistency of 
conduct, they place obstacles in the way of others. In this country, 
Hindus and Muhammadans are watching us ; let us beware lest we 
hinder them. 

While the former word ' sincere ' emphasizes character, this one em- 
phasizes conduct. 

Unto the day of Christ] The same expression occurs in ii. 16. This 
is to be our present experience, with the day ever in view. We are to 
be unsullied now, and without stumbling now, in order that, when the 
Lord comes, we may meet Him with joy, and not with shame. For 
the 'day of Christ', see note on v. 6. 

11. Being filled] Literally, * having been filled' (the fulness still 
continuing). True holiness will always lead to fruitfulness. If the ad- 
justing and approving of vv. 9, 10 do not produce fulness of fruit, they 
have failed in their purpose. God's trees are to be kept always laden 
with fruit, day by day. 

The fruits of righteousness] Literally, the * fruit ' (in the singular) 
as in Gal. v. 22. The expression is found again in Jas. iii. 18 (cf. Heb. 
xii. II), and is possibly derived from the LXX. (Prov. xi. 30 ; xiii. 2 ; Amos 
vi. 12), So far as the structure of the phrase itself is concernecl, it may 
mean either 'the fruit which is righteousness', or 'the fruit which righte- 
ousness produces'. The analogy of such expressions as ' the fruit of the 
Spirit ' (Gal. v. 22), and ' the fruit of the light ' (Eph. v. 9) would seem to 
decide in favour of the second meaning. It thus denotes the fruit of 
righteousness, the righteousness of Christ, imputed to the believer at 
his justification and imparted to him by the Spirit day by day in sanc- 
tification, fruit which is seen alike in transformed character and consis- 
tent conduct, in happy witness and in faithful service. (Isaiah xxxii. 
16, 17). 

Through Jesus Christ] The condition for such fruit-bearing is union 
with Christ. The whole teaching of John, xv. 1-lG is in point here. 

United with and abiding in Him, we receive power, by the continual 
impartatiou of His life and Spirit, to bring forth fruit, ' much fruit '. 


which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the 
progress of the gospel ; so that my bonds became manifest in 13 

Unto the glory and praise of God] The one true end and object of the 
Christian's life. Holiness and fruitfulness are not intended for our own 
comiort and enjoyment, but for God's sole glory. Here is a grand motto 
for missionary life and service. Here, again, is the- raison d'etre of the 
Indian Church, that God may be glorified in this land, aye ! and beyond it. 

Glory] denotes the manifestation of the Divine attributes. 

Praise] speaks of the admiration and benediction of those attributes 
by His creatures (cf. Eph. i. 6). 

12-26. Peksonal. St. Paul's bonds and work 

This section tells us of his bonds (vv. 12-14) ; his rivals (vV. 15-18) ; his 
suspense (w. 19-20) ; his choice (vv. 21-4) ; and his confidence vv. 25-6). 

12. The things which happened unto me] More literally, ' the things 
related to me,' i.e., ' my circumstances'. The phrase is found again in 
Eph. vi. 21 ; Col. iv. 7. How unlikely and untoward those circumstances 
seemed to human view ! We need to look at all circumstances with the 
eye of faith, and to see God shaping them (Rom. viii. 28). 

Have fallen out, etc.] Perfect tense, ' have come out, and are still 
proving to be '. The word ' rather ' implies a contrast, ' rather than the 
reverse, as might have been expected '. 

Unto the progress of the Gospel] This word has a pioneer ring about 
it, being derived from a root meaning ' to cut away before one ', ' to clear 
the way in front ', as does a pioneer in the backwoods. The noun only 
occurs again in v. 25 and in 1 Tim. iv. 15 ; but the cognate verb is found 
in Luke ii. 52; Rom. xiii. 12; Gal. i. 14 ; 2 Tim. ii. 16; iii. 9, 13. 

We need more pioneer evangelists in India ; let us all pray and work 
'for the progress of the Gospel', clearing the way in front for the fur- 
ther advance of our conquering Lord. 

13. Aly bonds became manifest in Christ] Rather, * became manifest 
(as being) in Christ', i.e., are clearly seen to have to do with Christ, 
and to be in consequence of union with Him, and not to be due to any- 
social or political circumstances. St. Paul's bonds led to 

(a) The gaoler'iB conversion in this very Philippi. Acts xvi. 26. 

(b) Onesimus' salvation in the imperial city. Philem. 10, 11. 

(c) Rome's being well evangelized. Phil. i. 7, 13, 14, 17. 
Thus his very fetters preached Christ and worked for Christ. 


6 Gr. in the iviwie Christ ^ throughout the whole praetorian guard, 
14 ^^'^^«'-'»''"- and to all the rest ; and that most of the brethren 

Throughout the whole praetorian guard] Literally, * in the whole 

Praetorium '. This word has been variously explained, as referring to 

(a) The im'perial residence on the Palatine hill. — This explanation 
probably follows the usage of the word in Matt, xxvii. 27 ; 
Mark xv. 16 ; John xviii. 28, 33 ; xix. 9 ; Acts xxiii. 35 ; where 
it is used of the palace of a king or governor. 
But no evidence can be adduced of the use of the word in 
connexion with Caesar's palace. 

{h) The Prcetorian barracks attached to the imperial palace. — This 
suggestion, also, is without historical authority. 

(c) The camp of the Prcetorian soldiers outside the Colline gate of 
the city.—Th.eve is more to be said in favour of this opinion, 
but it, likewise, lacks external support. 

{d) The body of the Prcetorian guards. — The word being used not of 
a locality but of a regiment. This is the common usage of 
the term, and is amply supported by the Latin classics. It is 
rightly, therefore, adopted in the text.i It also harmonizes 
with Acts xxviii. 30, in which the Apostle is described as 
living ' in his own hired house'. Every warder of the Guard 
who came on duty to the prisoner heard the story of the 
Gospel and carried with him to his comrades something of the 
Apostle's message. Thus the main facts of the Christian re- 
velation soon became known to the whole of the Imperial 
Guards, and we may well believe that some of those hardy 
soldiers became doughty champions of the Cross. 

To all the rest] Cf . Luke xxiv. 9 ; 2 Cor. xiii. 2. Whether ' to all 
the rest of the Praetorian guards ', other than those who visited the 
Apostle (so Conybeare and Howson) ; or * to all other men, namely, 
the Roman public' (Moule) ; or, to 'other people in general'. As 
Lightfoot says, the expression is a comprehensive one and * must not 
be too rigorously interpreted.' 

14. Most of the brethren] The majority were fired into zeal, but a 
minority still hung back, whether from unwillingness, or unfriendliness, 

1. It should be mentioned, however, that Professor Mommsen, followed by Ramsay 
and others, regards the term as indicating ' the Praetorian Council ' which consisted 
of the commanders of the Praetorian guards and their assistants. Paul's case would 
come before this Oouncil. Mommsen thinks that he was not in the custody of the 
Praetorian guards, but in that of the corps of ' milites frumentarii ', whose camp was 
on the Caelian hill. 


in the Lord, ^ being confident through my bonds, 

are more abundantly bold to speak the word of ,/,„f J.fjf "^ 

God without fear. Some indeed preach Christ j^g 

or cowardice. The majorities of Scripture are often on the wrong side 
(see Acts xix. 32 ; xxvii. 12 ; 1 Cor. x. 5). Here it is otherwise. 

In the Lord] Grammatically, this may be taken either with \ the 
brethren ' as in the text, or with the words * being confident ' (see Gal. v. 
10; 2 Thes. iii. 4; and cf. 1 Thes. ii. 2). On the whole, the former 
sense seems preferable. See note on ii. 19. 

Being confident through my bonds] Literally, ' relying on my bonds', 
the bonds being the cause or ground of their confidence. Conybeare and 
Howson translate ' rendered confident by my chains ', and this expresses 
the Apostle's meaning exactly. His 'bonds', standing for a glorious 
cause, and speaking of a glorious Person, evoked new zeal, especially when 
seen to be for the direct progress of the Gospel. Here was a man who 
gloried in wearing chains for Christ, and found his Saviour more than 
conqueror even in the imprisonment. Christian zeal and daring ought 
to be contagious. 

Are more abundantly bold] Literally, ' venture (dare) more abun- 
dantly (than before) '. They grew more frequent, more open, more bold 
in their testimony. For some deeds of Christian daring, in which this 
same word is used, see 

Mark xv. 43. Joseph going boldly to claim the body of Jesus. 

Rom. V. 7. Men daring to die for their fellows, 

2 Cor. X. 2. Teachers being courageous against error. 

2 Cor. xi. 21-7. Evangelists daring to do and suffer for the truth. 

Phil. i. 14. Believers waxing bold to testify to the Gospel. 

To speak the word of God] The different titles of the 'word' in 
the New Testament will repay study. We have ' The word of God ' (as 
here, the usual expression) ; ' The word of the kingdom ' (INIatt. xiii. 
19) ; ' The word of the Gospel ' (Acts xv. 7) ; ' The word of the cross ', 
(1 Cor. i. 18) ; ' The word of the truth' (Eph. i. 13 ; etc.) ; ' The word of 
life' (Phil. ii. 16 ; 1. John i. 1) ; ' The word of Christ' (Col. iii. 16); 
« The word of the Lord ' (1 Thes. i. 8) ; and other expressions. 

Without fear] An adverb only found four times in the New Testament. 
On the one hand, we have unworthy ministers ' feeding themselves with- 
out fear ' (Jude 12) ; on the other hand, we have true Christians 
(rt) Serving God without fear. Luke i. 74. 

(&) Working the work of the Lord without fear. 1 Cor. xvi. 10. 
(c) Preaching the word without fear. • Phil. i. 14. 

15. Some indeed preach, etc.] Here are two sorts of preachers, 


16 even of envy and strife ; and some also of goodwill : the 
one do it of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of 

actuated by two kinds of motives. The reference is, in the one case, to 
the Judaizing party in the Roman Church alluded to again in iii. 2-15. 
The Epistle to the Romans (see chs. ii, iv) shows their position and in- 
fluence there. They accepted the Gospel, but insisted that circumcision 
was essential and that the Mosaic law was permanently binding. They 
were Christians bound about with Mosaic grave-clothes, and their party 
spirit was extremely strong. They preached ' the Christ ' (mark the 
force of the definite article which occurs here, from a Jewish standpoint), 
but they clung to their exclusively Hebrew interpretation of the term. 
Let us beware, in India, lest we rear up Christians bound about with 
Hindu grave-clothes, or Muhammadan grave-clothes, or caste grave- 
clothes, or national custom grave-clothes. 

Even of envy and strife] Better, ' actually from envy and conten- 
tion ', incredible though this may appear. The exact phrase ' from envy ' 
is found again only in Matt, xxvii. 18 ; Mark. xv. 10, a sad parallel. 
They were actuated by jealousy of the Apostle's influence, and by that 
contentious spirit which sought to gain adherents to their circumcision 
party. We need, in this country, to be delivered from envy of others 
who ' follow not with us', and from the sectarian spirit which exalts any 
one external organization as essential to salvation. The ' clash of 
Churches ' is by all means to be deiDlored and avoided ; and, while we 
are loyal in our attachment to our own Church, let us see to it that we 
are loving and liberal in our bearing towards others. 

And some also of goodwill] More correctly, ' and some as truly from 
goodwill'. The word here translated 'goodwill' means, in the New 
Testament, either a person's ' good pleasure ', i.e., what is pleasing in 
his eyes (Matt. xi. 26 ; Luke x. 21 ; Eph. i. 5, 9 ; Phil. ii. 13) ; or, his 
'benevolent goodwill' (Rom. x. 1; and, possibly, Luke ii. 14; 2 Thes. 
i. 11). In this passage, both ideas seem to be combined. 

They preached Christ from their own choice and 'good pleasure', 
and also with the ' benevolent desire ' of doing good to their fellow- 
men, as well as cheering the Apostle. ;Bishop Moule calls it • the 
goodwill of loyalty.' 

16. 1 am set] ' The thought is as of a soldier posted, a line of 
defence laid down ' (Moule). It would appeal to the Philippians as 
Roman citizens, placed to defend the Empire on its outlying bound- 
aries. If we examine the occurrences of this verb in the original, 
we shall find that the Christian is set 
(a) To give light. Matt. v. 14. 
\b) To defend the Gospel. Phil. i. 16. 


sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds. 17 
What then ? only that in every way, whether in pretence or is 
in truth, Christ is proclaimed ; and therein I rejoice, yea, and 

(c) To endure afflictions. 1 Thes. iii. 3 (Cf. Luke ii. 34). 
The word also contains something of the idea of prostration in it. 
We must humble ourselves to the dust if we would be good defenders of 
the Gospel, as the soldier often has to lie down flat when he shoots or 
receives fire. 

The defence] See v. 7, where same word occurs. The sight of this 
solitary prisoner, so nobly holding the fort for Christ (cf. 2 Sam. xxiii. 

II, 12) and vindicating the cause of the Gospel against all comers, may 
well have stirred all who loved God and souls to the emprise of noble 

17. Proclaim] Or, ' announce '. It really means * to declare tidings as 
a messenger '. The word ' preach ', previously used in v. 15, means ' to 
proclaim as a herald '. 

Of faction] Or, ' partizanship '. The Greek word, thus translated, 
originally denoted ' labour for wages ', and then came to indicate * can- 
vassing for office ', finally passing into the meaning of party spirit. 
Conybeare and Howson render ' a spirit of intrigue '. All the mean 
anger of day-labourers quarreling over their hire, all the heat of a 
political, canvass, was imported into the partizan activities of the 
Judaizers. The word is used again ii. 3. 

Not sincerely] Literally, * not purely ', i.e., with mixed and impure 
motives. The word cuts at the root of all sordid considerations in 
Christian work, as well as sectarian spirit. To serve God merely for the 
sake of emolument, or in order to educate our children, is not to serve 
Him * purely '. 

To raise up affliction for me in my bonds] Whether by promoting 
*the gathering opposition to the Apostle's doctrine of liberty ', and so 
annoying him (Lightfoot) ; or * by preventing the access of inquirers or 
converts to him ' (Moule) ; or by ' accusing him of teaching a false and 
anti-national doctrine and so exciting odium against him among the 
Christians of Jewish birth in Rome ' (Conybeare and Hovi^son) ; or by a 
combination of all these, with a view to discrediting his authority and 
dividing the Church. Lightfoot renders ' to make my chains gall me', 
giving to the word for affliction (^X/i^t?) its original meaning of ' rub- 
bing ', ' pressure '. 

18. What then ? only that, etc.] As though to say ' What matters 
it? It matters not, for I, Christ's bondslave, am nothing, and their 



19 will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation, 
through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of 

opposition to me is best ignored. And yet in one way it does matter, 
and ' only ' in one way, namely, that it makes my Master known and 
helps forward His cause '. 

In pretence] The word means, primarily, ' an ostensible purpose ', put 
forward, usually, as a cloak for other designs. The most lawful things 
may be thus deceitfully employed. For example, we have 

[a) The pretext of prayer. Mark xii. 40 ; Luke xx. 47. 

(6) ,, ,, of work. Acts xxvii. 30. 

(c) ,, >, of preaching. 1 Thes. ii. 5, and here. 

{d) ,, ,, of ignorance. John xv. 22. 

The Greek word used in all these verses is the same as here. 
Proclaimed] Or, ' announced', the same word as in v. 17. 

I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice] Better, 'I do rejoice; aye! and rejoice 
I shall '. The abrupt language shows the conflicting feelings in St, 
Paul's heart, and tells how he got victory over self in the conflict. The 
vassal could rejoice in his Lord's honour, even though it seemed to bring 
dishonour to himself (cf. John iii. 29, 30). How absolutely he suppresses 
his personal feeling as he recognizes a new opportunity for glorifying his 
Master ! He could rejoice heartily in the preaching of these men, however 
unworthy their motive, in so far as it made the truth of Christ known to 
the heathen. It was not now a question of defending the liberty of the 
Gospel against their distinctive Judaistic doctrine, as in the case of the 
Galatians, with a holy zeal for the purity of the Church ; it was solely a 
question of evangelizing the heathen. 

19. This] That is < these present circumstances' of trial and suffering ; 
this prison condition of bonds, with all its attendant gall and bitterness. 

Shall turn to my salvation] Better, 'Shall issue, as regards me, in 
salvation '. This appears to be a quotation, however unconsciously made^ 
from the LXX of Job xiii. 16. 

The word ' salvation ' here cannot denote, as some have thought, his 
personal safety. It is probably used in the sense of 'final salvation', 
as in V. 28 (cf). iii. 20), with its accompaniment of heavenly glory. 
This is the great issue before the true believer (Rom. xiii. 11 ; 1 Thess. 
V. 8 ; Heb. ix. 28 ; 1 Pet. i. 5). It will include, also, the idea of the 
development of his spiritual life by the discipline of trial. Such 
victories over self as he had just won were fresh appropriations of 
God's saving power and grace. Salvation is a process as well as an 
event (cf. Acts ii. 47. R. V.). 


Jesus Christ, according to nay earnest expectation and hope, 20 
that in nothing shall I be put to shame, but that with all 
boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in 

Through your supplication] The same word as in v. 4. He had made 
his ' request ' for them ; let them make their ' request ' for him. St. 
Paul, in his Epistles, often asks prayer for himself (e.g., Rom. xv. 30 ; 
Eph. vi. 18, 19 ; Col. iv. 2, 3 ; etc.). 

The same definite article, in the Greek, stands for both this and the 
following clause, implying that the supply of the Spirit is given in 
response to their prayer ; their supplication and God's supply are the 
two sides of one and the same transaction. 

The supply] The Greek word indicates a ' bounteous supply ', or, an 
'additional supply'. It is only used again in Eph. iv. 16, and is a 
stronger form of a term which was employed to express ' the defraying of 
the expenses of solemn public choruses '. The Apostle had already re- 
ceived a copious supply of the Spirit's grace and power. Here he expects, 
in answer to their prayer, an ' additional supply ', a new and bountiful 
outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, that Paraclete who 
comes from Jesus Christ and reveals Him in the believer's heart. 

Supply of the Spirit, etc.] The genitive may be either subjective or 
objective. If the former, we shall have the sense 'the bounteous supply 
which the Spirit gives ', and, adopting this, Conybeare and Howson trans- 
late 'the supply of all my needs by the Spirit of Jesus Christ '. 

If, on the other hand, we adopt the alternative view, we shall have the 
sense ' the bounteous supply which is the Spirit ', and this implies a fur- 
ther and fuller reception of the Holy Paraclete into the soul. Both 
meanings well fit the context. A fuller supply of the Spirit will neces- 
sarily bring a fuller supplying of all our needs. Let every Christian in 
India seek this * additional supply ' . So shall power and blessing be ours 
(Acts i. 8 ; iv. 31-33). 

20. According to my earnest expectation] That is ' such a supply of 
the Spirit will be in accordance with my earnest expectation '. 

The word ' earnest expectation ' is only used again in Eom. viii. 19, and 
means ' eagerly waiting with outstretched head ', like one craning for- 
ward to watch a race ; with the idea also of complete absorption of inter- 
est in the object contemplated. It would be difficult to find another 
word so fully expressing the entire concentration of eager desire. The 
two passages in which it is used suggest that the Christian's whole soul 
should be set on a two-fold object, viz., the glory of Christ in our life now 
(Phil. i. 20), and the Coming of Christ, with all its attendant blessings, 
hereafter (Rom. viii. 19) 


21 my body, whether by hfe, or by death. For to me to live is 

That in nothing shall I be put to shame] Notice the occurrences of 
the word ' nothing ', in this Epistle, 
(a) In nothing put to shame, i. 20. 
(6) In nothing affrighted, i. 28. 

(c) Doing nothing through faction or vain glory, ii. 3. 

(d) In nothing be anxious, iv. 6. 

Moule points out that the word * put to shame ' practically means, in 
this verse, ' disappointed ' , with the shame of a miscalculation. 

With all boldness] The root idea of this word, a favourite'one with St. 
Paul, is boldness of speech. This is its classical meaning, and it is clearly 
present in the New Testament also (see Acts iv. 13, 29, 31 ; Eph. vi. 19 ; 
etc.). St. Paul's 'additional supply' of the Spirit would lead to addi- 
tional boldness in testimony. The word is contrasted here with ' shame '. 

Christ shall be magnified] We might have expected the first person, 
' with all boldness I may work '. But, no, the Apostle hides himself to 
show his Lord, a practical illustration of his own adage, ' not I, but 
Christ ' (Gal. ii. 20). Cf. John iii. 30. The order of the words in the 
original emphasizes this thought. 

In my body] The believer's body is to be j'ielded up as the Spirit's 
instrument (Rom. vi. 13 ; xii. 1 ; 1 Cor. vi. 20 ; 2 Cor. iv. 10). A marvel- 
lous thought, that He, the High and Holy, can be magnified by our 
poor bodies. How different is this teaching from that of the Hindu 
philosopher who regards embodiment as evil. 

Whether by life or by death] Here the terrible suspense of that crisis 
in his history peeps out, but he faces it gladly and fearlessly. 

21. For, to me] The 'me' is very emphatic in the Greek. St. Paul 
would say ' Whatever it may be to others, to me at least to live is 
Christ, etc' It is not egotism, but emphatic personal conviction and 

To live is Christ ] Or, to put it even more tersely, ' life is Christ '. The 
whole of life, with its experiences and interests, is summed up for 
the believer in that word which recurs so constantly in this Epistle, 
'Christ'. Cf. Gal. ii. 20; Col. iii. 4. Apart from Him, it is not life to 
live. To hold fellowship with Him, to serve Him, to have Him as the 
supreme Interest in everything, this is life indeed. The tense of the 
verb here marks the continual process of living. 

This fact differentiates Christianity from all other religions. No other 
religionist can truly state that life for him consists in union with a 
living personal Lord. 


8 Or, But if to 
lice ill the Jlesh 

[he my lot), this christ, and to die is gain. » But if to live in the 22 

is the fruit of my ^ 

icork : and tchat flesh, — if this is the fruit of my work, then 
9 what I shall choose ^^ I wot not. But I am in 

a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to 23 

I shall chooxe I 
icot not, 
9 Or, what shall 
I choose ? 

lOOt,Ido not 
make knoxon. 

To die is gain] Or, more briefly, 'death is gain'. The tense (Aorist 
infinitive) is in striking contrast to that of the previous verb 'to live'. 
It denotes the crisis of dying, or perhaps rather the result of dying, the 
state after death (see v. 23). To the true Christian death's sting is gone, 
and it is only the gate to the immediate presence of the King. The noun 
* gain ' is only used three times in the New Testament, though the 
cognate verb occurs fifteen times, e.g., in iii. 8. 

We have, 

{a) The shameful gain of avarice. Tit. i. 11. 

(6) The useless gains of mere religiousness. Phil. iii. 7. 

(c) The glorious gain of eternal bliss. Phil. i. 21. 

22. But if to live in the flesli, if this, etc.] The construction of this 
verse is broken and reflects the disturbed state of the Apostle's feelings. 
It is a difficult one to translate and various renderings have been sug- 
gested. Besides the one adopted in the text, the following have been 
strongly advocated. 

(«) ' But what if my living in the flesh ivill hear fruit throiigh my 

labours '} In fact, what to choose I wot not.' 
This, treating the first clause as a question, is Bishop Lightfoot's 
solution, and gives excellent sense. 
(b) ' But if to live in the flesh (be my lot), this is the fruit of my icorJcs ; 
and what I shall choose I wot not.'' — This is the reading of 
E. V. margin, and also gives a clear meaning, though it 
requires the mental ellipsis to be supplied. It is tantamount 
to saying, ' If it be God's will for me still to continue in the 
flesh, my prolonged life will bring fresh opportunities for 
serving Christ and bearing fruit for Him. This were good 
indeed. And yet to depart and be with Him were good also. 
So what to choose I do not see clearly {rypoypl^co — recognize, 
as though looking for a familiar face).' 
Either (a) or (6) may be adopted. The sense is practically the same in 
the two, and seems clearer than that of the R. V. text. True life in 
Christ finds its natural expression in fruitful labours. 

23. But I am in a strait betwixt the two] Better, ' Nay, I am hemmed 


24 depart and be with Christ ; for it is very far better : yet to 

25 abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. And having 

in (restricted) from the two (sides)'. From either side he was pressed 
and confined like a man between two walls (cf. Num. xxii. 26). The two 
horns of the dilemma held him fast. He had to choose between two 
immense blessings, living the fruit-life for Christ here, and enjoying 
the bliss-life with Christ there. This word ' hemmed in ' is used in 
the New Testament of — 

(a) Those ' held ' by diseases and torments. Matt. iv. 24 ; Luke iv. 
38 ; Acts xxviii. 8. 

(6) The Gadarenes ' pressed ' by great fear. Luke viii. 37. 

(c) Christ ' straitened ' till His baptism of blood should be accom- 

plished. Luke xii. 50. 

(d) Paul ' constrained ' by the Word to a passionate desire for 

souls. Acts xviii. 5. 
{e) One ' hard pressed ' by conflicting wishes. Phil. i. 23. 

Having the desire] All his personal inclination lay in the direction 
of departing. This was his one desire. But a sense of duty pulled 
him in the opposite direction. The word rendered ' desire ' denotes a 
very strong longing. 

To depart] Literally 'break up'. The word is used of the 'break- 
ing up ' of an encampment, the ' striking ' of a tent, or the ' unmoor- 
ing' of a vessel. St. Paul earnestly desired to weigh anchor, to remove 
his tent, and to ' go home ' to be with Christ. (Cf. 2 Cor. v. 1-8.) The 
word only occurs again in Luke xii. 36, of the Lord returning (i.e., 
leaving the far country and ' starting out ') from the wedding. The 
corresponding noun is found once only, in 2 Tim. iv. (i, where also 
departure from the body is intended. 

And be with Christ] The believer passes, when he dies, straight to 
tlie presence of -his Lord (See 2 Cor. v. 6-8). Whatever the interme- 
diate state may mean for him, at least it means this. Even now 
he is ' with Christ ', in a spiritual sense, by faith. Then he will be 
' with Christ', in a still closer sense, by sight, How different is this 
joyous assurance of certain bliss, should death come, from the Hindu's 
dreary and uncertain looking forward to an almost endless succession 
of penal births and re-embodiments. It condemns also the Vedantic 
doctrine of absorption into a supreme impersonal spirit. 

For it is very far better] Literally, 'for it is much rather better'. 
Word is piled on word in a triple comparative. The comparison 
gathers force if we remember that this passing to the Presence of 


this GOir&dence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with 
you all, for your progress and joy ^^ in the faith ; 
that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus 26 

Christ is represented as ' far, far better ' than even a happy life of 
holy fruitfulness on earth. 

24. To abide in the flesh] Another reading is ' To abide by the 
flesh', i.e., to hold fast to this present life, with all its conditions of 
ti'ial and discipline. 

More needful] Or, 'more necessary'. Notice the comparative degree 
and contrast it with the one in v. 23. 

It would be ' very far better ' for him to go. 

It was ' more necessary ' for them that he should stay. 

The balance of personal advantage is on the one side ; that of obliga- 
tion is on the other ; and the latter must weigh down the scale. 

For your sake] This Missionary is influenced by no personal con- 
siderations. Other interests are paramount with him. 
(a) ' For the Gospel's sake '. 1 Cor. ix. 23. 
(6) * For your sake' (here). 

25. Having this confidence] The same word as in v. 6. St. Paul's 
* confidence ' in this Epistle is remarkable. See i. 6. 25 ; ii. 24 ; iii. 3, 4. 

I know] The expression of a strong personal conviction. It is note- 
worthy that the very same word is used in Acts xx. 25, in the state- 
ment of a contrary assurance. The expectation here expressed was 
afterwards fulfilled, as we gather from 1 Tim. i. 3. What then of the 
conviction of Acts xx. 25 ? Lightfoot and others are of opinion that it 
was * overruled by events '. It may be, however, that it was verified in 
some way unknown to us, though the evidence seems conclusive for 
a later visit of the Apostle to Ephesus. But, at least, the prediction 
of the present verse was fulfilled. 

1 shall abide, yea, and abide with you all] While the similar verb 
in V. 24 may be rendered by ' stay on ' (stay on in the flesh), the two 
words here used may be represented by 'stay, yea, and stay alongside 
you all', i.e., 'stay, or abide in life, and stay side by side with you'. 
The latter of the two verbs here employed means ' to abide with 
certain persons, or in certain relations'. Here it signifies to continue 
by their side as teacher, helper, comrade. 

For your progress and joy in the faith] The word ' progress ' is the 
same as the one in v. 12. 'Faith' is to be connected with both pro- 
gress and joy, and may possibly denote, as interpreted in the text, 


in me through my presence with you again. 

citizens worthil I/. 

27 Only i^ let your manner of life be worthy of ^^ ^''' ^'^'''' "* 

the gospel of Christ : that, whether I come and 

the creed of Christianity. On the other hand, it may stand for the 
personal trust of believers, and then the phrase will mean ' Your ad- 
vance in the life of trust, and your joy which springs from so trusting *. 
Cf. 2 Thes. i. 3 ; Rom. xv. 13 ; 1 Pet. i. 8. 

Notice, in this verse, the joy of the Christian emphasized again 
(Introd. YI). 

26. That your glorying] This word 'glorying', occurs in Rom. iv. 
2 ; 1 Cor. v. 6 ; ix. 15, 16 ; 2 Cor. i. 14 ; v. 12 ; ix. 3 ; Gal. vi. 4 ; ch. ii. 
16 ; Heb. iii. 6. A cognate noun and the corresponding verb are found 
frequently in Rom., Cor., Gal., but only once in Ephes. This fact 
appears to shew that this Epistle is linked with those of the Third 
Apostolic Journey, and so gives a little clue as to its date (Introd. III). 

The sense here is ' in order that you may have cause for exult- 
ation in me, when you see the Lord's grace displayed in me and 
through me.' 

May abound] Same word as in v. 9, a favourite one with St. Paul, 
■who uses it no less than twenty-six times in his Epistles. In this Epistle 
alone it occurs five times, i. 9, 26 ; iv. 12 (twice), 18. 

In Christ Jesus] As the sphere of their exultation. St. Paul con- 
tinually emphasizes the fact that all the Christian's experiences are 
to be ' in the Lord ', as united with Him by faith. (Note on ii. 19). 

In me] As the object immediately exciting their gratitude and praise. 
The Apostle would be the occasion of their exultation when Christ 
graciously restored him to his anxious friends. 

Through my presence with you again] That is, ' by my presence 
again among you '. The word ' presence ', or ' coming to be present ', is 
generally used in the New Testament of the Second Advent of our 
Lord. The Apostle employs it once again in this Epistle, in ii. 12, 
and there also of his own presence. 

27-30. Exhortation to consistency and courage 

27. Only] That is, 'whether you see me again or not.' For this 
use of 'only', suggesting an ellipsis, cf. Gal. ii. 10; v. 13; vi. 12; 
2 Thes. ii. 7 ; and, possibly, 1 Cor. vii. 39. 

Let your manner of life, etc.] Literally, ' Live your citizen-life in 
a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ '. St. Paul, writing from the 


see you or be absent, I may hear of your state, that 

metropolis of the Empire to Christians living in a Roman colony, appro- 
priately uses the figure of citizenship in addressing them (See also 
iii. 20). When at Philippi, he had himself claimed the privilege of a. 
Roman citizen (Acts xvi. 37-39). The Christian, too, has a Metroiwlitan 
City, and rights, duties, and privileges as a citizen of that City (GaL 
iv. 26). The verb here employed means * to perform duties as a citizen '. 
It only occurs again in Acts xxiii. 1, where St. Paul uses the word 
in a more general sense of performing his duties faithfully as a mem- 
ber of the Jewish Theocracy. A corresponding noun is found in Acts- 
xxii. 28 ; Eph. ii. 12 ; while the word ' citizen ' occurs in Luke xv. 15 ; 
xix. 14 ; Acts xxi. 39 ; and the word ' fellow-citizen ' in Eph. ii. 19. To- 
* play the citizen well for Christ ', they must lead consistent lives, 
bravely display His banner, and do and suffer for His cause. Conybeare 
and Howson render ' Only live worthy of the Glad-tidings of Christ.' 

It is interesting to note that Polycarp, in writing later to this very 
Church, uses the same metaphor, ' if we perform our duties under Him 
as simple citizens. He will promote us to a share of His sovereignty.' 

Worthy of the Gospel] i.e., befitting the Glad-tidings which assure- 
you of your heavenly citizenship. This adverb 'worthily' is found 
six times in the New Testament. 

(a) Receiving fellow-Christians ' worthily of the Saints'. Rom. xvi. 2. 

(6) Walking in daily life ' worthily ' of the Calling. Eph. iv. 1, 

(c) Living as heavenly citizens 'worthily ' of the Gospel (here). 

(d) Conducting ourselves in all things ' worthily ' of the Lord. 

Col. i. 10. 

(e) Behaving and shewing hospitality ' worthily ' of God. 1 Thes. 

ii. 12 ; 3 John 6. 

Your state] Literally, ' the things concerning you ', i.e., your cir- 
cumstances, etc. The exact phrase is found again in ii. 19, 20, and in 
Eph. vi. 22. 

That ye stand fast] This verb ' stand fast ' is used eight times in the 
New Testament. In Mark xi. 25, it apparently indicates the simple act 
of ' standing ', but in the other seven passages it means ' to stand firm, 
with a good foot-hold ', * to hold one's ground '. 

'Stand fast and firmly' (a) (used absolutely), Rom. xiv. 4; 2 Thes. 
ii. 15 ; (b) in the faith. 1 Cor. xvi. 13 ; (c) in the liberty. Gal. v. 1 ; 
(d) in one spirit. Phil. i. 27 ; (e) in the Lord. Phil. iv. 1 ; 1 Thes. iii. 8. 

The metaphor may have been taken from the Roman amphitheatre 
where men had to fight for dear life. A firm stand against everything 


ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving ^^ for the faith 
.rtoio^ ^^ the gospel; and in nothing affrighted by the 

.Zo 13 Or. with. . "i-i-pi 

adversaries : which is for them an evident token 

un-Christian is absolutely essential in order to the progress of the Gospel 
in India. Let us raise the standard of * No Compromise.' 

In one spirit] Many interpret this of the human spirit. So Light- 
foot, ' acting by one inspiration '. But the identical phrase, in the 
original, is found again in 1 Cor. xii. 13 ; Eph. ii. IS, with an undoubted 
reference to the Holy Spirit of God. As the Divine Spirit, when received 
by faith, resides in and possesses the human spirit of the believer, and 
acts through that upon his life, the two interpretations are easily 
reconcilable. But the sense here seems clearly to be that the Philippian 
Christians, for unity and power, should stand firm, shoulder to shoulder, 
' in the one Spirit \ Who is the true Uniter and Strengthener. 

With one soul] The phrase is found again in Acts iv. 32, ' one soul ' 
in the Church. Here it is ' one soul ' in the fight. 

The word 'soul' naturally follows the word 'Spirit' as subordinate 
to and energized by it. The soul is the seat of the will, affections, 
passions, etc. The Holy Spirit, energizing and uniting their human 
spirits, would thus influence their will, love, desires, so as to move them 
in one and the same direction. Moule well paraphrases, ' with one 
life and love, the resultant of the one Spirit's work in you all.' 

Striving for] The word is only found again in the New Testament in 
iv. 3. The metaphor is to be referred to the gladiatorial games of the 
Roman amphitheatre. Shoulder to shoulder, let them hold the ground 
against all odds and against e^ery form of attack. 

For the faith] Lightfoot translates ' in concert with the faith ' (Cf. 
R. V. margin), as though the faith were personified as a comrade in the 
fight. But the context favours the emphasis on the fellowship of 
believers with one another as fellov/soldiers contending for the faith. 

The faith of the Gospel] jNIeaning ' the faith which has to do with the 
Gospel '. While we are at liberty to understand this, if we will, as 'the 
creed of the Gospel ', it seems even better to interpret it as meaning ' the 
faith which embraces the Gospel '. The verse then bids us to strive 
•earnestly to bring men to believe the Gospel. 

28. In nothing] See v. 20. 

Affrighted] Lightfoot renders 'not blenching', 'not startled.' The 
metaphor is derived from the starting or scare of animals, especially from 
the shying of horses. It is found nowhere else in the Bible. We gather 
from Acts xvi that Philippi was a stormy place for God's flock to be 


of perdition, but of your salvation, and that from God ; because 29 
to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to 

in, and that adversaries were plentiful there. Tkese Christians were not 
to be scared out of their attitude of courageous calm by any sudden 
assault or danger (Cf . Luke xxi. 9-19, where the same word for adversaries 
is used in v. 15). This word 'adversary' (lit. one set against) is used 
elsewhere of 

(a) The great opponent, the devil. 1 Tim. v. 14. 

(b) The Anti-Christ. 2 Thes. ii. 4. 

(c) The opponents of Christ and His Gospel. Luke xiii. 17 ; Luke 

xxi. 15 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 9. 
Which is] The Greek ;means 'seeing.itis of such a nature as to be '. 
The reference is naturally to the Philippians' courage, which spoke 
loudly as a witness to the truth ; but some interpret it of the adver- 
saries ' enmity as being a sign of their coming perdition. 

An evident token] The word denotes either 'a pointing out', or 'a 
laying information against some one ' (Attic law term), or ' a demonstra- 
tion'. The last of these is the sense here. The valour of the Christians 
was an omen demonstrating clearly what the final issue would be. 
Their bold front shewed that they knew themselves to be on the win- 
ning side. Let our calm assurance and brave bearing as Christ's 
witnesses in this land prove to non-Christians that we have no doubt 
■about the final victory of the Gospel and that ' He must reign '. 
The word is used of 

(a) A demonstrating token of righteousness. Rom. iii. 25, 26. 

(6) „ ,, love. 2 Cor. viii. 24. 

(c) ,, ,, perdition and salvation, (here). 

Perdition] That is, 'everlasting loss and ruin,' Just as the firm 
front of believers is a sure evidence that they are on the right side, so is 
it also a token that defeat and ruin await their foes. 

Salvation] That is, ' final and complete salvation ' (See v. 19). As 
Christians rally round Christ's banner, and unite in soul and spirit for 
conflict and victory, they have a new evidence and assurance, and 
present it to the world, that glory is at hand. ' Victory, victory through 
our Lord Jesus Christ.' 

And that from God] Lightfoot refers the 'that' to the 'evident 
token' as being a direct indication from God. He says, 'the Chris- 
tian gladiator does not anxiously await the signal of life and death 
from the fickle crowd. The great Umpire Himself has given him a 
sure token of deliverance.' 


30 believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf: having the 
same conflict v^hich ye sav7 in me, and now hear to be in me. 

We may, however, refer the word ' that ' to the whole previous idea of 
'opposition met in a way to encourage faith '. The 'that' would then 
denote 'this condition of conflict and courage', which is ' from God\ 
and is no mere blind concurrence of circumstances but an integral part 
of Kis purpose for His people. 

29. It hath been granted] The force of the word is * granted as a 
boon '. Our being allowed to suffer on behalf of Christ is a gracious 
boon, as much a matter of grace (the verb here comes from the root 
grace), — see v. 7 — as the forgiveness of th« debt of sin (Luke vii. 42, 43 ; 
Eph. iv. 32 ; Col. ii. 13) ; or the gift of full salvation (Rom. viii. 32) ; or the 
great boon of the Holy Spirit of God (1 Cor. ii. 12) ; in all which verses, 
among other passages, this same verb is used. 

In the behalf of Christ] The construction of the Greek here is 
curious. It would seem that St. Paul had jat first intended to write 
simply ' It was graciously granted you on behalf of Christ to suffer', and 
had then paused to insert a further thought ' not only to believe in 
Him ', before adding the final words. This has led to a repetition in 
the verse of the object of the sufferings, so that we get the two-fold 
phrase ' in the behalf of Christ, — in His behalf '. 

The expression ' on behalf of Christ ' is used in 

(a) 2 Cor. v. 20. Ambassadors and pleaders on His behalf. 

(&) 2 Cor. xii. 10. Believers and sufferers on His behalf. Phil. i. 29. 

To believe on Him] The verb is in the present tense, and so indicates 
the constant and persistent exercise of faith. The Christian is to go 
on believing, moment by moment, deriving all he needs by faith from 
a full Christ (1 Cor. i. 30; John i. 16). The expression in the original 
* to keep believing into Him' marks the going out of faith towards 
Christ in active trust and appropriation. ' The just shall live by faith ', 
from first to last. 

Not only to believe, but also to suffer] This phrase ' not only, but 
also ' occurs again and again in the New Testament. The student is 
advised to collate and consider the various passages in which it is used ; 
e.g., it is employed in connexion with 

{a) True conversion. Acts xxvi. 29 ; 1 Thes. i. 5. 

(b) Sanctification. Job. xiii. 9 ; Rom. v. 3 , 2 Cor. viii. 21 ; 

2 Tim. ii. 20 ; 1 Pet. ii: 18. 

(c) Life and service. Matt. xxi. 21 ; Acts xxi. 13; 2 Cor. viii. 10 j 

ix. 12 ; Phil. i. 29 ; I Thes. ii. 8. 


2. If there is therefore any comfort in Christ, if any i 

{d) Evangelization. Job. xi. 52 ; xvii. 20 ; Rom. iv. 12, 16, 23, 24 ; 

ix. 24 ; 1 Thes. i. 8 ; John ii. 2. 
(e) The Second Advent. Rom. viii. 23 : 2. Tim. iv. 8 ; Heb. xii. 26. 
We must remember in India that we are called 'not only' to believe 
in Christ and to enjoy spiritual privileges, 'but also' to serve Him, to 
suffer for Him, to make His Gospel known, and to wait for His appear- 
ing. Let us teach non-Cbristians, too, that the Gospel is ' not only ' 
a creed, one of man}^ religions, ' but also', and essentially, a power, the 
only power for life and service. 

To suffer in His belialf] It is interesting and instructive to notice, 
in the New Testament, the causes for which it is right for Christians to 
suffer. (Cf. note on iii. 10). 

Acts ix. 16. For His name's sake. 

Phil. i. 29. In the behalf of Christ. 

2 Thes. i. 5. For the kingdom of God. 

2 Tim. i. 11, 12. For the Gospel and its ministry. 

1 Pet. ii. 19, 20 ; iii. 17. For well-doing. 

1 Pet. iii. 14. For righteousness' sake. 

1 Pet. iv. 15, 16. As a Christian. 

1 Pet. iv. 19. According to the will of God. 

30. Having] This may be taken (and perhaps the Greek construc- 
tion requires us so to take it) with ' Stand fast— striving — and in 
nothing affrighted', in which case the intervening words are a parenthe- 
sis. Or it may be taken with ' it was granted you in the behalf of Christ, 
etc.', the words immediately preceding. This makes the grammar a 
little more irregular, but is not altogether foreign to St. Paul's style. 
The sense would then be ' It was granted you to believe and to suffer 
for Christ, thus experiencing the same trials as myself.' 

Conflict] This word (dyoov) ' contest ', ' struggle ', speaks alike of 
gladiatorial and athletic contests. It suits both the battle-field and the 
gymnasium. It is found again in Col. ii. 1 ; 1 Thes. ii. 2 ; 1 Tim. vi. 12 ; 
2 Tim. iv. 7; Heb. xii. 1. A study of these passages will shew that 
the word is used as well of striving in prayer as of fighting for the 
Gospel in evangelistic work and of running the race of Christian life 
and service. 

It is remarkable that Christ's ' struggle ' alone is called ' agony ' 
(dycovLd), Luke xxii. 44. It thus stands *per se ', as the great conflict. 

Which ye saw in me] That is, during the Apostle's first campaign 
in Philippi (Acts xvi). Cf. 1 Thes. ii. 2 (a reference to the same event) in 


consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any 
2 tender mercies and compassions, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be of 

which it is remarkable that he uses the same word ' conflict '. The 
gaoler, especially, would recall the prison sufferings. 

And now hear to be in me] In the captivity and trials of the Roman 

1-4. Exhortation to unselfishness and unity 

These verses contain an earnest appeal to the Philippians, founded on 
their deepest religious convictions, to maintain peace and unity among 
themselves. If spiritual experiences do not result in brotherly love, 
there is something altogether wrong, for loyalty to Christ demands obe- 
dience to His ' new commandment ' (John. xiii. 34, 35). 

1. Comfort in Christ] This is capable of a double interpretation, 
according to our understanding of the word translated ' comfort '. 

(a) Accepting the rendering * comfort ' of the text, and understand- 
ing it to mean ' the comfort of encouragement ', we see the 
sense to be ' If there be such a thing as encouragement in 
Christ, strong comfort derived from our common union with 
Him, then, as partakers of that comfort, forget your differ- 
ences, and fulfil my joy '. 
(6) If, however, we render the word ' exhortation ' (it is so translated 
in Acts iv. 36 ; xiii. 15 ; Rom. xii. 8 ; 2 Cor. viii. 17 ; 1 Thes. 
ii. 3 ; 1 Tim. iv. 13 ; Heb. xii. 5 ; xiii. 22), or ' intreaty ' (as in 
2 Cor. viii. 4), we arrive at the meaning ' If there be any 
power of appeal or exhortation (arising from your co-partner- 
ship in life and blessing) in Christ, if the grace which you 
enjoy in Him appeals to you with any force at all, then cease 
from divisions and fulfil my joy'. 
In the one case, the argument rests on the strong comfort which is our's 
in Christ ; in the other, it rests on the appeal which the fact of our 
union with Christ makes to us. Both thoughts are true. 

Conybeare andHowson translate * If you can be entreated in Christ'. 

Consolation of love] This expression, also, carries a two-fold meaning. 
(a) If we hold fast to the rendering ' consolation ', then the sense is 
• If there be such a thing as love's consolation, the tender com- 
fort which love can give to one beloved, then give it to one 
another, and to me '. 


the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord^ 

(b) If, however, we accept the alternative translation ' incentive, per- 

suasion', the meaning will be 'If there be such a thing as 
love's incentive, if love exerts any power of persuasion upon 
you, then obey that constraining force and fulfil my joy'. 
In the one case, love's tender sympathy is in view ; in the other, its 
constraining power. 

Conybeare and Howson have 'If you can be persuaded by love.' 

Fellowship of the Spirit] Indicating, most probably, < participation in 
the Spirit ', in which case their co-partnership in His grace and gifts 
would be a strong incentive to unity. But it may denote ' fellowship or 
communion with the Spirit ', and then His love would constrain them to 
peace and concord. A close parallel is 2 Cor. xiii. 14. 

The word ' fellowship ' occurs again in this Epistle in i. 5 ; iii. 10 ; 
where both partnership and participation are in view. 

Tender mercies and compassions] For the former of these words, 
see note on i. 8. It stands for the 'affectionate yearnings of the" heart '. 
The other word, 'compassions,' is found again in Rom. xii. 1 ; 2 Cor. 
i. 3 ; Col. iii. 12 ; Heb. x. 28. It is derived ultimately from a Greek word 
meaning 'alas!', and denotes the tender pity which cries 'alas!' over 
the sorrows of others. In the New Testament, it is usually found in the 
plural, and may be rendered ' tender feelings of compassion '. 

Looking back over the verse, we see that the Apostle bases his plea for 
unity on four great arguments. 

{a) A common participation in the comfort which Christ gives ; or a 
loyal response to the claims laid upon us by our union with 
(&) An all-round yielding to the tender promptings and constraining 
power of Christian love. 

(c) A co-partnership in the grace and gifts of the Spirit, and in His 

loving influences. 

(d) A ready obedience to the holy impulses of Christian sympathy 

and compassion. 
He is really only asking that the grand doctrines of the Gospel may 
be translated into practice ; and we have here, therefore, another call to 
see to it that we carry out in daily life the truths which we profess to 
hold. Let India behold the verities of the Gospel exemplified in the con- 
sistent lives of her own Christian sons and daughters. 

2. Fulfil ye my joy] That is, ' Make my joy full '. He has joy in 
them already (i. 4) ; he would have full, complete joy, in seeing them 


3 ^ of one mind ; doing nothing through faction or eient auToritles 
through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each i^^ad of the same 

M i nd. 

united. Let them, by forgetting their differences, fill his joy-cup to the 
very brim. He presents himself before them, so to speak, as a special 
object towards whom they are entreated to extend that ' comfort in 
Christ', that 'consolation of love', that 'fellowship of the Spirit', 
those ' tender mercies and compassions ' which were appealed to in v. 1. 

Does not a greater than Paul entreat His people ' fulfil ye My joy, by 
loving one another ? ' (John xv. 11, 12). 

That ye be] For this use of ' that ' as probably denoting the purport 
rather than the purpose of what is contemplated, see i. 9. We may trans- 
late here ' so as to be ', or ' by being '. 

Of the same mind] Literally, ' so as to mind the same thing '. 
When Christian hearts and wills and thoughts (see Introduction VI) are 
all directed one way aud concentrated on one and the same object, unity 
will be a reality. 

The same expression occurs again in iv. 2. 

The construction of the Greek suggests that the clauses which follow 
are an expansion in detail of this main thought. If the general attitude 
of their mind be one of unity of aim and interests, the rest, ' having the 
same love ', etc., will follow. 

Having the same love] Like men who have drunk at one and the 
same great Fountain-head. They are to be filled with the same grand 
' love of God ' (Rom. v. 5), and then mutual love for one another is sure 
to follow. There is a reference back, too, to the ' consolation of love ' 
of V. 1. 

Here we have the unif3'ing force of common and mutual love. 

Being of one accord] More literally, ' of one soul ', involving a perfect 
harmony of feelings and afiections, like soldiers knit together by the 
same esprit de corps. 

Here we have the unifying force of a common desire and will. 

Of one mind] Literally, ' minding the one thing '. Cf. iii. 13, 
This indicates unity of thought and plan, directed to one end in view. 
Here we have the unifying force of a common view and aim. 

Knit together in one common attitude of mind, actuated by one and 
the same constraining love, influenced by one and the same burning 
desire and zeal, intent on one and the same great end and aim, this were 
unity indeed ! 

3. Nothing through faction or vainglory] There is no verb in the 
original, and so the R. V. supplies ' doing '. Notice the total prohibition 


couating other batter than himself ; not looking each of you to 4 

implied in the word 'nothing'; ths rule knows no exception. For 
' nothing ', see i. 20. 

Faction] see i. 17, where the same word is used. It may possibly 
include salf-seeking here as will as party-spirit, though the latter is the 
main idea. 

Vainglory] This noun occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but 
the corresponding adjective is found once, in Gal. v. 26. It is expressive 
of personal vanity and conceit. 

It will be found that all divisions among Christians have their ultimate 
cause in one or other of these two evils : party-spirit and personal vanity. 
Let us beware, in our Indian congregations, of faction and party-spirit, 
whether arising from caste prejudices or family rivalries. The history of 
this country presents us with an object lesson of the evils which arise 
from racial and family feuds, so that to-day India is rather a conglomera- 
tion of peoples than a homogeneous nation. In the Christian Church, 
at least, let us follow a more excellent way. 

Let us watch, too, against that spirit of self-seeking which insists on 
the chief seats in churches or the chief voice in Councils or the chief 
authority in congregations. Clergy and laity alike need to be on their 
guard against pride. The fact that, in many places, an unkind or 
disrespectful word spoken by others leads to divisions and almost inter- 
minable feuds in Christian congregations shews that this warning against 
personal pride needs strongly emphasizing. 

In lowliness of mind] The definite article is affixed in the Greek and 
may be expressed by ' in your lowliness of mind '. 

The word ' lowliness-of-mind ' seems not to occur before New Testa- 
ment times. The idea expressed by it was wholly repugnant to non- 
Christian Greeks, and its kindred words in their classics are used in a 
disparaging sense to denote what is mean, abject, and grovelling. It 
remained for Christ to raise humility to its proper place as one of the 
chiefest virtues. It was the Gospel which taught mankind that the way 
to true nobility of character is complete self-abnegation. We must learn 
of Christ the ' meek and lowly in heart ', if we would have true humility. 
This 'lowliness of mind' is the: high road to all grace and blessing 
(Jas. iv. 6 ; 1 Pet. v. 5) ; the lack of it is the cause of all failure in the 
Christian lUe. 

Each counting other better than himself] Literally, ' each esteem- 
ing others as superiors to himself. The word 'superiors' is used of 
rulers placed over us, in Rom. xiii. 1 ; 1 Pet. ii. 13. 



his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. 
5 Have tliis mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, 

Not as in the unreal conventionalities of life by which a man calls 
himself ' your slave ' or ' this least one ' ; nor yet as ignoring the ex- 
cellencies which God jhas conferred on us; but, as regards claim to* 
consideration, let each desire that his brother's claim come first. 

Vie have inculcated here one of the most important principles of 
Christianity, and one which is commonly disregarded. Cf . Rom. xii. 10. 
If missionaries, Indian clergy, catechists and others acted invariably 
on this precept towards those committed to their charge, and the laity 
observed it in their bearing towards one another and towards their 
spiritual teachers, our Indian Church would soon be a power in the 
land. The principle enunciated in this verse strikes at the very root 
of both racial and caste prejudices; 

4. Not looking each of you to his own things] ' Each ' is in the plural 
here, and probably refers to the cliques or parties which existed in the 
Philippian Church. * Not looking, each party of you, to their own things '. 

Looking] that is ' regarding as your aim ', the verb being derived from 
a word denoting ' aim ', ' mark '. The Philippian cliques were aiming at 
their own interests and advancement, to the detriment of others. 

Are there not congregations in India to-day where spiritual life is low 
(not to say nil) because men of certain parties (some of which have 
a caste basis at the bottom) only consult their own interests and the 
aggrandizement of their clique, and almost resent the intrusion of 
converts from other classes ? 

The same word of exhortation applies to Missions and Missionary 
Societies. How much harm is done in the Mission Field by * aiming, 
at our own interests ', to the detriment of others. 

But each of you also to the things of others] Here, again, ' each ^ 
is in the plural. ' Let each Church, Mission, Society, race, class of 
you (as well as each individual) regard as your aim the interests of 
others.' Unselfishness in the rule of Christ. 

5-11. Example of Christ's humility 

This is a passage which we shall do well to read on our knees whenever 
tempted to pride or self-assertiveness. All arguments, however specious, 
used to justify caste-distinotions or to support worldly views of social 
selfishness are seen to be flimsy cobwebs in the clear light of this Supreme 
Example. The verses arc of untold importance, also, as teaching the- 
complete Divinity of Christ. 


2 Gr. beinq ori- 

ginatiy. ^ being in the form of God, counted it note 

3Gr.« thi 
he grasped. 

^Gv.a thing to 3^ p^ize to bo on an equcality with God, but 7 

5. Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus] The con- 
struction is irregular, though the meaning is clear. 

The Greek reads literally ' Mind (or think) this in you which (was) 
also in Christ Jesus'. He has told them in v. 2 to 'mind the same 
thing', and, again, to continue 'minding the one thing', and here he 
defines that ' one thing ' as that spirit of complete self-abnegation 
' which was in Christ Jesus '. 

There is no verb ' was ' in the Greek and we have no right to limit 
the thought to the past. It both ' was ' and still ' is ' in Christ Jesus. 

In you] i.e., • in your inward being '. This is no mere exhortation to 
imitate a great Example. It points to the reproduction in the believer 
of the very mind and life of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, 
by the indwelling in our hearts of the Lord Himself (Eph. iii 17-19). 
If Christ is there; His ' mind ' will be there too. Christianity is not 
merely a system of ethics founded on the peerless example of a great and 
holy Teacher ; it is a religion of salvation, bringing sinful men into a 
state of reconciliation with God through the Sacrifice of Calvary and 
providing them with a power, the power of the Holy Ghost, derived 
from their vital union with Christ, whereby they may overcome sin and 
walk in the footsteps of their holy Lord. 

6. Being] The verb in the original implies that ' He already was ' in 
the form of God prior to the event here spoken of. So far, it is a hint of, 
though it does not by itself absolutely assert. His Eternity, and, so far, of 
His Divinity also. See R. V. margin. 

In the form of God] The word rendered ' form ' (/xopcpij) is to be care- 
fully contradistinguished from 'fashion' (o"%i5/za), v. 8. It 'implies 
not the external accidents, but the essential attributes ' (Lightfoot). Moule 
well defines it as ' reality in manifestation '. In other words it signifies 
' form ' as the true utterance and expressiou of the inner life and essence. 
Though the word does not directly assert, standing by itself, that Christ 
has the Divine nature and essence, yet it clearly implies it, for He could 
not have the ' form ' which is the veritable expression and manifestation 
of that Essence without having the inner Essence itself. The possession of 
the one involves participation in the other. 

Thus we learn from this verse that Christ had, in an existence prior to 
His Incarnation, all the essential attributes of God :— in short, that He 
was God. 


emptied himself, taking the form of a^ servant, aut.^'' 
g^ being made in the likeness of mea ; and being . '"^^^ hecoming 

Counted it not a prize] The word translated ' prize ' is found nowhere 
else in the New Testament, and only once iii the Greek classics. Two 
renderings have been advocated. 

(a) *A prize, a treasure' (literally. — 'A piece of plunder'). This is 

accepted in the text, and the idea suggested is that Christ 

did not treat His equality with God as a prize to be grasped 

tightly and held firmly at all costs, but, in an act of supreme 

self-abnegation, resigned the glories of heaven in order to save 

sinful men. Stress is thus laid on His willing surrender of His 


(fe) 'Robbery, usurpation.' This would give the meaning that our 

Lord could claim equality with God as His inherent and 

inalienable right, and so would lay stress on His majesty rather 

than on His humility. 

The former rendering is decidedly to be preferred, having regard 

to the context. The ' prize ' was so fully His own that He could deal 

with it as He pleased, for our sakes. ' He did not cling with avidity to 

the prerogatives of His Di\ine majesty' (Lightfoot). 

To be on an equality with God] The original shews clearly that the 
reference is to an equality of attributes, rather than to a comparison 
of Persons. There is no suggestion here of dividing the Godhead. ' The 
glorious Person in view is not another and independent God, of rival 
power and glory, but the Christ of God as truly and fully Divine as 
the Father' (Moule). 

We must remember that St. Paul, the writer, had been reared in 
the strictest school of Jewish Monotheism, and that, therefore, he 
would not lightly use language so undoubtedly expressive of our Lord's 
Divinity unless he believed Him to be ' very God of very God '. 

7. But emptied Himself] That is, of the glories of Deity, not of 
His Divine Nature (for that were impossible). Moule says < of the 
manifestation and exercise of Deity, as it was His on the throne ', 
We must beware of accepting any such expositions of this act of the Son 
of God as would represent Him as condescending to become fallible 
and merely human. The Atonement would be neither just nor 
efficacious unless He Who hung upon the Cross were verily and truly 
God, right up to that supreme moment of the Passion, and eternally 
beyond it. 

Bengel says, conscious of the paradox involved in the words, * He 
remained full (John i. 14), and yet He bore Himself henceforward as 


found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming 

though He were empty'. Surely it means that, while remaining 'God 
of God and Light of Light ', He divested Himself, in the Incarnation, 
of the prerogatives of His Divine majesty for the special Mission then 
before Him, and accepted, in order to the fulfilment of His purpose, the 
conditions of a human life lived on earth in entire dependence on the 
Holy Spirit. Great is this ' mystery of godliness ' (1 Tim. iii. 16). 

There is emphasis, in the Greek, on the word 'Himself', drawing 
attention to the fact that His action was of an entirely voluntary nature. 

Is it not just in this aspect that we are called to follow in His steps, by 
emptying ourselves of any special prerogatives which we may seem to pos- 
sess, whether of birth, wealth, or education, for the sake of others? Let 
all be surrendered to God, in His glad bondservice. Above all, w^e need 
emptying of self in all the various and subtle forms in which it appears. 

Taking the form of a servant] The sense of the original is best con- 
veyed by translating • emptied Himself hy taking the form of a servant '. 
The two actions coincide in time, as is shown by the tenses of the verbs. 
In fact. His great emptying of Himself consisted in His taking the form 
of a 'bondservant', and, as such, living and working in dependence on 
the Holy Spirit's power. 

The word ' form ' is the same as the one used in v. 6, and, as there, 
lays stress on the essential attributes, not on the mere external appear- 
ance. He became in reality a ' bond-Servant ', and did not merely play 
the role of a ' servant ', i.e., ' bondslave '. See i. 1. The bondservice in 
question is, pre-eminently, bondservice rendered to God (cf. Ps. xl. 6-8 ; 
Heb. X. 5-7). He shewed, as Man, what real bondservice to God means. 
It is true, of course, that He condescended to be the servant of men too 
(Matt. XX. 27, 28 ; Mark x. 44, 45 ; John xiii. 1-20), but the main truth 
intended here is, beyond doubt. His perfect service of the Father. 

A real God, with ' the form of God ' ! A real bondslave, with ' the 
form of a bondslave ' ! what a gigantic step from that to this ! 

Being made in the likeness of men] Literally, ' becoming (what He 
was not before) in the likeness of men '. This again synchronizes in time 
with the emptying and the taking the form of a bondslave, as the tense 
of the verb shews. The expression ' in the similitude of men ' suggests 
that, while He was like man in all that constitutes true humanity, He 
was yet more than man, or the phiase 'in the likeness of men' would 
be redundant. Cf. Heb. ii. 14-18. 'Men', r.ot'man', for He came as 
Representative and Champion of the whole human race. 

8. And being found in fashion as a man] 'Being fouKd ', i.e., as one 
who appeared to ^iew, inviting attention and ins];ection. The word 
emphasizes what He appeared to be to the eyes of men. 


9 obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Where- 
fore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name 

Fashion] {aYrjfia), a word denoting the external semblance only. It 
is found again, in the New Testament, only in 1 Cor. vii. 31. As con- 
trasted with the word ' form ', it represents the figure, shape, or fashion of 
a thing, usually with a distinct idea of its transiency. In this verse, it 
does not deny the reality of our Lord's Manhood, which is abundantly 
substantiated by the context, but lays stress on His outward appearance 
or guise. Like the word ' likeness ' in v. 7, it hints that, while He wore a 
human ' shape ', He was more than man. This ' fashion ', as Mpule says, 
was * the veil of Deity ' . 

He humbled Hmself] From Deity to humanity ! And now from humanity 
to infamy ! Tremendous steps ! The Greek verb, being in the Aorist tense, 
seems to refer to some special crisis of will (Gethsemane ?) ; or perhaps it 
sums up into one all the acts of self-humiliation of His life of perfect obedi- 
ence to the Father's will. Of these, Gethsemane and Calvary form the 

Becoming obedient (even) unto death] The Greek verb implies that 
* He humbled Himself hy or in becoming obedient, etc.'. The actions were 
simultaneous. Some take this as referring to His obedience rendered 'to 
the laws of human society, to His parents, and to the civil magistrates, 
carrying that obedience even to the point of submitting unto death '. 

But, surely, the real reference is to His obedience to the Father's will 
cf. (Luke xxii. 42-44 ; Heb. v. 7, 8). This was His main business in His 
life as a Bondservant, to obey that will which He had voluntarily accepted 
as His rule of life. ' Unto death ', meaning ' to the length of death ', ' to 
the extent of dying '. The phrase is found again in ii. 30. 

Yea ! the death of the cross] The most shameful as well as the most 
painful of deaths. It was a mode of dying accursed in Jewish eyes (Dent, 
xxi. 23), and unspeakably degrading from the Roman point of view, ' Far 
be the very name of a cross not only from the bodies of Roman citizens, 
but from their imagination, eyes, and ears ' (Cicero). As he w^'ote the 
words, St. Paul, a Roman citizen himself and, as such, removed from the 
possibility of such a degradation, must have felt, as we cannot, the fear- 
ful depth of his Lord's humiliation. The Lord of glory dying the ignomi- 
nious death of slaves and malefactors ! How can a Christian's pride live 
before such a spectacle ? 

Contrast with this matchless Self-abnegation the so-called incarna- 
tions of Hindu deities, e.g., the story told in the Ramiiyana. Is not 
the revelation of this passage as far superior to all such stories as the 
heaven is high above the earth ? 

9. Wherefore] ' Because of His self-humiliation, as a due reward and 
recognition of His full obedience and perfect service as the Bondsman '. 


which is above every name ; that in the name of Jesus every iq 
knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and 

It is true for all that the way to honour is humility (Luke xiv. 11 ; 
xviii. 14). To rise, stoop ; this is the s^jiritual law. 

God highly exalted Him] That is, in the Resurrection and Ascension. 
This is the only occurrence of the word * highly exalted ' in the New 
Testament ; this hyper-exaltation is for Christ and for Him alone. He 
stooped very low ; let Him be exalted very high ! The ' steps up ' must 
be as gigantic as the ' steps down ' ! 

Conybeare and Howson render * exalted Him above measure '. Bengel 
says ' Christ emptied Christ ; God exalted Christ'. 

Gave unto Him] The same word which occurred in i. 29, denoting 
a free and loving boon. This appears to be the only passage in the 
New Testament in which the word is used of a gift to Christ. Bengel 
remarks 'Thus the emptying was fully compensated', and he goes on 
to call attention to the plenitude which the gift implied, as expressed 
in Eph, i. 20-23. 

The name which Is above every name] ' The name ' stands for 
dignity, office, glory. In the Old Testament the name of God is used to 
denote His revealed character and majesty, and is an object of praise and 
adoration. If any definite name is in view here, therefore, it is not 
the personal name Jesus, as many commentators have supposed, but the 
supreme name by which God has revealed Himself in His majesty, 
THE LORD JEHOVAH. It is given to Christ now in a new way, as the 
victorious Redeemer. Of. Rev. xix. 16. He Who hung upon the cross is 
now seen invested with glory as the great ' I AIM '. 

But the main idea of the verse is His honour and dignity. His is 
the supreme name, the supreme majesty, the supreme dominion {see 
Eph. i. 21). 

10. In the name of Jesus] 'It is not "the name Jesus ," but "the 
name of (that is, belonging to) Jesus " ', (Lightfoot) 

The meaning of the word ' name ' must be the same as in the preced- 
ing verse, i.e., it denotes 'dignity, manifested-glory ', so that the thought 
presented here is that of ' the majesty of Jesus '. Passages like Ps. xliv. 
8 ; Ixiii. 4 ; cv. .3 ; 1 Kgs. viii. 44 (rendered ' unto the Lord ') ; xviii. 24 ; 
etc., in which this same phrase is employed in the LXX translation, shew 
clearly that it is adoration addressed to the Lord Jesus, and not worship 
paid through Him, which is here iniended. ' To the name and majesty 
of Jesus all created things shall pay homage on bended knee ' (Light- 
foot's paraphrase). 


11 ^ things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess 
6 Or things of that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the 

the u-orld helou: ^.^^^^^^ 

Every knee should bow] A quotation from Is. xlv. 23 (LXX), cited 
again in Rom. xiv. 11. Isaiah's context refers it distinctly to the Lord 
Jehovah, in a connexion which speaks of Him as the God of righteous- 
ness and salvation, and is clearly suggestive of the redemption wrought 
by Christ. Such an application of such a passage is undoubted evidence 
of St. Paul's belief in the full Divinity of the Lord Jesus. 

* It is strange', say Conybeare and Howson, 'that this verse should 
often have been quoted as commanding the practice of bowing the head 
at the name of Jesus ; what it really prescribes is kneeing in adoration 
of Him '. 

Of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earthj 

Some take these three adjectives (in heaven, on earth, under the earth) as 
neuter. So they are rendered in the text. Bishop Lightfoot strongly 
advocates this and understands the sense to be ' all creation, all things 
w^hatsoever and wheresoever they be ' ; in other words, the whole uni- 
verse. He quotes Rev. v. 13 in support of this view, and Rom. viii. 22. 
Others prefer to regard the adjectives as masculine (or common), and 
understand 'all who dwell in heaven, in earth, or under the earth'. 
This view has led to various attempts at classification, such as ' angels, 
living men, and buried men ' ; or ' angels, men, and lost spirits ', etc. 

On the whole, the former view seems preferable, though both may 
be included. 

The adjective rendered ' in heaven ' is frequent in the New Testament. 

The one rendered ' on earth ' is found again in John iii. 12 ; 1. Cor. xv. 
40 ; 2. Cor. v. 1 ; Jas. iii. 15 ; and in ch. iii. 19. 

That rendered ' under the earth ' occurs only in this verse. Those 
acquainted with the classics of India will note with interest the corre- 
spondence of these words with the Hindu division of the universe 
into three regions (Tri-loka), 'heaven, earth, and the lower region' 
(Antara-loka, Bhu-loka, Patala-loka). 

11. Every tongue should confess] A continuation of the quotation 
from Is. xlv. 23. 

The verb, in its general usage, means ' to declare or confess openly ', 
and we may consider this sen^e as not excluded here. But it has also a 
secondary meaning ' to offer praise or thanksgiving ', and the word is used 
generally in the LXX with this signification, while the passage from 
which it is here cited in Isaiflh also requires this meaning. Christ Him- 
self so uses it in Matt. xi. 25 ; Luke x. 21 ; (thank, or praise). We may 


So then, my beloved, even as ye have always 7 some an. 12 

, T . _ . . , cient authori- 

obeyed, not ^ as m my piesence only, but now ties omit «.•>•. 

understand, therefore, the force of the veise to be 'Every tor.gue shall 
declare in praise and thanksgiving'. It is 'the confession of adoring, 
praising worship '. We do well, in lands like India, where true Christians 
are obviously in a very small minority, to rest our faith on such promises 
as these. Every knee ', ' Every tongue.' 

That Jesus Christ is Lord] He who became a ' bondslave ' is now 
seen to be Lord of all. Cf. Acts ii. 36 ; Rom. x. 9 ; 1 Cor. xii. 3. The 
Lordship of Jesus Christ is prominent in the New Testament and a sincere 
acceptance of it in\olves entire submission to His will (Rom. \i. 16 ; Col. 
ii. 6 ; 1 Pet. iii. 15). We must give Him the same supreme place in our 
heaits and li\es which the Father has given Him in the Church and 
on the Throne. All these ' high doctrines ' of Scripture are to be made 
true, by faith, in our experience. There can be little doubt that, in such 
passages as this, the \^ord 'Lord' is the New Testament equivalent 
for the Hebrew 'Jehovah' and carries with it all the supremacy of 
Deity which that sacred name connotes. 

To the glory of God the Father] This is always set forth in the New 
Testament as the ultimate end of onr redemption and sanctification,. 
as well as of our worship and service. It is well in view in this Epistle 
(i. 11 ; iv. 20). The whole mediatorial d'sjensation of God the Son has 
as its climax and goal ' the glory of God the Father' (1 Cor. xv. 24). 

It would be difficult to conceive a grander passage than this which,, 
while it aims at setting forth the supreme example of Christ's unselfish- 
ness, incidentally and with perfect simplicity presents us with collateral 
proofs of our Lord's perfect Divinity and true Humanity, as well as 
elucidating His sacred lelationship to the Father. It is, though written 
with quite a different object, a toit of Nicene Creed in miniature, det;lar- 
irjg Chiii-t's Divine Nature, His Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, 
Ascension, and glcriors Session on the Throne. 

And, be it lemembered, all this blaze of light and gloiy is laid bare 
before us in order to make is humble, loving and obedient. 

12-16. Exhortation to Obedience and Holiness 

12. So then] That is, ' with Chris-t's humility and subsequent exalta- 
tion before your eyes'. This conjunction (coare, so then, wherefore) 
expresses the effect which an argument ought to ha-se on those who 
hear it. Study the force of it in the passages annexed : — Rom. vii 4 ; 
1 Cor. iii. 7, 21 ; iv. 5 ; v. 8 ; x. 12 ; xv. 58 ; 2 Cor. v. 10, 17 ; Gal. iii. 9, 24 ;: 
iv. 7 ; Ihil. iv. 1 ; 1 Thcs. iv. 8 ; 1 Pet. iv. 19. 


much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with 

In this Epistle, by means of this conjunction, St. Paul seeks to bring 
the glorious doctrines of the Self-sacrifice (ii. 5-11), and the Second 
Coming (iii. 20, 21 ; iv, 1) of Christ to bear upon the life and conduct 
of his Christian converts. It is well, in reading our Bibles and coming 
face to face with any doctrine or privilege, to ask ' what impress ought 
this to make on my character and life ' ? We want more of this logical 
Christianity of practical holiness. 

My beloved] A term of affection with which St. Paul often intro- 
duces his practical appeals. So also in iv. 1. Cf. 1 Cor. x. 14 ; xv. 58 ; 
2 Cor. vii. 1 ; xii. 19 ; Philem. 1. The same loving method will be found 
in the writings of the other Apostles. The teacher who has to reprove 
and exhort needs a heart full of love so that every faithful word may be 
charged with tenderness (see 1 Cor. iv. 14). 

As ye have always obeyed] The word ' obeyed ' certainly glances back 
at Christ's matchless obedience (v. 8). ' He obeyed, even to the death ; 
so then it is your bounden duty to obey, following in His steps '. 

Literally ' As ye did always obey ' (Aorist tense). Some understand it 
of obsdience to God ; others of obedience to the Apostle ; others of 
obedience to both. If obedience to St. Paul be intended, then the tense 
may refer to the time of his presence with them in Philippi ; or it may 
gather into one a whole series of acts of obedience. 

We can hardly exclude altogether from this verse the duty of obedi- 
ence, within right limits, to ' our teachers, spiritual pastors, etc.'. See 
Heb. xiii. 17. 

Not as in my presence, etc ] The Greek construction requires these 
words to be connected with the verb which follows, ' work out', and not 
with the one preceding, 'obeyed.' The Apostle says ' Do not work out 
your salvation as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence '. 
Their energetic living of the Christian life was not to depend on the 
accident of the stimulus of his presence with them. 

We are bidden to follow holiness because it is God's will for us (1 Thes. 
iv. 3), and not to depend on ministers and friends, even the saintliest, 
to incite us to it. 

Much more in my absence] Because that absence ought to throw 
them more directly and fully on God's own help and resources. Enoch 
'walked with God' at least 300 years without spiritual aid from man 
(Gen. v. 22-4), and that in the early twilight age of revelation. Daniel 
lived a holy life for seventy years amidst the sinful surroundings of a 
heathen court (Dan. i. 1, 21), and that long before the dispensation of 
the Holy Ghost. 


fear and trembling ; for it is God which worketh in you both 13 

This verse suggests the need of constant, secret, communion with God, 
if our faith is to be robust and our life holy. Public ordinances, however 
helpful, and fellowship with other Christians, however sweet, can never 
take the place of private devotions. Is not the neglect of private prayer 
and careful study of God's word one of the chief causes of failure in the 
lives of many Christians ? 

This needs the more attention since the life in many Indian homes is 
largely public, and it is difficult to find a quiet corner. Only resolute 
determination to ba alone with God will ensure the constant observance 
of this secret ' fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus 
Christ '. Many are the blessings in store for those who seek Him in the 
solitary place (Gen. xviii. 22, 23 ; xxxii. 24-29 ; Ex. xxxiv. 28-35 ; Josh. v. 
13-15 ; Dan. x. 2-21 ; Rev. i. 9-20 ; Matt. vi. 6 ; etc.). 

Work out] For some interesting uses of this verb, see Eom. v. 3, 
' Tribulation worketh out patience ' ; 2 Cor. iv. 17, ' Our light affliction, 
which is for the moment, worketh out for us more and more exceedingly 
an eternal weight of glory ' ; Jas. i. 3, ' The proof (or testing) of your 
faith worketh out patience '. 

These illustrations will shew that the force of the verb is ' develop ' 
•accomplish ', ' evolve '. 

No contradiction lies here of the great doctrine of Justification by 
faith. Salvation is by grace (Eph. ii. 8) from first to last ; and even in 
this context the greatest stress is laid on the fact that God is the real and 
effectual Worker in our sanctification and glorification (v. 13). But man 
has his side of the work to attend to, in a life of loving obedience and 
watchfulness and response to the * godly motions ' of the Holy Spirit. 
He must ' abide ' in Christ (John xv. 4), and this means the active 
■exercise of faith, earnest continuance in prayer, and the diligent use of 
the means of grace. He must walk worthy of his vocation (Eph. iv. 1-2). 
Scripture is just as clear in its teaching about man's responsibility as it 
is in its full declarations about the sovereignty of God's grace. 

Your own salvation] There is emphasis in the original on the word 
' Your own ', in consonance with the former part of the verse. The 
•sense is, ' Do not depend on me ; attend to your own souls, in a faith 
and love which go out straight to God and depend on Him alone '. 

Salvation] Clearly referring to final salvation and glory, as in i. 19, 28, 
but including present and continual sanctification, since the one is 
inseparable from the other. It is an appeal to men already justified 
to pay diligent attention to the progress of their sanctification, which is 
to be consummated shortly in ' the glory which shall be revealed '. 


14 to will and to work, for his good pleasure. Do all things 

With fear and trembling] This xDhrase occurs again in 2 Cor. vii. 
15; Eph. vi. 5. (Cf. 1. Cor. ii. 3). 

Fear] i.e., of marring His work or opposing His loving will. It 
implies no doubt as to our acceptance in God's sight, and has in it 
nothing of the torture of misgiving (see 1 John iv. 18). As Archbishop 
Leighton said, ' the righteous dare to do anything but offend God'. 

Trembling] i.e., ' a trembling and eager anxiety to do what is right '. 

13. For] Here we have the reason for the 'fear and trembling'. He 
who works in us is God, the Holy One, and we do well to be careful 
in His presence lest, by any unbelief or disobedience, we hinder His work 
or offend His love. 

Here, too, is strong encouragement for ' working out' our own salva- 
tion, and the real reason of success, * Work, for God works with you ; nay I 
He, the Almighty One, dees all the real work '. 

It is God whicli worlteth in you] Better, ' For God it is Who is working 
effectively in you '. ' Worketh '. The word means ' works mightily, effec- 
tively '. Notice the tense, ' He works moment by moment ', in the heart 
which trusts Him. Cf. Col. i. 29 ; 1 Thes. ii. 13. 

In you] i.e., ' in your hearts '. The indwelling of God in the hearts of 
believers is a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel (see John xiv. 17 ; Eph. 
iii. 17-20; Col. i. 27, etc.). It is not an * influence ' which works in the 
Christian, or a spiritual ' force ' ; it is God Himself. 

This indwelling of God, a Personal God, however, must be carefully 
distinguished from the Pantheistic doctrine of the Hindus, which, though 
it uses language sometimes appearing to resemble that of the Gospel, has 
really nothing in common with it, since it is founded either on material- 
istic conceptions of the ' all-pervasiveness ' of an impersonal Deity or 
regards the human spirit as a kind of ' ^irtual image ', not really existing, 
of the divine Spirit. Only the Gospel of Christ really teaches the possibi- 
lity of having in our hearts, by faith, a personal, loving, sanctifying, 
enabling God. 

Both to will and to work] Perhaps more accurately, ' both the willing 
and the working', i.e., your willing and your working. 

' It is God working in you from first to last ; God that inspires the earli- 
est impulse, and God that directs the final achievement' (Lightfoot). 

' We therefore will, but it is God that works in us that we so will ; we 
therefore work, but it is God that works in us that we so work ' (St. 


without murmurings and disputings ; that ye may be blame- x5 
less and harmless, children of God without blemish in the 

Every good will and eveiy good deed are the result of His work in the 
heart. Apart from Him, there is neither the one nor the other (John 
XV. 5.) 

And every virtue we possess, 

And every victory won, 

And every thought of holiness, 

Are His alone. 

Work] This is the same word as the one used in the previous clause, 
to work effectively '. 

Thus, while human responsibility is duly emphasized in v. 12, the 
omnipotence of Divine grace is magnified in v. 13. Our ' working ' must 
be on the lines of, and in entire dependence upon. His * working '. As we 
obey His will, we shall experience His enabling power (:\Iark iii. 5 ; 
John v.8,9; etc.). 

There is no room here for a doctrine of fatalism, leading to a life of 
idleness. It is as we go forward, in glad obedience, that we receive 
more and more fully God's enabling power. (Cf. Ex. xiv. 15, 24-31.) 

For His good pleasure] 'In fulfilment of His benevolent pu-rpose'. 
So Lightfoot, who connects the words with ' It is God which worketh 
in you ' (so as to fulfil His purpose). God's object in thus working 
through the Christian is that His loving will may be accomplished in the 
world, by the salvation of sinners (1 Tim. ii. 4), and the sanctification 
of His people (1 Thes. iv. 3). 

For ' good pleasure ' see i. 15 note. 

We see here that God's gracious purposes towards the millions of India 
can only be accomplished in proportion as the Christians of India yield 
themselves to His sanctifying power and constraining love. It is a 
solemn fact that every unholy Christian in this land is hindering, in 
his measure, the manifestation of God's power. 

Conybeare and Howson take the phrase, however, in connexion with 
the following verse, placing a full stop after the words ' to work '. They 
read v. 14, ' Do all things for the sake of goodwill, without murmuring, 
etc'. This, though allowable grammatically, seems less natural and 
forcible than the rendering of the text. 

In verse fourteen, the Apostle enters into the practical details of that life 
which is to be the result of God's indwelling and effectual working, with 
special reference to the circumstances of those to whom he is writing. 

14. Do all things without murmurings and disputings] There is 
emphasis by position on the ' all things.' Cf. iii. 8 ; iv. 13. No excep- 
tion is allowed to this rule ; no circumstances whatever are allowed to 


midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom 

furnish an excuse for breaking it. It applies alike to our private life, 
our business, our social and ecclesiastical affairs. 

Does not the verse suggest that such 'murmuring? and disputings ' 
are common and terrible hindrances to God's ' effective working ' ? 

Murmurings] A word used frequently in the LXX of Israel's mur- 
murings in the wilderness. History repeats itself, and the same sin 
reappears in the Church of the New Testament. The word occurs again 
in John vii. 12 ; Acts vi. 1 ; 1 Pet. iv. 9 ; while the cognate verb is found 
in Matt. xx. 11 ; Luke v. 30 ; John vi. 41, 43, 61 ; vii. 32 ; 1 Cor. x. 10. 

It stands for ' thoughts and utterances of discontent ' (Moule). An 
unthankful, discontented, unloving spirit is sure to hinder and mar God's 
work, and always indicates a lack of true humility. A heart at peace with 
God and man will not fret or murmur. It is the quiet sea which reflects 
the glories of the sky. 

Disputings] This word is translated ' thoughts ' in Matt. xv. 19 ; Mark* 
vii. 21; Luke ii. 35; vi. 8; Jas. ii. 4; 'reasonings' in Luke v. 22; 
ix. 46, 47 ; xxiv. 38; Rom. i. 21 ; 1 Cor. iii. 20; and ' disputations' in 
Rom. xiv. 1 ; 1 Tim. ii. 8. 

It may either mean 'inward reasonings or questionings', a rendering 
suggesting doubt or unbelief, and, by some, preferred here ; or ' dis- 
putes ', with the idea of contending, perhaps, for their own rights. 

Bengel understands the ' murmurings ' to be in respect of others, 
arising from jealousy of them, and the ' disputings ' to be in respect of 
themselves, arising from self-assertion. Lightfoot understands the ' mur- 
murings ' of moral, and the ' inward reasonings ' of intellectual, rebellion 
against God. 

15. Be3 Literally, ' Become '. There is a hint that they were not fully 
so when he wrote to them. 

Blameless] The word is found again in Lukei. 6 ; Phil. iii. 6 ; 1 Thes. 
iii. 13 ; Heb. viii. 7, all interesting passages. It implies that there is 
nothing in the character or walk inviting censure. 

Harmless] This rendering seems to have arisen from a mistaken 
derivation of the word from a root meaning ' without horns ' (to push 
or hurt). Its real meaning is 'unadulterated' (from a root meaning to 
mix) and it is frequently used in the Greek classics of metal without 
alloy ; pure, unmixed wine, etc. It is found again in Matt. x. 16 ; Rom. 
xvi. 19 (pure, unmixed as regards evil). 

Lightfoot's paraphrase is excellent, ' so that you keep your own con- 
sciences single and pure '. 


ye are seen as ^ lights in the world, holding forth 16 

8Gr. hnnimrries. ^^^ ^^^.^ ^^ ^.^^ . ^^^^^ ^ ^^^ ^^^^ whereof tO gloiy 

While the former word ' blameless ' marks freedom from the censure of 
others, this word ' pure, umiiixed ' denotes freedom from the alloy of sin 
in our own inner character. 

Children of God] The word ' children ' in the Greek lays stress on their 
nature and character, as having been born again in Christ Jesus, rather 
than on their status and privilege. The exact phrase is found again in 
John i. 12 ; xi. 52 ; Rom. viii. 16, 17, 21 ; ix. 8 ; 1 John iii. 1, 2, 10 ; v. 2 ; 
and always with the sense of born children. Having the nature of 
God (2 Pet. i. 4) involves the obligation of likeness to God. 

This word ' children ', and the phrases which follow, are quoted from 
the LXX of Deut. xxxii. 5. 

Without blemish] In later Greek, this is the technical word to indicate 
the absence of any fault or flaw in a sacrificial victim such as would pre- 
vent its being offered. Here it marks the absence of any such blemish 
in the Christian as would prevent his being Christ's true witness to the 
world. The word occurs again in Eph. i. 4 ; v. 27 ; Col. i. 22 ; Heb. ix. 
14 ; 1 Pet. i. 19 ; Jude 24 ; Rev. xiv. 5, 

In the midst of] Cf. Matt. x. 16 ; Luke x. 3 ; John xvii. 15. The words 
appeal with special force to us in India, with millions of non-Christians 
round about us. 

Croolied] 'Curved', 'bent', and so 'unrighteous'. It is found again 
in Luke iii. 5 ; Acts ii. 40 ; 1 Pet. ii. 18. 

It is a warning to us to be straight in the midst of crookedness. With 
so much untruthfulness of speech and unrighteousness of conduct on 
every side of us, we Christians of India need to be very 'straight'. By 
rectitude of conduct let us protest against bribery, corruption, false evi- 
dence, questionable litigation, and any and every deviation from strict 
truth and equity. Above all, let us see to it that our own hands are 
clean. How many crooked dealings sometimes lie concealed behind the 
words borrowing, lending, buying, selling, property, and so on. 

Perverse] Or ' distorted ', ' twisted '. The word is often used, classically, 
of distorted eyes, feet, and limbs. It may suggest to us that the ungodly 
world neither sees straight nor walks straight. It occurs again, as here, 
in the passive voice, in Matt. xvii. 17. Luke ix. 41 ; Acts xx. 30. 

Let us beware of ' distorted ' views of things, arising from selfishness or 
worldliness ; and of ' twisted ' conduct, due to love of money or conform- 
ity with carnal customs. 

Ye are seen] Or, ' Ye appear '. The word is often used of the rising of 
the stars and heavenly bodies. Christians are to be God's stars, rising on 
the dark firmament of sin and heathenism, and shining there for Him. 


in the day of Christ, that I did not run in vain 9 Gr. poured 
17 neither labour in vain. Yea, and if I am ^ offered offering. 

As lights] The word means ' light-bearers ' or • lumiDaries '. It is used 
almost invariably of the heavenly bodies. In the New Testament, it 
occurs again only in Rev. xxi. 11. 

In the world] Just as the moon and stars rise as luminaries in the dark 
sky, so believers are to shina as spiritual luminaries in another firma- 
ment, viz., ' the world' which God loves (John iii. 16) and which Christ 
came to save (John iii. 17). 

We need bright luminaries through the length and breadth of India ! 

16. Holding forth] Here the metaphor changes. This word (only one 
word in the Greek) is used in the classics of offering or presenting food 
and drink to others. We are to hold out the Bread of Life and the Water 
of Life for the acceptance of the hungry, thirsty souls around us, pressing 
it upon them with loving earnestness. 

It may, grammatically, be linked on directly with - that ye may be 
blameless and harmless ' (holding forth, etc.). 

The word of life] The Gospsl, as God's inessage of eternal life in Christ. 
Cf. 1 John i. 1. It is the ' word ' which reveals that ' life ', and also imparts 
and sustains it, through the power of the Holy Ghost. See also, note 
on i. 14. 

That I may have whereof to glory] Literally, ' to be a glorying to 
me '. The word ' glorying ' is the same as in i. 26. Moule translates ' To 
afiord me, even me, exultation'. The idea is explained in 1 Thes. ii. 19. 
When Christ comes, and wa see those whom we have helped to win for 
Him glorified in His presence, joy and exultation will be our portion. 

In the day of Christ] Literally, ' against the day of Christ ' ; i.e., in 
viev/ of that day. See note on 1. 6. 

That I did not run in vain] In anticipation he has gone ahead to 
the 'day of Christ', and, looking back from thence, uses the Aorist 
tense as though the cours3 were already accomplished. For • running ' 
as a metaphor derived from athletic gam3s, cf. 1 Cor. ix. 24, 23 ; Gal. ii. 
2; V. 7 ; Heb. xii. I ; the glorified converts b^ing the crown or prize at 
the end of tha race ; the ' running ' denoting earnest, eager ministry. 

Labour] This may refer to the training necessary for the athletic 
contests, so continuing the metaphor of the race. Otherwise, it will 
denote the steady, persevering toil of the Christian worker. It indicates 
real, hard work, ' toil, unto the length of weariness '. (See, e.g., John iv. C.) 

Souls are not won without real toil and self-denial. 


upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice 
with you all : and in the same manner do ye also joy, and 18 
rejoice with me. 

If we want India to be evangelized, we must be up and doing. There is 
much danger in our midst of congregations settling down into a state of 
case and indifference to the condition of the non-Christian world around 

17-30. Personal. Explanation of plans. Missions of Timothy and 

17. Yea! and if, etc.] The connexion with the preceding verse is 'Did 
I speak of running and toiling for you, as though that were some hard 
thing ? Nay ! but I am joyfully ready, if need be, to pour out my life 
for Christ's sake and for your spiritual welfare '. 

Am offered] Literally, ' Am being poured out as a libation '. This may 
refer to the libations common among the Pagan Greeks, (cf. the soma- 
juice libations of Vedic times). But, more probably, it has reference to 
the drink-offerings of the Mosaic law. (See Ex. xxix. 39-41 ; Num. 
XV. 3-10, etc.). 

It means, of course, that St. Paul was willing to pour out his life-blood 
as a free-will libation. 

The word only occurs again in 2 Tim. iv. 6 where he is on the point of 
actually pouring out his life for Christ's sake. 

The present tense here used makes the picture real and vivid. The 
Apostle, in his earnestness, sees himself, so to speak, in the very act of 
doing it. He is so ready for it that he regards it as already present ! 

Upon the sacrifice and service of your faith] The drink-offering was 
linked with the burnt-offering in the Mosaic economy (see Ex. xxix. 
38-42). So, here, the Apostle's libation is to be poured out upon the 
whole burnt-offering of the believing and consecrated Philippian con- 
verts (Rom. xii. 1). In detail, the Philippians are the priests ; their faith, 
with the entire consecration which it involves, is the sacrifice ; and their 
beloved Teacher's life-blood is the drink-offering outpoured thereon. 

Bishop Lightfoot calls attention to the fact that ' St. Paul's language 
expresses the fundamental idea of the Christian Church, in which an 
universal priesthood has supplanted the exclusive ministration of a select 
tribe or class '. 

Service] This word Xetrovyia originally meant the 'service of 
the State in a public office or function '. Then it came to denote a 
function or office of any kind, as, e.g., of the physical organs of the 


19 But I liope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy shortly 
unto you, that I also may he of good comfort, when I 

body. It was further used of the ' office of priestly or ministerial func- 
tions ' ; and, later, came to be employed in the technical ecclesiastical 
sense of a ' liturgy'. 

It occurs elsewhere in the New Testament in Luke i. 23 ; 2 Cor. ix. 12 ; 
Phil ii. 30; Heb. viii. 6; ix. 21 ; while the corresponding verb is found 
in Acts xiii. 2 ; Rom. xv. 27; Heb. x. II. A careful study of these 
passages will shew that the sense of the word varies between a sacerdotal 
or ministerial one and one of a far more general nature, e.g., collecting 
money, and assisting by personal attention an imprisoned friend. 

In this verse, it probably continues the idea of the sacrifice, and 
refers to the ritual functions or details of that sacrifice. 

Conybeare and Howson have ' the ministration of the sacrifice of your 
faith '. 

Possibly, we may understand the ' sacrifice ' to denote faith's entire 
consecration to God, and the ' service ' to indicate the life of earnest 
ministry and witness which ensues upon such a consecration. 

I joy and rejoice with you all] It would be a crowning joy to him 
to lay down his life for his Master and for the beloved converts. And there 
would be a share for him, too, in that deep joy which would be, to them, 
the consequence of their fuller consecration to God, resulting from the 
' sacrifice ' thus crowned and consummated. Lightfoot prefers to render 
' rejoice with ' by ' congratulate ' ; thus, ' I rejoice and I congratulate you 
all therein '. But the other occurrences of the word in the New Testa- 
ment fAvour the translation found in the text (Luke i.58 ; xv. G, 9 ; 1 Cor. 
xii. 26 ; xiii. 6). 

18. Do ye also joy and rejoice with me] These verbs may be taken 
either as indicative or imperative. It seems best to adopt the latter. 

It would be difficult for them to rejoice in prospect of their beloved 
Leader's death ; yet he bids them rejoice if it means glory to God and 
increased unity and holiness among themselves. And he challenges them 
to share his own deep joy in the privilege of such self-sacrifice. 

There are depths of experience in this verse which few have fathomed. 
Minister and people are seen here rejoicing together in view of the 
former's martyrdom ! 

We all need to know more of the joy of self-sacrifice. The work of 
evangelization would be greatly accelerated in India if all of us, mission- 
aries and people, pastors and evangelists, understood better, in practice 
this passionate longing to * pour out ' self for the souls of others. 

19. But I hope] ' Though absent from you myself at present (v. 12), I 
am not unmindful of your ncQds, and hope to send you speedy help '. 


know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will 20 

In the Lord Jesus] The j^hrase • in tlie Lord ' is almost peculiar to 
St. Paul. Cf. the following passages, by way of sample. 

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus. Rom. xiv. 14 ; I have 
confidence to you-ward in the Lord. Gal. v. 10 ; 2 Thes. iii. 4 ; This 
I say, and testify in the Lord. Eph. iv. 17 ; 'I trust in the Lord. 
Phil. ii. 24 ; I rejoice in the Lord. Phil. iv. 10. Thus the Apostle 
knew, was persuaded, spoke, testified, hoped, was confident, 'rejoiced', 
all ' in the Lord '. 

' The Christian is a part of Christ, a member of His body. His every 
thought and word and deed proceeds from Christ, as the centre of 
volition. He has one guiding principle in acting and in forbearing to act, 
" ONLY IN THE LORD " ' (Lightfoot). We are to receive friends (Rom. 
xvi. 2 ; Phil. ii. 29), to obey our lawful superiors (Eph. vi. 1), to find our 
spiritual strength (Eph. vi. 10), to have our joy (Phil. iii. 1 ; iv. 4), and 
to stand firm and steadfast (Phil. iv. 1 ; 1 Thes. iii. 8), all ' IN THE 

A still fuller study of the phrase in the New Testament is recommend- 
ed, as it occurs in many other passages. How real and far-reaching our 
union with Christ should be ! Nothing, in a Christian's lawful experience, 
is left outside the charmed circle of that mystic union (see note also 
on iv. 2). 

Timothy] See note on i. 1. He was well known in Philippi, and 
would be warmly welcomed there. 

That I also may be of good comfort] The sense is, ' that I also may 
take courage and be cheered, as well as that you may be stimulated and 
profited '. 

The words to ' be of good comfort ' does not occur again in the New 
Testament. Perhaps it contains a hint here that he was just a little 
troubled in mind about their divisions. When good tidings of their 
unity arrive by Timothy, it will be like a spiritual tonic to his soul and 
will promote his perfect happiness. 

We notice, all through St. Paul's Epistles, how his joy and very life 
seemed to be bound up with the spiritual welfare of his converts (see 
e.g. 2 Cor. vii. 5-7 ; Cxal. iv. 19 ; 1 Thes. iii. 6-8). A grand pattern, his, 
for Indian missionaries, ministers, pastors, and evangelists. 

20. I have no man likeminded] That is ♦ likeminded with Timothy '. 
The word ' likeminded ' occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. 
Moule renders it * equal-souled', which is more literal. Amongst 
St. Paul's companions, then present in Rome, there was none other 
equal to Timothy in spiritual and evangelistic qualifications. He was 
the man for the work contemplated. 


21 ^0 Q,._ care ^^ truly for your state. For they all seek 

genuhiehi. their owu, iiot the things of Jesus Christ. 

Who will care] Literally 'Such that he will take anxious thought'. 
The verb here used 'to be anxious', 'to take anxious thought", usually 
denotes a wrong and forbidden anxiety ; e.g., about food and clothing 
(Matt. vi. 25, 27, 28, 31, 34), about work and business (Luke x. 41), about 
self-defence (Matt. x. 19; Luke xii. 11), about the things of the world 
(I Cor. vii. 34). In ch. iv. 6, we are bidden, still in the same sense, ' In 
nothing to be anxious'. In the following verses, however, we are told 
that one kind of anxious thought, and one alone, is legitimate and 
J) raise worthy : — 

Anxious care ' for the things of the Lord ' 1 Cor. vii. 32, 84 ; anxious 
care ' one of another ' (Christians) ; 1 Cor. xii. 25, and here, anxious 
care ' for the Churches ' ; 2 Cor. xi. 28. 

We see therefore, that the only anxious care which the Christian 
may exercise is loving, earnest, careful thought for the glory of his Lord 
and the welfare of souls. All anxiety which centres in or round himself 
is w^rong and sinful. The careful thought which has Christ's glory as its 
sode object is alone right and good. 

Do we sufficiently care for the well-being of our congregations? 
for the glory of Christ in India ? for the salvation of souls ? Have we 
the care which will agonize in prayer, and which will make us earnest 
and aggressive in work ? 

Truly] This adverb is only found here, but the corresponding adjective 
occurs in 2 Cor. viii. 8 ; Phil. iv. 3 ; 1 Tim. i. 2 ; Tit. i. 4 ; in which 
passages the sense of ' true ', ' sincere ' prevails in our English version. 

But the etymology of the word allows another meaning, and a more 
primary one, viz., 'naturally, instinctively' (by an instinct derived from 
race or birth). Lightfoot argues with reason for this meaning and para- 
" phrases ' as an instinct derived from his spiritual parentage.' Timothy 
had been born anew in the Gospel and 'inherited all the interests and 
affections of his spiritual father '. Above all, he was now ' a partaker of 
the Divine nature ', and, by reason of that, he loved the souls of his 
fellow-Christians, aye ! and of all men (1 John iv. 7). 

Only as we allow God's Spirit to work in our hearts shall we be able to 
care for the souls around us. We cannot force ourselves into this 
passionate passion for souls. It must be, in the sense of this verse, a 
natural outcome of the new, Divine nature within us. 

Your state] Literally 'the things concerning you', i.e., 'your cir- 
cumstancc> and affairs '. 

21. They all] That is, all those, without exception, from whom 
he was able at that time to select his messenger, all those who ought 


But ye know the proof of him, that, as a child serveth a father, 22 
so he served with me in furtherance of the gospel. Him there- 
fore I hope to send forthwith, so soon as I shall see how it 23 

to have been available for such emergencies. There is a tone of great 
sadness about the words, indicating disappointment in some of his 
companions. At a later date, the disappointment was even keener 
(2 Tim. iv. 10, 11, IG). We must not think, however, that his friends 
had ceased to be helpers and workers. Prom chapter i. 14 we see that 
work was being pushed on more vigorously than ever. But only single- 
hearted men can be entrusted with special missions ; only whole-hearted 
soldiers can be sent to posts of danger. Self must be deposed if we are 
tcbe vessels ' meet for the ^Master's use '. 

India's great need to-day is whole-hearted, unselfish Christians who 
will care for souls with a care icliich costs something. From all sides 
comes the cry, * Wanted leaders, from among India's own sons, brave, 
zealous, wise, loving Timothies '. 

Seek their own] That is ' their own things ' (neuter) ; their own 
interests ; their own ease and comfort ; their own selfish aims. Selfish- 
ness is the curse of the Church. 

Not the things of Jesus Christ] 'His interests in the purity of the 
(Jhurch and the evangelization of the world'. Contrast with this the 
Apostle's own desire and determination (i. 20). This should be our rule 
of life, ' Not I, but Christ ; not mine, but His '. 

22. Ye know] In the sense of ' recognize '. As they looked back, 
they could see clearly what sort of man Timothy was. It was the know- 
ledge of experience. See i. 1. 

The proof of him] This word literally means the ' test ' or ' proof ' of 
metals or money. It occurs in Rom. v. 4 ; 2 Cor. ii. 9 ; viii. 2 ; ix. 13, 
xiii. 3. It is interesting to note that it is chiefly found in 2 Cor. which is 
pre-eminently the Epistle of ministerial work and character. The exact 
shade of meaning here intended seems to be that of ' approved character ', 
which is the result of the testing. Timothy had passed, like metal put to 
the proof, through hot fires of trial before he approved himself as having 
the high character and unique qualifications attributed to him in v. 20. 

St. Paul, also, knew what the fire of testing meant (2 Cor. xi. 23.-28). 
Shame on our ease and selfishness ! It takes a lot of fire, sometimes, to 
produce a good missionary or worker. 

As a child (serveth) a father] Quite literally ' as child with father '. 
This is the same word for child as in v. 15. It is an exquisitely tender 
touch, breathing with affection. He was literally St. Paul's child in the 


24 will go with me ; but I trust in the Lord that I myself also 

25 shall come shortly. But I counted it necessary to send to you 
Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, 

faith (1. Tim. i. 2). And Timothy's loving helpfulness and close com- 
panionship in the work are also here in view. 

He served with me] Literally 'with me he did bondservice', i e. (as 
the Aorist tense suggests) ' especially during my visit to Philippi '. Si. 
Paul loves to sustain the thought of bondservice (i. 1). It is possible 
to translate ' with me he entered on bondservice ', i.e., ' took up the bond- 
slave's life '. If so, the reference would lie naturally to his first under- 
taking this special service (Acts xvi. 1-3). 

In furtherance of the Gospel] See note on chapter i. 5, when the 
same phrase occurs. 

23. So soon as I shall see] That is ' immediately upon seeing how 
I fare as to my approaching trial '. The word here rendered ' see ' only 
occurs again in Heb. xii. 2, ' looking (away) unto Jesus ', and its primary 
meaning is to look away from all else to a special person or thing, and 
so to have in full view. Was he so busy with his Master's work that he 
had no leisure just then to look away from that even to the most import- 
ant personal matters ? At least, it involves getting a full, clear view of 
his own prospects before sending away his trusted helper. He would 
wish, too, to be able to send the Philippians definite news about himself. 

He has already stated his convictions about the result of the trial 
(i. 25). 

How it will go with nie] Rather, and more simply, ' the things around 
me', i.e., 'my position and circumstances'. It need not, of necessity, 
be confined to his approaching trial. 

24. I trust] The same verb as in chapter i. 25 (having confidence). 
*I have confidence ' ; ' I feel sure '. 

In the Lord] See note on v. 19. His plans of work were all begun, 
continued, and ended ' in the Lord '. 

Shortly] A relative term. It means, probably, ' at no great interval after 
Timothy's arrival at Philippi'. He may have been delayed, however, much 
longer than he expected. A striking parallel is found in 1 Cor. iv. 17, 19. 

25. I counted it] The verb is in the tense known as the episto- 
lary' Aorist, and would be best rendered ' count ', in the present tense. 
It is practically certain that Epaphroditus was himself the bearer of the 

Necessary] Or ' obligatory ' cf. 2 Cor. ix. 5, where the same expression 
occurs. The necessity lay perhaps in the fact that they were anxiously 


and your ^i messenger and minister to my need ; ii dr. aiw.itic. 
since he longed ^2 after you all. and was sore ent authorities 26 
troubled, because ye had heard that he was sick : ISl ^ '^^ ^"'^ 

waiting to see Epaphroditus (vv. 2C->, 2t<) ; or it may have lain in the 
fact that St. Paul wished to compose the differences in the Philippian 
congregation as soon as possible. He would not leave the noxious weed 
of disunion to grow apace another da}- if he could help it. 

Epaphroditus] Only known to us from this Epistle. His name (grace- 
ful, beautiful) derived from Aphrodite or Venus the goddess of beauty, 
was a common one in the Koraan empire. Its abbreviated form is 
Epaphras, and this has led to his identification by some with the 
Colossian minister Epaphras (Col. i. 7 ; iv. 12 ; Philem. 23). But the 
two must be distinguished, as they are certainly different persons. 

This is an instance of the retention by a Christian of his heathen name 
after Baptism. 

We learn from iv. 18 that he had brought the Philippian contributions 
to St. Paul, and the verses which follow here shew him to have been a 
loving, zealous, self-denying man. 

A new beauty was his after conversion, the beauty of the Lord Christ. 
Cf. Ps. xc. 17, the beauty of holiness. 

My brother and fellow-worker and fellow soldier] ' The three words 
arc arranged in an ascending scale, common sympathy, common work, 
common danger and toil and suffering ' (Lightfoot). Or, otherwise ex- 
pressed, he was first a brother in the Lord, by virtue of the New Birth ; 
then he had gone on to be a fellow-worker, by taking service in the 
Master's vineyard ; and he had followed on further still and become a 
fellow-soldier in the battles of the Lord. 

All brethren are not workers, though they ought to be ; and not 
all workers are soldiers, ready to face the foe and take the post of 

Fellow-worker is found also in Kom. xvi. 3, 9, 21 ; 1 Cor. iii. 9 ■ 

2 Cor. i. 24 ; viii. 23 ; Phil. iv. 3 : Col. iv. 11 ; 1 Thes. iii. 2 ; Philem. 1, 24 ; 

3 John 8. 

Fellow-soldier occurs again only in Philem. 2. It must indicate the 
fact that Epaphroditus had striven alongside St. Paul in some very 
special way, whether at Philippi in the past, or in Rome quite recently. 

Your messenger] Literally ' apostle ', meaning ' delegate or mes- 
senger of a Church '. Cf. 2 Cor. viii. 23. He had come as the bearer of 
their greetings and gifts. Some have interpreted the word as though 
Epaphroditus were the apostle of the Philippian Church in the sense 


27 for indeed he was sick nigh unto death : but God had mercy 
on liim ; aud not on him only, but on me also, that I might 

of being their presiding bishop, but such an interpretation is absolutely 
without warrant. As :\Ioule points out, the word is much the same as 
our missionary. 

Minister to my need] The word translated ' minister ' {\6LTOvpy6<;) 
is derived from the same root as the one rendered ' service ' in v. 17 (see 
note there). It has thus sacred and solemn associations, and Isloule well 
renders it ' ministrant '. We see that the faithful administration of funds 
and discharge of financial responsibility ought to be regarded as a sacred 
trust, as sacred as ministry in God's House. Here is a lesson for us 
workers in India, where there is a tendency to regard Church monies in 
a loose and unlawful way, using them, on occasion, for private purposes 
and considering it right to do so as long as they are refunded afterwards. 
No such trust monies ought to be applied, under any circumstances 
whatever, to private ends ; nor ought they to be kept mixed up with 
personal funds. The word is found, elsewhere, in Rom. xiii. 6 ; xv. 16 ; 
Heb. i. U ; viii. 2. 

26. He longed after you all] More accurately, ■ he was {in a state 
of) longing for you all '. The word ' longed ' is the same one as is used 
in i. 8, denoting homesick longing. 

The strong yearning of those early Christians for each other, ministers 
for people, and people for ministers, is noteworthy. 

The ' you all ' seems to convey a hint that Epaphroditus, at least, had 
no party spirit. 

Was sore troubled] This word only occurs here and in Matt. xxvi. 
37 ; Mar. xiv. 33 ; where it is used of our Lord's ' sore trouble ' in 
Gethsemane. Some derive it from a root meaning 'away from home', 
and explain it as signifying • out of himself ', 'beside himself, as though 
from sorrow and sadness. 

A better suggestion, hovo\e:', seems to be that which derives it from a 
root meaning ' to be sated ', the idea then being that of shrinking, in very 
'loathing ', from the excess of pain and grief. It expresses the restless- 
pess produced by great mental distress This strong sense of ' loathing ' 
admirably suits the usage of the word in the history of Christ's passion 
in Gethsemane. 

Moule paraphrases, 'the distraction of over-wrought feeling.' 

He was sick] The tense of the verb suggests the rendering ' he fell 
sick ', marking the occasion of his being taken ill. 


not have sorrow upon sorrow. I have sent him therefore the 
more diligently, tliat, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice. 

Some think that it may have been an attack of Roman fever which 
laid him suddenly low, for Roman fever is famous. Whatever the nature 
of the malady, overstrain was the cause (v. .30). 

27. For indeed he was sick] The force of the passage is * Yes ! 
indeed he fell sick. But th^tt word hardly expresses the seriousness of 
the case. It was more than ordinary sickness, for it was extremely 
dangerous and almost proved fatal '. 

Nigh unto death] Or, ' close alongside death '. It shews how dan- 
gerous the illness had beeii. 

God had mercy on him] Not because death would mean sorrow and 
loss to so true a Christian (see i. 21, -23), but that he might have new 
opportunities for service and soul- winning before he ' went hence and was 
no more seen '. Possibly, at that solemn epoch, Epaphroditus had been 
distressed by the thought that he had done on earth so little for his 

St. Paul uses this word (to have mercy ; passive, to obtain mercy) in 
a ministerial sense in 1 Cor. vii. 25 ; 2 Cor. iv 1 ; 1 Tim. i. 13, IG. 

On me also] This missionary's heart is bound up with his friends and 
converts. Their joys are his joys ; their sorrow his sorrows. 

Sorrow upon sorrow] If Epaphroditus had died, the Philippians would 
have lost a true friend, and the Apostle might have felt that he had 
been the unwilling cause of their sustaining so great a loss. St, Paul, 
too, would have been bereaved of a beloved ' brother, fellow-worker and 
fellow-soldier '. All this, coming on the top of the trials detailed in i. 15-17, 
would have been indeed ' sorrow heaped on sorrow '. (Cf. 2 Cor. vii. 5). 

The Apostle's rest of faith (iv. fi, 7) was no mere stoicism ; it left ample 
room for human joy and sorrow. 

This verse throws some light on a subject which troubles many, the 
question of • gifts of healing '. It is clear that even this specially endowed 
Apostle could not always claim healing by faith even for his dearest and 
holiest friends. (Cf. 2 Tim. iv. 20). He had to commit them to God's will 
and mercy. 

28. I have sent him] The epistolary Aorist again, meaning, ' I am 
sending him (with this letter '). 

The more diligently] This adverb is found again in Luke vii. 4 (be- 
seeching ' earnestly '), 2 Tim. i. 17 ; and Tit. iii. 13. The corresponding 
adjective occurs only in 2 Cor. viii. 17, 22. 


and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore 
in the Lord with all joy ; and hold such in honour : because 

Collating these texts, we see a series of channels for Christian earn- 

(a) In entreating, Luke vii. 4 ; (6) in seeking, 2 Tim. i. 17 ; (c) in assist- 
ing, Tit. iii. 13 ; (d) in ministering, 2 Cor. viii. 17, 22 ; (<?) in sending 
help (here). 

Translate * more earnestly, eagerly, therefore, am I sending him '. 

Again] This word may be connected either thus with the verb ' see ' 
(when you see him again), in which case it refers to their reunion 
with Epaphroditus ; or it may, so far as the grammar is concerned, be 
connected with 'rejoice', (that seeing him you may be glad again), in 
which case it denotes the full recovery of that cheerfulness which had 
been clouded by the tidings of Epaphroditus' illness. 

And I may be the less sorrowful] Let us learn from St. Paul to 
practise what we preach. He has been inculcating the duty of unselfish- 
ness, after the example of Christ's self-abnegation (vv. 3-11). Here he 
himself displays real unselfishness. His own sorrow will be lessened, he 
says, when his friend is safe back at Philippi, away from the risks of 
Rome, and when the Church there is gladdened and strengthened by 
Epaphroditus' presence. But there is not a word about his own personal 
loss, when his friend leaves him. Tf they are glad, Paul will be satisfied, 
though it means real bereavement to himself. In that Roman prison, 
amidst the trying circumstances which ho has described in ch. i, he 
might well have been excused, if he had shewn reluctance in losing 
Epaphroditus' willing help. But no ! he forgets his own loss in the gain 
it will bring to others. Verily! he is not ' looking to his own things', 
but to ' the things of others ' (v. 4). 

29. Receive liim in the Lord] The same expression occurs in Rom. 
xvi. 2. Would that all our meetings and greetings were ' in the Lord ', 
canopied by His presence and grace. Cf. v. 19, note. 

It is possible that the friction in the Philippian congregation had 
made some look on Epaphroditus with a certain amount of disfavour, 
and that St. Paul on that account, thought it necessary thus to exhort 

With all joy] ' Lot there be no cloud of friction or sorrow when ho 
comes '. How clearly the note of Christian joy keeps ringing out in this 
Epistle! (In trod. VI). 

The phrase ' all joy ' occurs again in Jas. i. 2. 

Hold such in honour] Or, 'hold such in high value'. The word 


for the work of ^^ Christ he came nigh unto 30 

1.^ Many anci- _. ,.,.- ii.ii. u'U 

ent authorities death, hazarding his hfe to supply that which 

read the Lord. ^ t ' • • *. „;i ,^ ^ 

was lacking m your service toward me. 

translated ' in honour ' is found in very few passagcj^. A list of tliem is 

{a) Of a servant highly valued by his master. Luke vii. 2 (dear). 

(&) Ofaguest „ ,, by his host. Luke xiv. 8. 

(c) Of the Chief Stone highly valued by God and the saints. 1 Pet. 

ii. 4, 6. 

(d) Of a minister highly valued by his people, (here). 

This soldier had been to the front and had been wounded in the 
fight. Let him be honoured with many honours as he now returns 
home covered with glory. 

30. For the work of Christ] Some ancient authorities read 'of the 
Lord', which would give, practically, the sense of ' the Master's work'. 
Lightfoot follows still another old MS. in reading ' the work ' only, 
(because for the work he came nigh, etc.). Cf. Acts xv. 38. But the 
reading ' Christ ' is well supported, and it is but another recurrence of 
one of the main words of the Epistle (Introd. VI). 

^Ve have here a clear refutation of the doctrine, largely prevalent in • 
these days, that sickness in the true Christian must be due to some 
special sin to which he has given place. Here, at least, is a man who was 
sick ' nigh unto death ' , not for any offence which he had committed, or 
for any unbelief which he had manifested, but only and solely from 
zeal in the work of Christ. Such a fact ought to make men pause before 
they ascribe unbelief and sin to the suffering Christian. 

He came nigh unto death] A different expression to the one used in 
V. 27. This is the same phrase as the one found in v. 8, ' unto death ', 
» to the length of death ', ' even as far as death '. 

Quite literally the sentence runs ' Right up to death he drew nigh '. He 
was at death's very door. 

Hazarding his life] This is the better supported reading. This v^ord 
' hazarding ' occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It comes from 
a root which means ' to throw down a stake ' like a gambler. The 
English word ' hazard ' has a similar derivation, denoting originally 'a 
game of chance '. 

Lightfoot renders it ' having gambled with his life'. Epaphroditus gladly 
risked his life in the work of Christ, treating it, as it were, with holy 
recklessness, in his consuming z.eal for his Master's glory. 


1 3. Finally, my brethren, ^ rejoice in the Lord. To write the 
same things to you, to me indeed is not irksome, i or, farewell. 

From this very root arose the name ' Parobolani,' a class of men, in 
Coustantine's days, who risked their lives in nursing the sick and burying 
the dead during dangerous epidemics. 

The * work of Christ ' in India demands more of this ' gambling with 
life '. There is far too much attention paid among us to our own health 
and ease and comfort. After all, our life is not a very high stake to throw 
down for the salvation of others, in the light of vv. 5-8. 

To supply] Literally 'fill up', a word found also in Matt. xiii. 14; 
1 Cor. xiv. 10; xvi. 17 ; Gal. vi. 2 ; 1 Thes. ii. 16. 

Epaphroditus strove hard to ' fill up ' the deficiency of the Philippians 
by rendering the Apostle that personal service which they, on account of 
distance, could not possibly offer. 

That which was lacking] Cf. 1 Cor. xvi. 17 ; 2 Cor. xi. 9. Of course, 
it is personal ministrations which are intended. The verse seems to shew 
that it was overstrain arising from personal attendance, rather than 
stress of persecution, which led to the breakdown in Epaphroditus ' 

Service] The same v/ord as in v. 17. Cf. also the note on v. 25. The 
whole section is a pastoral on Christian love and human sympathy. In 
India, with its conglomeration of races and castes, let Christian men 
band themselves together, in the solidarity of a common faith and 
mutual love, as ' brethren, fellow-workers, fellow-soldiers'. 


vv. 1-14. Warmikg against Judaism 

I. Finally] That is, 'for the rest', 'to turn to a new theme' (cf. 
Eph. vi. 10), as though to introduce the last great topic of the Epis- 
tle, the necessity for guarding the true Gospel against error (cf. 2 Cor. 
xiii. 11 ; ch. iv 8 ; 1 Thes. iv. 1 ; 2 Thes, iii. 1). Or, ' in conclusion '. 
Lightfoot thinks that St. Paul, in beginning to write his farewell greet- 
ings here (iii. 1), was interrupted and led to introduce a fresh subject 
(iii. 2, etc.), afterwards resuming his valedictory i)ijnnctions in iv. 8. 
According to this theory, the warnings against false doctrines form a long 
parenthesis, caused by some sndden turn of affairs. But, even if we regard 
the word as ushering in the parting messages, we need not suppose any 
interruption in the intentions of the writer, since we find other instances 
of prolonged farewells introduced by the .same expression (cf. 1 Thes. iv. 1). 


but for you it is safe. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil 2 

RejoiceJ Four times this grand ' Rejoice ' rings out full and clear in 
this Epistle (ii. 18 ; iii. 1 ; iv. 4, twice). It is, perhaps, the great message 
of the Letter, and the Apostle may well say 'Finally, rejoice in the 
Lord', for to be glad in Christ is the highest experience on earth, the 
believer's ne plus ultra. 

Some translate the word ' farewell ', on the hypothesis that St. Paul's, 
closing message was begun and interrupted here. And, truly, the happy 
Greek's ' adieu ' was ycLipere, ' Rejoice '. But the rendering of the text 
seems better, and is supported by ii. 18 and iv. 4, which both require 
'rejoice '. 

In this experience of holy Christian joy in God, we have something 
infinitely nobler and higher than the Mounam, or impassive and taciturn 
silence of the Hindu devotee. 

In the Lord] See note on ii. 19. 

To write the same things] What is intended by the phrase ' the same 

{a) Some have thought that St. Paul is referring to previous letters 
to the Philippian Church, or to his former personal conver- 
sations with the believers there. Accepting this interpretation, 
Conybearo and Howson translate * to repeat the same warn- 
ings (as I emphasized by word or letter aforetimes).' 
[h) Lightfoot considers the reference to be to some subject repeatedly 
treated in the present Epistle, and decides in favour of • exhor- 
tations to unity', which he understands the Apostle to be 
once more insisting on before he finally closes his letter, 
(c) Moule prefers to understand the words as alluding to the oft-»e- 
XJeated references to * the Lord's sovereign and vital connexion 
with His people', and paraphrases the words thus, 'to write 
the same things to you ; i.e., to reiterate that one thought that 
Christ is our glory and joy.' 
{d) Bengel and others, having regard to the immediate context, as 
well as to the recurrence again and again of the theme of ' joy ' 
in the Epistle, interpret the words as accentuating the duty 
and privilege of rejoicing. 
While all these suggestiDns are plausible and helpful, the last seems 
the simplest and most probable. It was not tedious to the Apostle to 
reiterate the happy message again and again ; and it would certainly make 
for their safety to act upon it. 'The joy of the Lord is your strength' 
(Neh. viii. 10 margin, stronghold), aye ! and your safety too. 

To me . . . not irksome, ... for you . . . safe] In the original 


3 workers, beware of the concision : for we are the circumcision, 

Greek, these words form a rhythmical line of poetry, and are probably a 
quotation from some Greek poet. For definite and undoubted poetical 
quotations by St. Paul, see Acts xvii. 28 ; 1 Cor. xv. 33 ; Tit. i. 12. We 
have thus the example of the great missionary Apostle affording us an 
excellent precedent for cultivating an acquaintance with, and making 
a right evangelistic use of, the classical and vernacular writings of India. 

Irksome 3 This word is only found in the New Testament here and in 
Matt. XXV. 26; Rom. xii. 11. In these last two passages, it is used in 
the sense of ' dilatory ', but here in the active sense of ' tedious, causing 
weariness or hesitation '. St. Paul never wearied of helping and encourag- 
ing the converts. 

Safe] This adjective, which comes originally from a root signifying 
' not liable to fall ', and so ' assured from danger ', is found elsewhere 
only in Acts xxi. 34 ; xxii. 30 ; xxv. 26 ; Heb. vi. 19 ; in which passages 
it carries the meaning of certain or sure. The corresponding noun occurs 
in Luke i. 1 ; Acts v. 23 ; 1 Thes. v. 3. 

Bengel's comment is ' spiritual joy affords the best of securities against 
errors, Jewish errors in particular. ' 

2. Beware of] Literally, 'see'; i.e., 'keep your eyes open', so as 
to be on your guard. For a similar use of the same verb see ]\Iatt. xxiv. 
A ; Mark iv. 24 ; xiii. 9 ; Luke viii. 18 ; xxi. 8 ; 1 Cor. viii. 9 ; Col. iv. 17 ; 
2 John 8 ; etc. 

The dogs] The dog, in Jewish eyes, was the type of uncleanness 
(see, e.g., Deut. xxiii. 18; Matt. vii. 6; 2 Pet. ii. 22 ; . Rev. xxii. 15.) 
They employed the term as one of contempt to designate the Gentiles, 
regarded as ceremonially impure (cf. Matt. xv. 26, 27), perhaps with 
special reference to their indiscriminate use of meats without distinc- 
tion between clean and unclean. 

It may possibly have been adopted by the Judaistic party as a term of 
reproach by which they designated their baptized, but uncircumcised, 
fellow-Christians. Here the Apostle turns the tables on the Judaists arbd 
retorts that they are the real 'dogs ', self-excluded by their pride from 
the Covenant blessings, seeking to satisfy themselves with the garbage 
of carnal ordinances and so losing the rich viands of the Father's table. 

In India, where the caste system has fostered similar notions of cere- 
monial impurity and taught men to despise their fellows, we Christians 
need to be on our guard not to think or call any man ' common or un- 
clean '. Humble-minded believers are the real aristocracy in God's sight, 
and the proud and high-minded have a low place in His regard. If we 
despise others as dogs, we shew ourselves, so runs the teaching of this 



who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ 

passage, to be the real dogs. Bengel, having in mind the Pharisaic 
party, well remarks ' Now they are called dogs, who are unwilling to 
becoTiie the (true) Israel of God. ' 

The evil workers] As the former title strikes at the Judaistic no- 
tions of ceremonial purity, so does this one at the Pharisaic idea of salva- 
tion by works. Their doctrine was ' works, works, works ', and was dia- 
metrically opposed to the Pauline teaching of Justification by Faith (see 
Rom. iii. 27, 2S ; iv. 2, 3, 4 ; xi. 6 ; Gal. ii. lG-21 ; etc). They are aptly 
described as ' workers ', or ' workmen ', but as ' evil workers ' (cf. 2 Cor. 
xi. 1.3, deceitful workers), for they were always busy on a bad business. 
The Party thus spoken of put forth great energy to win proselytes and to 
reduce the Gentile converts under the yoke of the law. Thus their work 
was evil alike in its aim and its results. 

Even religious zeal and so-called Church work may be evil, if it be not 
energized by the love of Christ and if it have not as its sole objective the 
glory of the living God. 

The concision] That is, in plain laiiguage, ' the mutilation ', or ' the 
gashing '. Having dealt stout blows at the caste pride and carnal ordi- 
nances of the Judaistic sect, St. Paul now proceeds to attack their doc- 
trine of circumcision. The force of the word which he here uses in 
parody of that doctrine will be best appreciated, if we remember that the 
corresponding verb is employed invariably in the LXX of those cuttings 
and gashings of the flesh, which were associated with heathen rites and 
therefore totally prohibited by the Mosaic law (see Lev. xxi. 5 ; 1 Kings 
xviii. 28; Is. xv. 2; etc). The Judaizers prided themselves on the 
correctness of their circumcision, and lo and behold ! it is seen to be 
only the grossest concision, the idolatrous gashings of the heathen. St. 
Paul plays on the word in order to bring home to them the grievousness 
of their offence in opposing the simplicity of the Gospel of the grace of 
God. Just as, before God, they are dogs, impure and unclean, because 
of their ungodly disregard of others, and this notwithstanding their close 
attention to the minutiae of ceremonial purity ; so they are gashed and 
mutilated Gentiles because of their un-Christian insistence on the out- 
ward rite of circumcision. 

Does not this verse convey the strongest possible warnings against the 
perils of a system of mere externalism ? It is possible to be very religious, 
and yet to be, in the sight of God, unclean, outcast, heathen, in the most 
awful meaning of the word. 

Spiritual religion is clearly shewn not to consist in ceremonial observ- 
ances, outward aetivities, carnal ordinances. It was possible for the 


4 Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh : though I myself 

divinely ordained rite of circumcision to degenerate into a harmful 
mutilation. It is, alas I equally possible for the holiest rites of the 
Gospel to become to us empty and injurious forms. 

3. We] The word is emphatic by position in the Greek. * Not they, 
but we, are the true circumcision, since we have sought and found purity 
of heart in Christ'. 

The circumcision] That is to say, ' we arc the truly-circumcised, the 
real Israel of God ' (Gal. vi. 15, IG). 

Even in the Old Testament the higher and moral significance of circum- 
cision was kept well in view, and repeatedly emphasized (Lev. xxvi. 41 ; 
Deut. X. IG ; xxx. 6 ; etc.). When we turn to the New Testament we find 
the greatest stress laid on the truth that spiritual circumcision alone 
avails before God (Rom. ii. 28, 29 ; Gal. vi. 15, IG ; Col. ii. 11). 

Who worship by the Spirit of God] In v. 2, we had a three-fold 
description of the votaries of carnal religion ; they are dogs, evil workers, 
the concision. 

In a similar manner, St. Paul presents us here with a three-fold view 
of true religion. 

And the first mark of true believers is this, they ' worship by the Spirit 
of God '. Their worship, and service (for the word covers both meanings), 
is in and by the energy of the Holy Ghost. The Apostle here uses the verb 
{Karpeveiv) which in the lips of Greek-speaking Jews would denote 
specially the temple service of Jerusalem. He says, in efiect, ' We 
Christians who hold fast by the Gospel of grace have the real worship, 
and it consists not in ritual observances but in spiritual service (John iv. 
23, 24) rendered to God by the Holy Spirit who liveth and w^orketh in us '. 

The contrast is seen to be complete. The Judaist worshipped God with 
the carnal ordinances and traditions of men ; the Christian renders Him a 
spiritual service, in heart and life, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 

For some interesting occurrences of this word ' worship ' see Luke i. 74 ; 
ii. 37 ; Acts xxvii. 28 ; Rom. i. 9 ; Rev. vii. 15 ; xxii. 3. For the expression 
• by the Spirit ' {irvevixcvTi) , see 

(a) Acts X. 38. Anointed by the Spirit. 
\b) Rom. viii. 14. Led by the Spirit. 

(c) Gal. V. 5. Waiting by the Spirit (for Christ's coming). 

[d) Gal. v. 16, 25. Walking by the Spirit. 
\e) Phil. iii. 3. Serving by the Spirit. 

Glory in Christ Jesus] Here we have the second mark of true Christians, 
they 'glory in Christ Jesus'. They have fresh reason every day for 
rejoicing in what He is and what He does for them. 


might have confidence even in the flesh : if any other man 
^thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I yet 

2 0v, ,'eemeth. . -t.i • i .1 -, n., .,^ 

more ; circumcised the eighth day, of the stock 5 

Glory] See notes on i. 26 ; ii. 16 ; where the corresponding noun is 
used. Render ' exult '. * It means a joy emphatically triumphant ' (Moule). 
Christ Jesus is the Christian's boast (See Jer. ix. 23, 24 : 1 Cor. i. 30, 31 ; 

2 Cor. X. 17. 

The Judaist gloried in the law (Rom. ii. 23), and vaunted his national 
and ritual privileges. The Christian glories in Christ Jesus, his commis- 
sioned, anointed, and all-sufficient Saviour (notice the order of the words 
Christ Jesus). As he draws on that Saviour's fulness, and derives fresh 
life and power from Him, he is constrained to raise an exulting hymn of 
praise, a Hallelujah chorus of rejoicing gratitude. 

Have no confidence in the flesh] xlccording to the literal order of the- 
original, ' Not in the flesh are confident ' (though we are confident in. 
something else). 

This is the third mark of bojia fide Christians, they ' have no confidence- 
in the flesh '. Their reliance is in Christ and Him alone. 

' The flesh ' is a word which is written large in the Pauline Epistles 
(see, e.g., Rom. vii. 18 ; viii. 4-7, 12, 13 ; Gal. v. 16-19, 24 ; vi. 8 ; Eph. ii. 

3 ; Col. ii. 11, 13, etc.). 

It means sometimes that ' state of man in which sin predominates ' ; 
and, at other times, ' anything other than God taken by man as his trust 
and strength ' (Moule). 

For practical purposes, we may understand it here to denote the ' self- 
life,' considered as apart from God, with all those efforts and works which 
are inspired by self-will and wrought by self-energy. Defined negatively,. 
* the flesh ' would be said to be ' everything which is not of the Spirit of 

The man of faith places*no trust in anything which he is or which he- 
can do. He casts himself upon the grace and power of God. 

Once more we notice the completeness of the contrast. The Judaist 
placed his confidence in circumcision and so-called ' works of merit ', the 
outcome of his owm will and efforts. 

The Christian abjures all works of his owm, as a ground of acceptance 
with God, and places his trust, only and altogether, in the merits of the 

Thus we see that the three great characteristics of true Christianity 
are these, (a) Spiritual worship, (b) Exulting faith in Christ Jesus, 
(c) Complete renunciation of all self-righteousness. 

Compare these with the distinctive marks of Hinduism and IsUm, the 


of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews ; 

very essence of which systems is salvation by works of human merit ; and 
is not the conclusion inevitable that our holy Faith is separated from all 
other creeds as far as heaven is from earth ? 

The Apostle now proceeds to count up his ' flesh ' advantages, only to 
abjure them all in one great renunciation. It will be seen that his ' gains ' 
(v. 7), from a Jewish point of view, were seven-fold. 

4. Though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh] Literally, 
' though having myself confidence, etc.'. He places himself, for the 
time being, in order to enforce his argument, on the Jewish vantage 
ground, and speaks as one of the Judaistic party. His one object is 
to convince them of their error. 

This noun ' co nfidence ' is peculiar to St. Paul in the New Testament. 
He uses it again in 2 Cor. i. 15 ; iii. 4 ; viii. 22 ; x. 2 ; Eph. iii. 12. 

If any other ... I more] The great Apostle had an irreproachable 
position, according to all Jewish standards, as to race and birth and 
sect. He could out-Jew the Jew, and out-Pharisee the Pharisee. But 
te claims these honours only to lay them in the dust before the feet of 
Christ, and there abandon them as worse than useless. 

5. Circumcised the eighth day] This is gain number one, the pride 
of covenant-status. Literally rendered, it runs ' As to circumcision, 
an eight day (child) '. 

He was not an outsider, but within the ecclesiastical pale of cove- 
nanted grace. All the blessings of the Jewish Church were his by right. 

Moreover, whereas the sons of Ishmael were circumcised in their 
thirteenth year, and proselytes in mature age, he was a true son of the 
Covenant, admitted to its benefits in early infancy, as befitted one of 
Abraham's line and lineage (Gen, xvii. 12). To the pakka Jew, this was 
a real bit of merit, eagerly prized and clung to. 

Of the stocli of Israel] Here is gain number two, the pride of race 
or caste. 

A man might be truly circumcised, and yet only be a proselyte or 
the son of proselytes. Here, however, is no alien graft, but one de- 
scended from the original stock. True Jewish blood flowed untainted in 
his veins ! He could claim to be, in the purest meaning of the word, an 
Israelite. And what dignity attached to that name ! ' Israelite, the 
augustest title of all ; the absolute name, which expressed the whole 
dignity and glory of a member of the theocratic nation' (Trench). In 
the eyes of the Judaizers the Israelites were the Brahmans of the Chris- 
tian community. 


as touching the law, a Pharisee; as touchiag zeal, persecuting | 
the church ; as touching the righteousness which is in the law, 

Of the tribe of Benjamin] So stands gain number three, the pride of 
family or lineage. 

He was a scion not only of the lordly caste of Israel, but also of one of 
the most notable sub-sections of that caste. It were possible to be an 
Israelite, and yet to be born in a renegade, or unworthy gotra or division 
of the race. But no ! it was his proud boast that he sprang from the 
faithful and famous tribe of Benjamin. 

Benjamin was the son of Israel's true spouse, Rachel, and not the child 
of one of the maidservants. He alone, of all the twelve patriarchs, was 
born in the land of promise (Gen. xxxv. 16-18). It was the glory of the 
tribe of Benjamin that they had furnished the first king of Israel, Saul, 
the Apostle's own great namesake. From them, too, had arisen one of 
the nation's illustrious Judge deliverers (Jadg. iii. 15). They could 
boast, too, that it was one of themselves, the statesman Mordecai, who 
had saved the whole race from extinction (Esther ii. 5 ; x. 3). And had 
they not remained loyal to the house of David, they alone of all the out- 
side tribes, at the time of the great disruption ? Add to this that they 
were a warrior tribe, brave and courageous (Gen. xlix. 27), and that (as 
has been well pointed oat) ' after thee, Benjamin ' was one of Israel's 
battle cries (Judg. v. 14; Hos. v. 8), audit will be seen that it was not 
without reason that St. Paul felt it a glorious thing to be a Benjamite. 

A Hebrew of Hebrews] This is gain number four, and it breathes vvith 
the pride of patriotism. 

Saul of Tarsus might have been a true Israelite and the scion of a noble 
house, and yet have followed Hellenistic fashions, adopting the Greek 
language and Gentile civilization affected by so many of the Jews of the 
dispersion. But here again he stands above suspicion. He was a Hebrew 
through and through, as well in the New Testament usage of that term 
as in the Old Testament sense of the word, retaining his national lan- 
guage, manners, and customs. In oth3r words he was intensely patri- 
otic in every fibre of his being. 

As touching the law, a Pharisee] So he expresses gain number five. 

His was the pride of orthodoxy, over and above his other merits. 

As regards 'law', whether considered in the abstract as general rules 
and principles of action, or in the concrete (the law of Moses) as a 
directory of ritual and conduct, he was attached to the strictest sect of 
orthodox Jews. Given that a man's pedigree and patriotism are beyond 
reproach, it is still possible for him to be lax in the observances of religion. 
Not so Saul of Tarsus. He was religious among the most religious. The 


7 found blameless. Howbeit what things were 

' ■^""' ' 3 gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. 

Pharisees have been fitly called ' the enthusiasts of later Judaism '. 
They were the votaries of legal precision and the pandits of ritual 
observances. They had elaborated with the most scrupulous care all the 
niceties of an intricate ceremonialism. And even in such an inner circle 
of ecclesiastics, Saul had been prominently consx^icuous (see Acts xxiii. 
6; xxvi. 5 ; Gal. i. 14). 

6. As touching zeal, persecuting the church] Here we behold gain 
number six. The Apostle claims to possess the pride of religious zeal. 

He was a bigot among Jewish bigots, a burning zealot, hunting down 
and persecuting those whom he regarded as schismatics and sectarians. 
He cared enough for that old religion to fight, and fight fiercely, for it. 
It is conceivable that he might have added to his pure descent and patri- 
otic spirit a correct orthodoxy, and yet have failed to be aggressive in his 
religion. But Saul of Tarsus was not one to do anything by halves. He 
carried fire and sword into the camp of all those whom he regarded as 
traitors to the Jewish cause. In this way he added an uncompromising 
aggressive zeal to his other claims to be considered a Jew of Jews. 

As touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blame- 
less] So he expresses gain number seven. He can claim the pride of 

The sentence reads literally ' In respect of righteousness which (con- 
sists) in law, having become blameless '. That is, he was blamelessly 
correct, from the legal standpoint, in his observance of the formal pre- 
cepts of the INIosaic code. If righteousness were to be had by the law, 
Saul of Tarsus had it ! 

This was the very acme of his merits, to Jewish eyes. He might have 
possessed all the six qualities which have been enumerated, and yet have 
come short somehow in respect of legal righteousness, as they understood 
it. But no ! he had gone in for the whole thing, and omitted nothing 
which could assure him a place of highest merit in the Jewish Church. 
None could point out fault or flaw in his strict and conscientious dis- 
charge of all the prescribed duties of their religion. He had been a very 
paragon of Hebrew piety. 

Blameless] See note on ii. 15. Saul the Pharisee was unblamcd by his 
co-religionists. He was admittedly a true exponent of all that was best 
in their race and creed. 

Thus this intrepid Jew could fearlessly lay claim to pride of covenant 
status, pride of race, pride of family, pride of country, pride of orthodoxy, 
pride of religous zeal, and pride of self-righteousness. In other words, 


Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency 8 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I 

he could boast a ' full sacramental position ' (Moule) ; an irreproach- 
able pedigree; domestic traditions pure and strict; a commendable 
conservatism in his love of race and country ; a place in the inner circle 
of the strictly orthodox ; a burning zeal for the creed which he professed ; 
a faultless observance of all the minutiae of religion. 

Here, then, we have a man who, to use Indian language, was born and 
bred in the very highest caste, and in one of the noblest gotras of that 
caste, and whose position in the social scale and scrupulosity in the 
strict performance of all the customs of his fathers were absolutely above 
suspicion. He was fired, too, by love of country and a contempt for all 
things foreign. In short, he may well represent Indians of the most 
orthodox and conservative type. He would have passed muster with the 
strictest pandits of the day ! 

What will he do with all these supposed advantages when he hears 
and obeys the call of Christ ? Will he refuse to part with them ? or, while 
yielding up some of them, at least cling to as many of them as possible ? 
Let him tell us in his own words. 

7. What things were gain to me] Literally ' whatever things were 
to me gains '. Notice the plural ' gains'. He has been enumerating his 
advantages, one by one, like a miser eagerly counting up his coins. 
Every item likely to attract Jewish admiration has been duly paraded, 
until the writer is seen, from the Hebrew point of view, to be the proud 
possessor of a whole wealth of riches. 

Gain] For this word, see the note on ch. i. 21. 

These have I counted loss] There is emphasis on the pronoun 
' these '. He has a good look at his gains, so to speak, before deliberately 
renouncing them for ever. 

Loss] This word is purposely placed, in the Greek, at the end of the 
entire sentence (These I have counted, on account of the Christ, — 
LOSS), for the sake of greater emphasis. It is as though the writer 
paused to choose, with calm deliberation, the word which was to convey 
his final verdict on the gains he was renouncing. He can find no better 
term wherewith to express his true estimate of them than this word 

We must note that, in contrast to the plural form of the preceding 
v/ord, this one is in the singular, loss, not losses. St. Paul masses 
together all his proud advantages, once viewed as gains, under one 
single head as loss. What a radical change must have taken place 


suffered the loss of all things, and do count them 
9 '^ ■ " ^- |^^|. 4 dung, that I may gain Christ, and be found 

in the moral being of the man before he could take his pen and ^\rite 
LOSS in large letters across that list of reputed gains ! This noun 
loss, outside this and the following verses, is only found, in the New 
Testament, in Acts xxvii. 10, 21. The reference suggests that the Apostle 
has made as complete a wreck of all his old self-righteousness as 
that which befell the cargo and tackling of the vessel in which he sailed 
towards Rome ! 

Are we, in India, as ready as was the Apostle Paul to write loss 
over all that we used to prize as birth-status and caste advantages ? 
Why cling to the titles and customs of caste, when Christ presents 
Himself to us as our ' all in all ' ? 

For Christ] Rather, 'on account of the Christ'. The nev/ is better! 
St. Paul has discovered now that the crucified Jesus is none other than 
the glorious Messiah, triumphant, exalted, the King of kings and Lord of 
lords. For the sake of the supreme treasure, who would not throw away 
his little baubles? We see here that a true vision of the Christ, with a full 
appreciation of His person and work, His claims and glories, is the surest 
way to estimate, at their proper value, the paltry gains and accepted 
standards of the worid. Therefore let us ' consider Him', and, in the 
light of His glory, all else will seem dim and vain. 

For the full force of the preposition 'for' see note on next verse. 

8. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss] Did St. Paul regret 
his former choice ? This verse is the reply. He hastens to confirm and 
extend the decision of the past. 

• Nay moreover (such is the force of the particles) I count (now, at this 
present moment ; not only ' have I counted ' in the past ; v. 7) all things 
(in addition to the ' these things ' of v. 7) to be loss, etc.'. 

So far from regretting the step he had taken, he is willing to go 
further 'still, even all lengths, in the direction of renunciation for a 
fuller possession of Christ his siimmum honum. Weighed in the 
scales against Him, all else is nothing. His reputation ; his intellectual 
brilliancy; his missionary sufferings; let them all count as loss in 
view of his Lord's surpassing glory. We should not calculate how 
little we can give up for Christ , rather let us seek how much we can 
renounce for Him. 

For the excellency of the knowledge] This may be rendered in either 
of two ways. 

(ft) ' On account of the super-eminence of the knowledge, etc.'. 
(6) ' By reason of the super-eminence of the knowledge, etc,'. 


5 Or, not ij^ \{mi, 3 not having a righteousness of mine 

having as mi/ . , . f i ^ i^ i. i.'u i. 

righteou»ness own, cveu that which IS 01 the law, but that 
qnhe law^ '' which is through faith in Christ, the righteous- 

The former of these implies that he counts all things to be loss in order 
to obtain the surpassing knowledge of Christ ; while the latter suggests 
ttiat the knowledge of Christ so completely transcends all other objects 
of desire that they are dimmed into insignificance in comparison. 

The preposition is the same one used in the preceding verse and 
both there and here is capable of this two-fold explanation. 

The meaning, on the whole, seems to be that St. Paul esteemed, 
moment by moment, all things as loss in view of the immeasurable superi- 
ority of a personal acquaintance with Christ and a constant appropriation, 
by faith, of His fulness. To know Christ, in the proper sense of the 
word, is to enjoy Him. 

Excellency] The corresponding verb occurs in iv. 7, ' surpasseth all 

Christ Jesus my Lord] The full title is purposely given, and follows 
suitably on the word ' super-eminence '. 

The Apostle reverently lays the hand of personal claim on his dear 
Master, 'my Lord'. He had indeed counted all things loss. But his 
hands were not empty ; he had gained Christ as his very own. 

See the notes on ch. i. 1, 3 for his relationship to his Divine 

For whom] The preposition is the same as in the previous phrases 
'for Christ' and 'for the excellency', and may bear the same double 

I suffered the loss of all things] The tense of the verb (Aorist) 
points to the crisis of his conversion, when he took a new stand and 
embarked upon a new life. It involved rejection by his old friends and 
ostracism by the Sanhedrim. The verb ' suffered the loss ' (one word in 
the Greek) is cognate with the noun ' loss ' above, and its use here in the 
passive voice suggests that, just as he had counted all things loss for 
Christ, so he had been made to feel the loss in the obloquy and opposition 
which ensued. We may render ' I was mulcted of my all '. It was no 
merely rhetorical statement that he ' counted all things loss '. He had 
to live out the consequences of his choice in actual experience. 

Do count] The same verb as above, in the same tense. ' I count all 
things to be loss ' ; ' I count them but dung '. It was not only a past 
experience, but a present and constant realization. 


6 Gr. upon. ness whlcli is of God ^ by faith : that I may know 

Dung] This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Two 
meanings are attached to it. 

{a) 'Refuse ' (R. V. margin), i.e., 'the leavings of a meal', or ' the 
food thrown away from the table'. This interpretation fol- 
lows the opinion common among the Greeks which derived 
it from a compound expression meaning ' to cast anything 
to dogs '. 
The Apostle was willing to throw all his proud pretensions ' to the 

dogs ' for Christ's sake, as useless refuse. 
May there not be a side reference here to the Judaizing party, 
the dogs of V. 2 ? 
(6) ' Ordure, ' the excrementitious matter rejected as worthless by 
the body. This is probably the true derivation of the word, 
but both meanings are allowable. 
It would be difficult to find figures more fully calculated to express the 
complete abandonment which St. Paul had made of his caste pride and 
self- righteousness. 

That I may gain Christ] The verb corresponds exactly with the 
noun of V. 7. He does not regard his renunciation as involving a loss, in 
the real sense of the word, but as bringing a great gain. Infinite profit is 
the result of his choice. The great gain, Christ, enormously outweighs 
those paltry gains which he had once prized so dearly. In Christ are 
contained ' all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ', all the riches of 
grace and glory. If we possess the Blesser, all His blessings will be ours. 

The verb ' gain ' is found again in INIatt. xvi. 26 ; xviii. 15 ; xxv. 16, 17, 
20, 22 ; Acts xxvii. 21 ; 1 Cor. ix. 19, -20, 21, 22 ; Jas. iv. 13 ; 1 Pet. iii, 1 ; 
and these passages will well repay study and classification. 

May gain] The tense need present no difficulty. Moule's explana- 
tion seems both simple and sufficient, viz., that the Apostle is ' thinking 
the past over again.' He has been referring to the crisis of his conver- 
sion, and speaks from that standpoint, ' I suffered the loss of all things 
that I might gain Christ ' ; though he has just paused to add in a paren- 
thesis ' and I do still count them as dung '. Cf. Matt. xix. 1-3 ; 1 Tim. i. 
16 ; 1 John iii. 5 ; where a similar construction is used. 

9. And be found in Him] 'found in Him', that is, at any given 
moment, both here and hereafter, both now and for ever. 

In Him] as our source of life and sphere of being and doing, as the : 
branches abide in the vine (Joh. xv. 1-8), as the members are united with 
the head (1 Cor. xii. 12). 


him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship 

A righteousness of my own] The word 'righteousness' often con- 
notes special ideas in the Pauline writings. In particular, it stands 
prominently to view in his great doctrine of Justification by Faith. It 
wdll be found, in many passages, to denote a meritorious title to acceptance 
in the eyes of the law of God (see Rom. iii. 10-26 ; iv. 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13 ; v. 
9, 17-19 ; X. 3-10 ; etc., etc.). 

The Apostle here clearly repudiates all claim to be so accepted on any 
ground of his own personal merits or works. No righteousness of his 
own exists. There is nothing in himself on which a holy God could look 
with favour and approval. He has no ground for acceptance apart from 
Jesus Christ. 

This doctrine cannot be too strongly insisted on in a country where 
the non-Christian religions are all based upon works of human merit. 

Which is of the law] Better ' (namely) that of (or derived from) 
law '. We may regard this in two ways. 

(a) The Mosaic law, as a code, to be observed in all its details in 

order to gain acceptance in the sight of God. Such was the 
Pharisees ' idea of righteousness, and, in pursuing it, they 
lamentably failed (Rom. x, 3). 

(b) Law generally, considered as a divine universal code, carrying 

with it the stern promise ' Do this and thou shalt live '. 
Righteousness would then consist in such a perfect com- 
pliance v/ith all the demands of this ' universal covenanting 
precept ' (Moule) as would entitle man to God's favour. This 
interpretation may be considered supported by such passages 
as Rom. iii. 20-31 ; Gal. iii. 24 ; etc., in which the word law is 
used normally without the defiiiite article. 
The latter interpretation will be seen to be an extension and ampli- 
fication of the former one : but both are true. Any such righteousness as 
man claims apart from Christ must be considered as derived from law 
and from a personal conformity with the principles and requirements of 
such law, whether it be regarded as prescribed in written codes, or as 
an unwritten system which man endeavours to carry out on his own 
initiative and in his own strength. 

The Apostle emphatically disclaims all righteousness of this type. In 
the light of the glorious holiness of the living Lord, he had seen the utter 
worthlessness of human pretensions to the possession of either intrinsic 
or acquired merit. 

That which is through faith in Christ] Here ' Christ ' is clearly held 
up to view as the object of faith and the cause of our acceptance before 


of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; 

God ; while ' faith ' is represented as the means by which Kis merits 
are appropriated and received. 

The Christian believer's righteousness rests entirely on the person and 
work of the Redeemer, and is the result of claiming, in trustful faith, the 
merits of His precious and vicarious death (cf. Eom. iii. 21-2S ; v. 1, 2, 
9-11 ; Gal. ii. 16 ; ili. 11-14 ; Eph. i. 7 ; ii. 8. 9 ; Col. i. 20-22 ; etc.). The 
Saviour's perfect righteousness is imputed to the man who, despair- 
ing of all efforts of his own to find favour in the sight of God, casts 
himself unreservedly, in the abandonment of faith, upon the merits of 
his Lord's propitiatory work. Through those merits he finds acceptance 
and forgiveness, and is reckoned righteous. From that moment begins 
a life of sanctification, in which the righteousness of Christ, His holiness 
of character, is continually imparted to him by the power and operation 
of the Holy Ghost. 

Faith is best defined as personal trust. It implies a full reliance 
on the word of God and the redemptive work of Christ, a personal trust 
in a personal Saviour. Under one figure, it is the complete turning 
away from self to lean only and altogether upon God. Under another 
figure, it is the hand by which we accept the divine gifts. 

The righteousness which is of God] Or, ' which is (derived) from 
God '. Literally ' which is out of God '. 

Notice the direct antithesis to the former clause of the verse. The 
Christian's righteousness is ' not derived from law ' (^V voiiov) ; ^ut it 
is 'derived from God' (eV Oeov). The Father's love, free and un- 
deserved, is its originating cause, as the Son's redemptive work is its 
meritorious cause. Thus the righteousness is divine, being from God, 
through God, and in God ; atid there is not an atom of human merit 
in it. Being thus divine, it is perfect, faultless, trustworthy. 

By faith] Literally ' upon faith ', i.e., * on the condition or terms of 
faith ' (cf. Acts iii. IG ; R. V. margin). 

The two references to faith in this verse are seen, therefore, to present 
the double truth that our acceptance before God is alike on the condition 
of our faith and through the receptive act of faith. God bestows the great 
gift of righteousness on the sincere believer, putting it into the hand of 
his faith, and the condition consists in the willing stretching forth 
of that hand, in obedience to God's invitation, for a glad acceptance 
of the gift. 

10. That 1 may know Him] This verse, as Moule points out, may 
be said to deal with sanctification, as verse nine deals with justificatimi. 


if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the 11 

The force of the construction is ' in order to know Him '. It resumes 
the thought of v. 8, 'for the surpassingness of the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus my Lord '. 

The great end which St. Paul had in view in renouncing every shred 
of self-righteousness and in embracing God's revealed righteousness was 
this, — ' the spiritual knowledge of Christ and of His power to sanctify 
and glorify by assimilation to Himself' (Moule). 

The verb translated ' know ' relates to the knowledge of recognition 
rather than to that of inherent perception. It carries the ideas of 
'recognize, feel, appropriate' (Lightfoot). 

To know Him] This phrase contains in itself a very summary of true 
religion. All real Christian experience consists in ' kiiowing ' Christ and 
drawing on His infinite resources (cf. John xvii. 3). The tense of the verb 
(Aorist) is best represented by the rendering ' In order that I may come 
to know Him ' (ashy some decisive act). Cf. Acts xxii. 14 ; 1 Cor. ii. 14 ; 
Eph. iii. 19 ; where the same form is used. It suggests to us that we 
may be brought into a position of * knowing ' Christ, as perhaps we never 
knew Hmi before, in some crisis of special adjustment, followed by a life- 
long process of growing acquaintance with Him. Since His love and grace 
and power ever surpass our fullest comprehension and our highest ex- 
perience of them, the Christian's life of faith may be represented fitly as a 
long series of new and ever clearer insights into the plenitude of Christ ; 
a constant and repeated ' getting to know ' what He is and what He can 
do for the soul which trusts in Him. Thus our experience should be one 
of ' frequent glad surprises ' as we ' come to know ', from time to time, 
more and more of the 'unsearchable riches of Christ '. The man who in 
this way ' follows on to know the Lord ' is like a mountaineer who, as he 
climbs from ridge to ridge, ever pursuing his upward course, is gladdened 
by fresh and wider views of the glorious landscape outspread before him. 

Be it observed that this is not the dreamy knowledge of the mystic. 
Still less is it the cold and speculative Jnanam of Hindu philosophy. It 
is that warm, stimulating, sanctifying knowledge of a personal Saviour 
which transforms our every action and assimilates our character to His. 
Its effect on St. Paul's life and conduct is seen in the vigorous verses 
which immediately follow. 

Let us Christians of India seek to realize that true religion consists not 
merely in accepting the creed of Christianity but in ' knowing Him ' 
with the knowledge which makes holy. 

And the power of His resurrection] How full of meaning are these 
words to the believer ! The Resurrection of our Lord has brought us life 


12 dead. Not that I have ah^eady obtained, or am ah-eady made 

(John xiv. 19) ; peace (John xx. 19, 20) ; hope {1 Pet. i. 3) ; holiness (Rom. vi. 
4-14). In other words, the Resurrection is to us, 

(a) The evidence of our justification. Rom. iv. 24, 25 ; 1 Cor. xv. 


(b) The assurance of our glorification. 1 Cor. xv. 20-23 ; Phil. iii. 20, 

21 ; 1 Thes. iv. 14-18. 

(c) The pledge of our sanctification. Rom. v. 10 ; vi 4-7 ; viii. 11 ; 

2 Cor. iv 10 ; Eph. ii. 5 ; Col. iii. 1-4 ; etc. 

(d) The guarantee of our power for service. John vii. 39 ; xx. 22 ; 

Acts i. 8;ii. 31 ; etc. 

In particular, the teaching of the Epistles written during the first 
Roman imprisonment lays stress on the truth of the Resurrection of 
Christ as bringing us strength for holiness and power for service. 

The power of His Resurrection prevails over death, sin, the world, the 
flesh, and the devil. It means victory all along the line. 

Before this ' power ' stones of difficulty rolled away (Mark xvi. 4j ; 
locked doors opened (John xx. 19) ; unbelief fled (John xx. 20, 28) ; the 
whole world was stirred (Acts xvii. 3, 6). There is no limit to the possi- 
bilities of that ' power ' in the life of the believer (Eph. i. 19-23). Here 
is a talisman against temptation, trial, and despondency, ' the power of 
His Resurrection '. 

In a land like this, where the popular cultus consists chiefly in the 
worship of deities who are dead men apotheosized, and tHe religion of the 
more thoughtful lies in the direction of pantheistic speculations, it 
behoves us to proclaim with no uncertain sound the Gospel of the Resur- 
rection, and to show men, by our preaching and example, that Christ lives 
to-day and that we derive from Him, moment by moment, the power to 
live a holy life. 

The fellowship of His sufferings] Cf. 2 Cor. i. 5-7 ; Col. i. 24 ; 1 Pet. 
iv. 13. This 'partnership' in Christ's sufferings means 'carrying the 
cross ' for Him in the sense of ' bearing His reproach ' (Heb. xiii. 13). 
It is the daily following in the steps of Him Who endured the ' gain- 
saying of sinners against Himself (Heb. xii. 3) at the severest cost 
of pain, mental and physical. 

A study of the following passages will shew that the normal meaning 
of the word ' cross ' (as it relates to the Christian's cross-bearing) in 
the New Testament is the shame and suffering which befall him for 
Christ's sake and the Gospel's ; Matt. x. 36-38 ; Luke ix. 22, 23 ; xiv. 
25-27 ; Gal. v. 11 ; vi. 12; Heb. vi. G; xii. 2; xiii. 13; cf. Acts v. 41 ; 
I Cor. iv. 13. 


7 Or, n/ipre- 

hend, seeing that perfect I but I piTss Oil, if SO be that I may ^ ap 

ttig iippre- 

(lUoiwnguppre. pi^eljeiid that for which also I was apprehended 

This fact is well illustrated by the usage of the word ' suffering ' in St. 
Peter's First Epistle, where we may learn, beyond a doubt, that the 
' cross-sufferings ' of the Christian are those which come in consequence 
of a wholehearted and conscientious obedience to Christ and His word, 
without regard to the standards and opinions of the world. We suffer, 
in this sense, 

{a) 'For conscience toward God', 1 Pet. ii. 19, 20. (&) 'For righte- 
ousness' sake', iii. 14. (c) 'For well-doing ', iii. 17. {d) 'For the name 
of Christ ', iv. 13-15. [e) ' According to the will of God ', iv. 19. Cf. note 
oni. 29. 

We understand, therefore, that participation in the sufferings of Christ 
involves a deep experience of union with Him in that contradiction, 
contumely, and opposition, which are sure to be the lot of those who ' will 
live godly ' in this ' present evil age ' . 

Lightfoot's note is worth quoting. ' The participation in Christ's 
sufferings partly follows upon and partly precedes the " power of His 
resurrection." It follows as the practical result on life; it precedes, 
as leading up to the full and final appreciation of this. power.' 

This is true in experience. We die (in the metaphorical sense) to live ; 
and we live to die. 

Becoming conformed unto His death] Moule well remarks ' the 
immediate thought is that of spiritual harmony with the dying Lord's 
state of will.' Cf. 2 Cor. iv. 10. 

Whilst we can have no partnership in the vicarious sufferings of Christ 
as a propitiation for sin, we have a very real interest and share in the 
meaning and results of that. His precious death ; for we were crucified 
with Him (Gal. ii. 20 ; v. 24 ; vi. 14) ; we died with Him (Rom. vi. 8 ; 
Col. ii. 20) ; and it is ours to realize, by faith, in experience, what God 
has declared to be true in fact and doctrine. This realization will 
take us to Gethsemane, for the renunciation of self-will, however painful 
the experience may be. It will take us further, to Calvary, there to 
reckon ourselves dead, in the death of our dear Lord, to the flesh and 
to the world. It will lead us, moreover, to accept, day by day, that 
position of which Christ's death is the example and type, viz., the attitude 
of perfect surrender to the divine will and of non-response to everything 
which is not well pleasing to God. 

The verb ' becoming conformed ' a compound of the word * form ' 
{fiop4>rj) in ii. 7, occurs only in this passage, but its corresponding adjec- 
tive is found in Rom. viii. 29 ; Phil. iii. 21. It is striking to find a double 


13 8 Many an- by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not my- 

cient author- \^ , n n i . 

ities omit yet. Self ^ yet to have apprehended : but one thing 

occurrence of so unusual a word in the same chapter ! ' Conformed 
to His death', v. 10. 'Conformed to His glory', v. 21. If we desire 
the latter, we must first experience the former. The tense *of the verb 
(present participle) indicates a continual process of growing conformity. 
Pride and worldly-mindedness, in any Christian, are plain contra- 
dictions of this position ' conformed unto His death.' 

n. If by any means I may attain unto] The Apostle uses 'language 
of contingency' when emphasizing the believer's duty (cf. 1 Cor. ix. 
24-27), but this does not involve the least uncertainty a^ to the final issue 
{Rom. viii. 31-39; 2 Tim. i. 12 ; iv. 6-8; etc.). God's grace in the be- 
liever's preservation and the Christian's duty of constant perseverance 
run through the New Testament like two parallel lines. Both doctrines 
must be duly emphasized. But. though God's sovereign grace on the one 
side, and man's will and duty on the other side, seem to our present 
sight like widely-separated mountain peaks, we shall find one day that 
both alike have their base on the same everlasting rock. 

Since the final glory is still future to the Christian, he may fairly speak 
of it as not yet his in actual possession and enjoyment, though he enter- 
tains no doubt, in his inmost soul, that, on the authority of God's own 
word, his title to it is validly secured and his portion in it well assured, 
(see John x. 28, 29 ; 1 Pet. i. 4, 5 ; 1 John iii. 1, 2 ; vv. 20, 21 ; etc.). The 
language of modest hope is by no means inconsistent with convictions 
of glad certainty. 

The resurrection from the dead] This particular word (a compound 
of the usual term for ' resurrection ' and the preposition ' out of ') is not 
found elsewhere in the New Testament. But an equivalent phrase is 
sometimes used (Luke xx. 35 ; Acts iv. 2 ; 1 Pet. i. 3). 

Holy Scripture distinguishes between the general resurrection of the 
dead for judgment and the resurrection of the saints to life and glory (see 
Dan. xii. 2 ; John v. 29 ; Actsxxiv. 15 ; Rev. xx. 4, 5,0, 12, 13). The latter 
of these, which is literally a resurrection (of the saints) from out of the 
(other) dead (1 Thes. iv. 16), and which is variously styled 'the first 
• resurrection', ' the resurrection of life', and 'the resurrection .-of the 
just ', is undoubtedly referred to here. The Apostle's hope was fixed on 
that glorious time when the ' trump of God ' shall sound and those who 
'sleep in Jesus' shall awake to everlasting glory. He has the same 
blessed hope in view in vv. 20, 21, verses which throw light on thQ 
meaning of the present passage. To have a place in that ' first resurrec- 
tion ', to share in its triumph, to exchange ' the body of humiliation ' 


I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and 

for • the body of glory ', this was to him, as he wrote, the goal of his 
ambition and the climax of his bliss. 

Some have held the opinion that a still more special and exclusive 
resurrection is intended here, arising again of certain peculiarly qualified 
and privileged saints, who, from the circumstance of their having watched 
constantly for Christ's appearing, or on account of abnormal attainments 
in holiness, will be found entitled to a sort of initial resurrection. Accord- 
ing to this interpretation, it was St. Paul's ambition to be numbered in 
that select company. But this opinion is open to serious objection, and it 
certainly has no clear warranty of Scripture. 

12. Not that I have already obtained] Quite literally, ' not that I already 
received '. The tense (Aorist) points back to some definite epoch of time, 
and there is little doubt that the time in question is that of his con- 

The object to the verb ' obtained ' is not exi^ressed but understood. We 
may supply either ' the resurrection of the dead ' or ' the prize ' which 
is spoken of in the verses which follow. 

The sense clearly is ' at my conversion I received forgiveness of sins : 
but I did not receive the final crown of glory. I received the free gift of 
eternal life ; but I did not receive the resurrection body. That resur- 
rection and that crown are still future. I shall receive them but they 
are not yet in my grasp. And so I press forward and I follow on '. 

Thus there is no ring of doubt about the passage. It is the simple 
admission of an obvious fact. The prize is not yet in our hands, and 
so we must still keep the runner's course. 

Or am already made perfect] The perfect tense of the verb points to 
a completed action with results continued in the present, ' not as though 
I were now already perfected '. 

The passage is usually explained as relating to moral perfection. ' The 
process was incomplete which was to develop his being for the life of 
glory' (Moule). The work of transformation was still going on (Rom. 
xii. 2). He was still being * changed into the , . . image, from glory to 
glory ' (2 Cor. iii. 18). Not yet had the master sculptor, with His uner- 
ring chisel, done the last strokes which were to produce a perfect symme- 
try in the Apostle. 

This explanation is true. Moral perfection, in the absolute sense of 
the word, was as truly in the future, for St. Paul, as the ' prize ' which 
he had set before him. Real perfection will not be ours till we receive 
the resurrection-body (v. 21). 


14 stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on 

It is perhaps worth noticing, however, that the same verb is used, in a 
few passages, of something like official or ministerial perfection (Luke xiii. 
32 ; Heb. ii. 10 ; v. 9). Our Lord was morally perfect, from first to last, 
but these texts show that- He had to qualify for office, to become 
ministerially perfect, by certain experiences essential to His Messianic 
character and by the discipline of life. 

If such a thought is admissible here, it admirably suits the context. 
' I am not yet " perfected " as a runner in my ministerial course, for part 
of the " path " lies still ahead. I have not yet " reached the goal." There 
are still souls to be won before I wear the crown of life.' This would 
harmonize, too, with Acts xx. 24, in which St. Paul uses the same verb 
(though in the active voice), ' That I may accomplish my course and the 
ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.' 

Very healthy, stimulating and invigorating are the words which follow. 
It is not the language of doubt or uncertainty or despair. There is a clear 
and joyous ring about the whole which cheers us on our way and bids us 
brace ourselves together and strain every nerve in our eager progress 
towards the final goal. ' I PRESS ON '. ' I STKETCH FORWARD '. 

I press on] The present tense deserves attention, ' I am pressing on ', 
moment by moment. 

The runner's race is a favourite metaphor with St. Paul (Acts xx. 24; 
1 Cor. ix. 24-27 ; Gal. ii. 2 ; v. 7 ; 2 Tim. iv. 7). This verb, which means 
to 'pursue', as a hunter the chase, is usually translated 'follow after' 
in R. v., except an passages where the sense requires 'persecute'. The 
Apostle has already employed it in v. 6, ' persecuting the Church '. Be- 
foretime, he had ' pursued ' Christians to hunt them down ; now he 
'pursues' the prize, and, in the pursuit, strives earnestly to make men 

We are bidden to ' follow after' hospitality (Rom. xii. 13, marg.) ; the 
things of peace (Rom. xiv. 19) ; love (1 Cor. xiv. 1) ; righteousness, etc., 
(1 Tim. vi. 11 ; 2 Tim. ii. 22) ; that which is good (1 Thes. v. 15) ; and peace 
(Heb. xii. 14 ; 1 Pet. iii. 11). 

That I may apprehend] This verb means to ' grasp ', to ' lay hold 
of, to 'take by putting (the hand) dozen upon '. It is formed from the 
simpler verb used in the former clause of the verse ' obtain ' by pre- 
fixing a preposition to direct its action and intensify its force. The 
very same word is found again in 1 Cor. ix. 24, and in a similar con- 



9 Or, up ward, towarci the goal unto the prize of the ^high 

That for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus] This may 
be rendered either thus, or otherwise as follows, ' Because I was appre- 
hended of Christ Jesus '. The translation of the text lays stress on God's 
object in saving him ; whereas the alternative rendering emphasizes 
t'he Apostle's duty in pressing forward. Of these the former seems pre- 

The sense then is, ' Christ grasped me, at my conversion, with the 
express purpose of giving me eternal glory ; and so, inspired with that 
thought, I press on to grasp the glory reserved for me '. 

Moule's paraphrase is excellent: 'Yes! I press on to seize that 
crown, with the animating thought that it was on purpose that I mioht 
seize it that the Lord seized me (laid violent hands upon me, to pluck 
me from ruin, and to constrain ms into His salvation and service) '. 

13. Brethren] This word of loving address is intended both to attract 
attention and to prepare the Philippians for the solemn appeal he is 
about to make (v. 15). 

I count not myself to have apprehended] There is emphasis in the 
Greek both on the 'I' and the 'myself, but it is the 'egotism of 
humility'. Bengel thinks that others may perhaps have had great ideas 
of St. Paul's attainments, and that he wishes to speak modestly in conse- 
quence. But the meaning is really as follows, 'others may possibly 
consider themselves to have reached the goal, but, as for me, I have not 
yet seized the prize '. 

The object to the verb ' apprehended' (or 'grasped ') is not expressed, 
but the context shows it to be the 'prize'. 

He may possibly have in his mind, in so writing, the Antinomian 
teachers alluded to in vv, 15-19. 

But one thing (I do)] The intense earnestness of the writer is shown 
in the very terseness of the phrase. No verb is expressed, and we cannot 
even decide certainly whether the ' one thing ' is meant to be the subject 
or the object of the elliptical sentence. If the former, the sense is, ' but 
one thing (is before me, as my aim in life) '. If the latter, the meaning is 
represented by the rendering of the text. 

The phrase is bold and striking in its isolation, and is a fitting index of 
the great Apostle's glowing enthusiasm. His thoughts, energies, efforts 
were all concentrated on the ' one thing'. 

Forgetting the things which are behind] This is interpreted by many 
to mean ' the part of the course already finished '. 

Moule remarks that he does not say the things ' around ' or the things 



15 calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us, tlierefore, as many as j 

•present', for 'the uuwearied runner is already beyond any point just 

Forgetting] The tense of the verb (present participle) points to ' a 
continual forgetting ', as each event and experience is left behind and 
becomes part of the past. 

The things which are behind] The same phrase occurs in Luke ix. 
62 ; xvii. 31 ; John vi. CG (back) ; all interesting references. 

Stretching forward] This is quite a ' picture-word ' in the original, 
and shows us the runner ' stretching out ' his head and body ' tov^ards ' 
the goal, in the eagerness of his desire to reach it. It does not occur 
again in the New Testament. 

Another suggestion is that the metaphor here employed is derived from 
the chariot races of the Roman circus, in which the charioteer bent over 
his horses, lash in hand, to urge them toward the goal. It has been 
pointed out, however, that, since the charioteer, in such a race, would 
require to ' look back' at times, to keep his eye on other competitors who 
might be pressing liim close, the context favours the illustration of the 
foot race. 

A word of this sort, conveying the ideas of intense earnestness and 
ceaseless activity, has a special message for us in a tropical country, v^^here 
the natural tendency is to be lax and dilatory. We need more of the 
spur and stimulus of a zeal like St. Paul's. 

The things which are before] The phrase is peculiar to this passage. 
We are ever to be looking ahead and going ahead, advancing ' more and 
more '. The expression is a pregnant one, in such a context. It includes 
the vision of the coming Christ, the resurrection of life, the redemption 
of the body, and the crown of eternal glory. 

14. 1 press on] The same word as in v. 12, and in the same tense, 
' I am pressing on ', in a constant and unceasing progress. 

Toward the goal] In the Greek this precedes the verb, ' goal-ward 
I press'. St. Paul's was no uncertain coui-se (1 Cor. ix. 26). He knew 
at what he was aiming. This word, which is used in the classics of 
archery rather than of-racing, may be taken to denote the ' mark ' which 
locates the goal. 

Unto the prize] This word occurs again only in 1 Cor, ix. 24, while 
a corresponding verb ' to play the arbiter in awarding the prize ' is 
peculiar to Col, iii. 15. 

The prize in the foot-races of the stadium was a chaplet of green leaves ; 


be perfect, be thus minded : and if in anything ye are otherwise 

usually those of the pine tree. Heuce the appropriateness of the Apostle's 
description of it as ' corruptible ' (1 Cor. ix. 25). For the nature of the 
victor's wreath coveted by St. Paul, see 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8 ; Rev. ii. 10. 

The expression ' unto the prize ' suggests unwearied running until the 
prize be actually grasped. 

This * prize ' is no award to human merit:; rather it is * Love's approval 
of the service of love ' (Moule). 

Of the high calling of God] Literally ' of the upward calling of God '. 
Lightfoot renders « heavenward calling ' ; and Bengel connects it with 
v. 20 ; ' heaven, from whence also we wait for a Saviour.' 

Cf . the use of the same word ' upward ' or ' above ' in John viii . 23 ; 
Gal. iv. 26; Col. iii. 1,2. 

The Christian's * calling ' is ' up ' or ' above ' alike as regards its origin, 
operation and final outcome. 

It is styled («) The upward calling. Phil. iii. 14. (6) The holy calling. 
2 Tim. i, 9. (c) The heavenly calling. Heb. iii. 1. 

The word 'calling' occurs again only in Rom. xi. 29; 1 Cor. i. 26; 
vii. 20 ; Eph. i. 18 ; iv. 1, 4 ; 2 Thes. i. 11 ; 2 Tim. i. 9 ; Heb. iii. 1 ; 2 
Pet. 1. 10. 

A careful study of all eleven passages will show that the prevailing 
sense of the word (and the same remark is true of the usage in the 
Epistles of the verb ' call ' from which it is derived) is that of God's 
internal call to the soul, a call which is effectual, and that it does not 
merely stand for a general external invitation. 

Not without reason does the Apostle describe the award which he is 
looking for as ' the prize of the high calling of God ', since that ' prize ' is 
not only the final result of God's gracious ' call ', but is made possible to 
us and secured for us thereby. 

Of God in Christ Jesus] For ♦ the Father is the caller ' {Rom. viii, 29, 
30 ; ix. 11 ; 1 Cor. i. 9 ; GaL i. 6, 15 ; 1 Thes. ii. 12 ; 2 Thes. ii. 11 ; 2 
Tim. i. 9 ; 1 Pet. i. 15 ; v. 10) ; and it is in and through the Son that we 
become partakers of that calling (cf. 1 Cor. vii. 22 ; 1 Pet. v. 10). 
vv. 15-21. Warning agaitist Antinomianism. 

The Apostle here, apparently, turns from the partisans of legalism to 
the advocates of license. He has in mind, it would appear, Antinomian 
teachers, whether at Rome, or in Philippi, or elsewhere, who affected an 
unchristian perfectionism, and whose presumptuous claims to spiritual 
knowledge and liberty led them into a laxity of living which soon degen- 
erated into positive unholiness. Against such pervorters of the Gospel 
his protests and warnings here are peculiarly solemn. 


minded, even this shall God reveal unto ^ou : only, where- I 
16 unto we have already attained, by that same r2ilc let us walk. 

15. 'As many as be perfect'] The adjective here used denotes those 
who are * mature meu ', as opposed to ' immature children ' (1 Cor. 
xiv. 20 ; Eph. iv. 13 ; Heb. v. 14). 

It is also found with the meaning of ' men of ripe knowledge and attain- 
ments ' (1 Cor. ii. 6 ; and, possibly) Col. i. 28 ; Jas. i. 4 ; iii. 2 ; though, in 
the last three passages a further idea also seems to be present); and hence 
Conybcare and Howson render this passage, * who are ripe in understand- 
ing '. Lightfoot thinks that the ' perfect ' are practically synonymous 
with the ' spiritual ' as described in 1 Cor. (cf. 1 Cor. ii. 6 with iii. 1), 

Thus a double idea seems prominent in the word ; it combines the 
notion of adnlt Christian manhood with that oi clear spiritual faculty and 

' A " perfect " Christian may, in this respect, have spiritual faculty well 
developed, and j^et be very far from "perfected" in spiritual character^ 
(Moule). This explanation obviates an apparent contradiction of v. 12. 

Some consider that a touch of irony is present in the words, as those 
against whom this warning is directed probably affected to themselves 
the title of 'perfect ones', and boasted their 'initiation' into higher 
Christian knowledge, while all the time their lives were palpably in- 
consistent with their profession. St. Paul may, therefore, be combining 
stern reproof with gentle sarcasm, ' We call ourselves, forsooth, "full- 
grown Christians " '. Let us see to it, then, that we are what we profess, 
with such self-cQmplacency, to be. Let us cease from airing our attain- 
ments and press on to the better things before us. 

It is only fair to notice, however, that the idea of moral character as well 
as faculty is distinctly present in some of the passages in which the word 
is used (Matt. v. 48 ; xix. 21 ; and cf. Col. i. 28 ; Jas. i. 4 ; iii. 2). If this 
be in view here, irony, of course, is absent, and we should have to un- 
derstand that the Apostle is calling on those who have obtained some 
measure of completeness in Christ to press on to still greater things. 

In any case, the whole force of the context is against resting satisfied 
with present attainments, whether in character or service, and against 
tolerating- sin in any shape or form. 

Be thus minded] Literally, ' Mind this '. The same phrase is found in 
i. 7 ; ii. 2, 5 ; where see notes. The meaning, of course, is 'let us set 
our minds on forgetting the things behind, stretching forward to the 
things before, and pressing on to the prize '. 

If in anything ye are otherwise minded] Literally, 'If ye mind (or 
Begard) anything differently' ; i.e., 'if in anything that I have said, ye 


Brethren, be ye imitators together of me, and mark them 17 

cannot feel and see with me '. Lightfoot renders ' otherwise ' by * amiss ', 
and understands the sense to be, ' if you are at fault on any subject 
(though sound at the core) '. But this seems a needless interpretation. 

Even this shall God reveal, etc.] This does not imply, of course, a 
further special verbal revelation on God's part. The case is fully satis- 
fied by understanding that He would make it plain to them by the work 
of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and lives. The true Christian's life 
is a constant series of fresh apprehensions in experience of holy truths 
already revealed in Scripture. The fuller our obedience to God's will 
and word, the clearer will bacome our understanding of that will and 
word. Our spiritual knowledge will increase as our practical godliness 
increases (Gen. xviii. 17-19 ; Ps. xxv. 12 ; John vii. 17). 

Let us not, in India, crave after special signs and visions, but let us 
humbly and obediently do the will of God. In His written word are 
clearly revealed to us ' all things that pertain to life and godliness ', and 
it is ours to realize them in experience. All true blessings lie in the 
pathway of practical godliness. 

16. Attained] This verb, in the Greek classics, usually means ' to be 
beforehand with', 'to anticipate', 'to arrive first'. It is found with 
that meaning in 1 Thes. iv. 15. The only other occurrences of the 
word are in Matt. xii. 28 ; Luke xi. 20 ; Rom. ix. 31 ; 2 Cor. x. 14 ; 1 
Thes. ii. 16. 

Something of its original meaning of 'rapid arrival' is probably pre- 
sent in this verse, and the tense (Aorist) lends force to this idea. It seems 
to suggest that the arrival at a given point has been made only after 
earnest and vigorous effort. The sense, therefore, is ' Let us walk accord- 
ing to that (experience) at which we have already arrived with the help 
of honest purpose and earnest conviction '. 

By that same (rule) let us walk] The simplest translation seems to 
be 'Let us walk according to that which we have reached (already)'. 
Otherwise, some noun such as ' rule ' must be supplied, as is done in the 

Lightfoot understands it of 'the rule of faith as opposed to works', 
regarding the passage as a sort of last warning against the Pharisaic 
party referred to in v. 2. 

Moule refers it to the Gospel principles of faith and love and holiness, 
understanding the exhortation to be ' to take care of Christian ccnsis- 
tency in detail '. 

Others prefer to apply it to ' the rule of moral progress ', supposing it 
to be a further emphasizing of the teaching of vv. 12-14. 


18 which so walk even as ye have us for an ensample- For many 
walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even 

On the whole, the main thought intended seems to be, 'You have 
reached a certain point in the path of holiness and onward progress. Go 
on stepping out in the same pathway. Onl}', if possible, and it is pos- 
sible, increase your pace '. 

Walk] This verb, which occurs only in four other passages, means ' to 
advance in a line or rovr', like the waves of the sea or the soldiers of an 
army. It denotes, therefore, * ordered walking along a prescribed line of 
advance ', and so may well be rendered ' step forward '. It is interesting 
to collate the texts in which it is used in the New Testament. 

Stepping forward along (a) the line of the law. Acts xxi. 24. (b) the 
path of faith, Rom. iv. 12. (c) the line of the Spirit's guidance. Gal. 
V. 25. {d) the line of spiritual religion. Gal. vi. 16. {e) the line of pro- 
gress in holiness, (here). 

17. Brethren] See note on v. 13. The repetition here is striking, 
and marks the introduction of specially solemn words. 

Be ye imitators together of me] Literally, ' Become joint-imitators 
of me ' ; i.e., ' unite with each other in imitating me ', as several painters 
may sit down together, each with his own canvas, to copy the same 
picture ; or as a number of scholars may vie with each other in seeking to 
follow the example of the same noble master. The word suggests that 
their unity and mutual love will be promoted as they thus turn their 
energies to one and the same laudable object. This is one of the striking 
' fellowship-compounds ' with which this Epistle abounds (Introd. VI). 
It is peculiar to this one passage. 

It is far fi'om unusual for St. Paul to invite Christian converts to 
'imitate' himself (see iv. 9 ; 1 Cor. iv. 16; xi. 1 ; IThes. i. G ; 2 Thes. 
iii. 7-9 ; etc.). And who will accuse him of egotism in so doing? All the 
previous context breathes the deepest humility. Such exhortations 
do but show his confidence in the truth of his message and serve to eviuce 
the sincerity of his purpose to live out, by God's help, that message in 
daily life. Only a true and earnest minister would dare to challenge his 
people to walk as he walked. 

Is not one of the great needs of the Indian Church to-day a regular 
supply of sanctified ministers and teachers whose life, if not their lips, 
will be constantly saying to their flock, ' Become ye imitators of me ' ? 

Mark ye them which walk] The word ' maik ' is the same which 
we noticed before in ii. 4. It often means * mark, so as to avoid ' (e.g., 
Eom. xvi. 17). But here it implies * mark, so as to follow '. There were 


weeping, that they are the enemies of tlie cross of Christ : 

those among them, cloubtles-;, who exemplified the Apostle's teaching in 
their conclact. 

Walk] This is not the same word as the one used in v. 16, but the 
ordinary one for denoting the action of walking, both literally and meta- 
phorically. It speaks of active conduct and is far removed from ease 
and idleness. It was the walking rather than the talking of these 
Christians which was to be marked for imitation. 

Us] He doubtless includes under this head such well-known teachers 
as Timothy, Silas, Epaphroditus and others. 

The sense of the passage, of course, is ' Observe and follow those 
whose conduct agrees with ours who are your approved teachers in 
the Gospel '. 

Ensample] Or 'model'. For some interesting occurrences of the 
same word, study 1 Thes. i. 7 ; 2 Thes. iii. 9; 1 Tim. iv. 12 ; Tit. ii. 7; 
1 Pet. V. 3. 

India, of all lands, needs concrete ' examples ' of the truth and power 
of the Gospel in the lives of holy ministers and a godly laity. Creed and 
practice must agree. 

18. For many] There is a tone of great sadness about these words. 
It is practically certain that he alludes to Antinomian reactionists. 
We know that there were such in Rome itself (Rom. vi. 1 ; xvi. 17, 
IS). There have been men of this type at every period of Church 

The party referred to may have contained those who distorted the 
Gospel of grace, with its great doctrine of Justification by Faith, so com- 
pletely that they made it a cloak for laxity of living. There may have 
been some, on the other hand, who, though sticklers for the law and 
Judaists of an extreme type, yet lived lives of open w^ickedness ; for a 
bigoted adherence to a religion of externalism and a life of utter world- 
iiness and even immorality often go together. Again, there may have 
been others who held a sort of incipient Gnosticism (though that 
system, as such, was not fully developed till a somewhat later date), 
and who, regarding matter as essentially evil, thought the control of 
the body absolutely needless, while they cultivated a knowledge of 
what they claimed to be the ' esoteric doctrines ' of the Christian economy. 
Whatever special form it may have taken, the evil in question is clearly 
recognizable. The word ' many ' shows that the party alluded to was 
one of considerable dimensions. 


19 whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose 

Walk] This, of course, is the same word as in the previous verse, 
and not the • ordered walk ' referred to in v. 16. It is in the present 
tense, ' are walking '. 

I told you often] The verb is in the imperfect tense, ' I used to 
tell you frequently, when I was with you '. 

And now tell you] Better, 'But now tell you', for things had gone 
from bad to worse since his former communications on the subject. 

Even weeping] St. Paul's ' weeping ' is not confined to this one 
passage (see Acts xx. 19, 31 ; 2 Cor. ii. 4). He was both a strong and a 
tender hearted man. His intense realization of the danger of the uncon- 
verted and the miserable state of inconsistent Christians opened the 
floodgates of his soul. The word used implies an outward, almost pas- 
sionate, manifestation of grief in loud weeping. 

The enemies of the cross of Christ] The definite article here gives 
them a sad pre-eminence. They were 2J«'' excellence, and beyond all 
others, ' the enemies '. 

This expression may bear two meanings : 
^ (a) * Foes of the propitiation of the Lord's death ' ; for, if a Christian 
leads an unholy life, he contradicts, ipso facto, the redemp- 
tive work of Him who died to ' save His people from their 
sins '. And this contradiction is the more complete that it 
comes from professed believers. 
{b) * Foes of that life of self-denial and reproach for Christ's sake 
of which the cross is the approved and fitting symbol'. 
(See note on v. 10 suffering). INIen who profess to shoulder 
the cross of shame and yet live lives of self-indulgence and 
worldliness are greater enemies to the truth than avowed 
Both these interpretations would hold good in the case of the Antino- 
mians who were practical deniers of the atonement and also of that 
unworldly life which it involves. 

It would a''so be possible to interpret the words of doctrinal opposition 
to the * preaching of the cross ', and then the Pharisaic party would be 
the one grieved over. But this is not so probable, in the light of the 

Anyhow, it is a truly awful title to have to give to any so-called Chris- 
tians, ' the enemies of the cross of Christ ', and we must see to it lest, by 
inconsistency of life, we earn it for ourselves. 


10 Or, commou. ^^^H ^s in theii" shame, who mind earthly things. 
uraiiu. ^Q^, Q^j, 10 citizenship is in heaven ; from whence 20 

The New Testament offers no palliation, under the excuse of human 
infirmity, for Christians who lie, or quarrel, or cheat in business, or 
bear false witness, or defraud their neighbour of his property, or trans- 
gress the sanctity of the Lord's Day, or yield to drunkenness and un- 

It does offer complete deliverance from these and all other forms of sin. 
But for those who, while professing to accept the redemption wrought by 
Christ, wilfully continue to ignore its meaning and deny its power by 
deeds of evil, it has one name, and only one ; they are ' the enemies of 
the cross of Christ '. 

19. Whose end is perdition] He has already used this terrible word 
'perdition' in i. 28, which see. It implies 'ruin of the whole being, 
final and hopeless '. For other notices of the ' end ' of the ungodiy, see 
Rom. vi. 21 ; 2 Cor. xi. 15 ; Heb. vi. 8 ; 1 Pet. iv. 17. 

Whose god is the belly] Cf. Rom. xvi. 18. The word 'belly', while 
calling special attention to the sins of gluttony and drunkenness, is often 
a synonym for sensual appetites in general. It indicates here a life of 
carnality, in every sense of the word. 

It may be noticed, too, that teachers of the antinomian type were 
wont to vaunt their liberty in matters relating to 'meat and drink ', and - 
several times incurred the Apostle's censure (Rom. xiv. 17 ; 1 Cor. vi. 13 ; 
viii. 8). 

The persons St. Paul has in view may have claimed an intimate 
acquaintance with God and boasted a knowledge of spiritual things, 
but in practice, their god was the bellv and they were slaves of the 

Whose glory is in their shame] They laid claims to a special ' glory ' 
of their own, namely, to think more philosophically and to have clearer, 
fuller views of truth than others. They affected to possess, also, a larger 
degree of liberty. But, truly considered, their glorious system was really 
fearful degradation. It is a poor sort of ' glory ' for a man to pose as 
a philosopher, and yet live a sensual life ! Yet, alas ! how many philoso- 
phers of this sort have arisen in India. 

The word ' glory ' occurs again in this Epistle in i. 11 ; ii. 11 ; iii. 21 ; 
iv. 19, 20. How different is the ' degradation glory ' of this verse from 
the ' heavenly glory ' of iii. 21 ; iv. 19 ! 

Who mind earthly things] Better, ' (Men) who (are) minding earthly 
things'. The word 'mind' is the same which occurs constantly in 


also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ : 

this Epistle (Introd. VI ; see notes on i. 7 ; ii. 2). Their thoughts and 
interests and affections were continually set on mundane things. While 
they claimed to live in a super-corporeal world, and to be acquainted with 
heavenly mysteries, they were really 'of the earthy earthy'. Contrast 
Col. iii. 2. 

This attitude of mind of theirs was poles asunder from the ' mind ' of 
ii. 5. For the adjective * earthly ', see note on ii. 10, where the same 
word is used. 

20, For our] The word ' our ' is most emphatic in the Greek. The 
connexion with what goes before is easily traced, ' They live an earthly, 
grovelling life. Not so we. For our metropolis is in heaven, and our 
aims and interests are centred there '. In these words, the Apostle ear- 
nestly dissociates himself and his followers from those whose ungodliness 
he is deploring. 

Citizenship] See note on i. 27, where the cognate verb is found. The 
noun under consideration occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. 
It may mean either, or both, of two things : 

(a) * Our State, or city-home ', the Commonwealth, with its metro- 
politan centre, to which as citizens, we belong. Moule sug- 
gests, 'seat of citizenship'. It speaks to us of a fatherland 
to which we are attached. Our names are on its registers. 
We are free of its privileges. We arc also subject to its laws. 
It is ours to live on earth as those who are representatives of 
this heavenly State and who are expecting soon to see our 
city-home. This view of the word regards it as indicating 
a definite locality, as well as the organized State which is 
there, so to speak, domiciled. 
(6) 'Our citizen functions', or 'civic status', including both the 
privileges and active duties which, by virtue of our connexion 
with so glorious a commonwealth, it is ours to realize and 
In the one case, our homeland with its ordered splendours is in view ; 
in the other, our status and duties as subjects of its rule and sharers of 
its glory. Both these interpretations are tenable, and both are appli- 
cable to the position of the Christian. Conybeare and Howson understand 
the word to mean ' the tenor of life ', and render, ' For my life abides 
in heaven ', but this idea, though included, seems inadequate. 

Is] The same word as the one noticed in ii. G, implying ' former 
existence'. We may paraphrase 'Our city-home is no dream of the 


wlio shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it 21 

future. It is already in existence. It subsists in heaven now, an 
antecedent and abiding fact '. 

In heaven] As contrasted with the ' earthly things ' of v, 19. 

Moule paraphrases, ' In that heavenly country where the Loid is, and 
for which He is training us ', 

Several of the early Fathers dwell on the thought of the heavenly 
city (or State), and St. Augustine, in particular, has elaborated it in 
his famous treatise ' On the City of God '. To Christians in all times 
the thought has been a stimulus and an inspiration. For its practical 
bearing on the daily life see Col. iii. 1-17. 

From whence] Thus rendered by many authorities, who claim that 
the expression had become in usage a mere adverb corresponding to 
our •' whence '. But this claim has been reasonably questioned. 

Literally, it should be rendered 'out of which', the antecedent to the 
relative pronoun to be determined and supplied. Some refer it to the 
noun ' heaven ', and, as the latter is plural in the Greek, regard it as an 
example of a singular pronoun relating to a plural noun ; but this is open 
to objection. The simplest solution of the difficulty seems to be to 
regard the ' which ' as referring back to the antecedent * citizenship' (or 
city-home). This would give an excellent and satisfactory meaning. 
' We wait for a Saviour to issue forth from that heavenly homeland 
to take us to Himself. 

We wait] The force of the verb implies ' eager, expectant waiting ', and 
it is in the present tense. Translate, ' We are eagerly waiting for, every 
day and hour'. It is instructive to collate and study the occurrences 
of the word in the New Testament, 

Eagerly awaiting [a) the revealing of the sons of God, Rom. viii. 19 ; 
(6) the redemption of our body, Rom. viii. 23 ; (c) that which we see 
not, Rom. viii. 25 ; {d) the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor' 
i. 7 ; {c) the hope of (final) righteousness, Gal. v. 5 ; {f) a Saviour from 
heaven, Phil. iii. 20; (r/) Christ's second appearing, unto salvation, Heb. 
ix. 28. 

Thus, as used of man's attitude, it is entirely and exclusively a Second 
Advent verb, and is bound up indissolubly with the ' blessed hope ' of the 
Christian believer. 

In the only other passage in which it is found in the New Testament, 
it is employed to express God's eager waiting 'in the days of Noah', 
when His wonderful longsuffering yearned over the unwilling souls of 
rebellious men (1 Pet. iii. 20). 


may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the 

The usage of the word, therefore, shows that 

a. On God's side, it signifies His earnest longing for the conversion of 
men. b. On man's side, it denotes our eager waiting for the 
return of Christ. 

A Saviour] One who, in His character and work, is essentially 'a 
Saviour ', and who is coming to perfect and consummate the work of 
salvation by delivering His people from the very presence of sin, as He 
has already freed them from its guilt and power. * The redemption of 
our body ' will be the climax and completion of that work of salvation 
which Christ accomplished by His death and resurrection. For this 
meaning of the word as denoting full and final salvation, see Rom. xiii. 
11; Phil. i. 19, 28 (notes); 1 Thes. v. 8, 9 ; 2 Tim. ii. 10; Tit. ii. 13; 
Heb. ii. 10 ; ix. 28 ; 1 Pet. i. 5. 

We might have expected ' from whence we wait for a King ', or * a 
Judge'; but, no! it is * a Saviour', for the true Christian's hope is 
perfect deliverance from the last lingering taint of sin, when He shall 

The Lord Jesus Christ] Cf. a similar title in v. 8. Here the use of 
the full, grand title is most appropriate. 

The coming One is our 'Lord' the glorified and exalted Sovereign 
(ii. 9-11), whose is the kingdom and the power and the glory ; the 
Master, too, whose we are and whom we serve. 

He is 'Jcesas', who died for us and whose blood-shedding is the 
ground of all our confidence; aye! and He, too, whose very name 
necessitates His return to consummate the work of His salvation. 

And He is ' Christ', the anointed mediator of the New Covenant, whose 
it is, by virtue of His messianic office, to save and rule and reign ; in 
whom is to be sati^Jfied, beyond all manner of mistake or doubt, every 
claim of still unfulfilled prophecy. 

21. Wlio sliall fasliion anew] Better ' Who shall change the (fleeting) 
fashion of '. The verb (for it is all one word in the Greek) is akin to the 
noun 'fashion' (cry?]uor) in ii. 8, and is found again only in 1 Cor. iv. 
e ; 2 Cor. xi. 13, 14, 15. 

It suggests to us, surely, that our present body is not the permanent 
type, but only a temporary and transient guise or fashion. Here is a 
thought of hope and comfort for those to whom, by reason of sickness 
or infirmity, the ' flesh ' appears a heavy burden. 

At the same time there is an underlying thought that the essentials of 
the glorified body arc already there, and that it is only the accidents, so 
to speak, of our present body which need to be changed. 


working whereby be is able even to subject all things 

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer is a pledge and earnest 
of the coming change (Rom. viii. 11). 

The body of our humiliation] Our present body has been 'humbled' 
by the deep disgrace of the fall. Satan has possessed it. Sin has tainted 
it. In the light of this fact, the redemption of our body is at once 
a great necessity and a glorious hope. It shall be so transfigured, at the 
coming of the Lord that no vestige of sin or sin's disgrace shall remain. 

The expression reminds us, too, of the * humiliation ' which arises from 
the fact of the passions and weaknesses and limitations which beset our 
mortal flesh. With these limitations in view, and the restrictions 
which they impose on the full, free action of man's spirit, Tennyson has 
styled the body, 

This poor, rib-grated dungeon of the holy human ghost. 
And poets and philosophers in every land have sung and sighed about 
its burdens and infirmities ; not least of all in India. The doctrine, 
therefore, of the coming transformation of the body, and its deliverance 
from the limitations which now confine it, as well as from the taint of 
sin, is one of the grandest and most inspiring in the whole of Eevelatiou. 
It differs in toto from the Hindu belief in pantheistic metempsychosis 
with its weary round of births and renewed embodiments, ending in the- 
final disappearance of all bodies as unreal and illusionary. And it 
immeasurably transcends the Musalman notion of a sensual Paradise. 

Yet, while we realize to the full the deep ' humiliation ' of the body, 
we must thankfully appreciate the other truth, clearly revealed in the 
word of God, that the body of the believer is already ransomed from the 
power of sin and is, here and now, « the temple of the Holy Ghost ' 
(Rom. viii. 10, 11 ; 1 Cor. iii. 16 ; vi. 19, 20). It is honoured by God, in spite 
of present limitations and infirmities, as His sanctuary, and the 
instrument for accomplishing His purposes in the world (Rom. vi.l3 ; xii. 
1, 2). There is no support in this verse for the false doctrine of Pagan 
philosophers and Christian heretics that ' matter is essentially evil '. 
The redemption of Christ reaches to the whole man, body, soul and spirit. 
(1 Thes. V. 23). The word 'humiliation' is used elsewhere in Luke 
i. 48; Acts viii. 33; Jas. i. 10. 

That it may be conformed to] The adjective thus translated (only one 
word in the original) is cognate to the noun ' form ' (ixop4>i^) found in 
ii. 6, and occurs again only in Rom. viii. 29, an interesting parallel. It 
speaks distinctly of a real and abiding ' form ', as distinguished from the 
* fleeting fashion ' of our present frame. This thought is well expressed 
in one of Lightfoot's paraphrases, ♦ will change the fashion of the body 
of our humiliation, and fix it in the form of the body of Hig glory.' 


unto himself. 

It combines the idea of permanence as against transiency with that of 
essential attributes as against mere outward appearance. When Christ 
comes, we shall part with the temporary, the imperfect, the accidental, 
and shall obtain the abiding, the perfect, the essential ' form '. 

Truly the Christian's golden age is in the future! His joy and satis- 
faction are great now ; they will be infinitely greater then. 

The body of His glory] That is our type, the body which Christ 
bears in His glorified state. This expression ' the body of His glory ' 
should be pondered, and weighed, word for word, against the contrasted 
phrase ' the body of our humiliation '. 

Our humiliation 'His glory', how vast the gulf between the two! 
But grace has bridged it, and we are going to cross it. 

A careful study of the history of our Saviour's resurrection will tbrow 
some light on the chief characteristics of ' the body of His glory'. We 
shall recall how the risen Lord's resurrection body w^as unhindered in its 
passage by closed doors and uuconlined by the law of gravitation. We 
shall remember how it passed the ken even of His dearest friends, while 
yet it was demonstrably identical, as to essentials, with the body which 
was nailed upon the cross. And our 'resurrection body' is to be con- 
formed to His. 1 Cor. XV. 35-53, also, should be re-studied in this 

According to the working whereby He is able] Bengel well exclaims 
here, * the work of the omnipotent Lord.' 

Working] This noun adopted in English as ' energy ' means * active 
ojietation'. It is used in the New Testament only by St. Paul, and is 
found in Eph. i. 19 ; iii. 7 ; iv. 16 ; Col. i. 29 ; ii. 12 ; 2 Thes. ii. 9, 11 ; a 
set of verses which wdll well repay study. Of these, Eph. i, 19 ; iii. 7 ; 
Col. i. 29 contain the full expression of the text 'according to the 
working'. It is interesting to observe that it is chiefly in his prison 
letters that the Apostle dwells upon the thought. 

The preposition ' according to ' points to the standard and law and 
measure of the 'working'. When we ask, in bewildered wonder, what 
force can transfigure ' the body of our humiliation ' into exact con- 
formity with 'the body of His glory', St. Paul points in reply to the 
standard and measure of Clod's ' effectual working'. ' According to the 
working of His being able (so a literal translation runs) to subject all 
things unto Himself '. In ways and means corresponding to such omni- 
potence, He can do it, and He will. 

Well does the same Apostle bid us to have ' faith in the working of 
God ' (Col. ii. 12). The operation of His ability is nothing less than the 
operation of unlimited omnipotence. 


4, Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy i 
and crown, so stand fast in the Lord., my beloved. 

Even to subject] Cf. 1. Cor. xv. 25, 27, 28 ; Eph. i. 22 ; Heb. ii. 8. 
In many passages the Father is spoken of as the 'subjector ', but, since 
Christ is the mediator of this present dispensation (Col, i. 16-20), and the 
Father works thi'ough Him and with Him, there is no real contradiction 
of terms. Our thoughts, on reading this verse, naturally go back to ii. 

10, 11. The time will come when the Lamb of God shall be manifested 
in His glorious might, subduing, subjecting, ruling over all things. 

All things] The expression is as full and clear in the Greek as it 
can be, having the definite article prefixed and so carrying the force ' all 
things that are'. Exactly the same phrase occurs in Rom. viii. 32; 
xi. 3G ; 1 Cor. viii. G ; xi. 12 ; xii. 6 ; xv. 27, 28 ; 2 Cor. v. 18 ; Eph. i. 10, 

11, 23;iii. 9; iv. 10; etc. 

Nothing is removed from the scope of His subduing power, either in 
our redeemed body or in the universe around. His is an omnipotent 
power ; and His shall be a complete victory. 

Unto Himself] That is, 'unto Christ'. Thus we have in prospect 
the time when all His enemies shall have been made His footstool (Heb. 
X. 12, 13), and He, as mediator of this dispensation of grace, shall have 
perfectly consummated His redemptive work, and shall be acknowledged 
the alone conqueror and King (1 Cor. xv. 25-28). Then shall He be 
' gloi-ified in His saints and marvelled at in all them that believed ' 
(2 Thes. i. 10), for in His new creation, the Church of the ransomed and 
sanctified and glorified, His wisdom, grace and power will be triumphantly 
displayed to view. If wo look at the immeasurable measure of His 
ability to work effectually, as we find it here set forth, unbelief will 
vanish, and hope and joy be stimulated. 

This hope of the Lord's appearing is the hope of His Church. Only as 
we apprehend it, live in the light of the glory of it, and eagerly await the 
coming Christ, shall we be strengthened and spurred in running the race 
which it is the object of this chapter to set before us. 

Such a glow of hope is absent from all the pagan religions of the world. 
Let the Indian Church, then , be a Church which earnestly expects the 
return of Him who is able to, and who will, ' subject all things unto 



1. Wherefore] See note on ii. 12, where the same word occurs, ren- 
dered ' so then '. The connexion with the foregoing verses is obvious, 


2 1 exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be oi' the 

' With such a glorious hope iu view, the comhig of the Saviour to trans- 
figure and translate you, stand fast in Christ and obey the practical 
injunctions which will now be set before you '. 

A belief in, and an earnest expectation of, the Second Advent of Christ 
ought to prove the most powerful of incentives to a life of holiness (Rom. 
xiii. 11-14 ; 1 Cor. xv. 50-58 ; Col iii. 4-17 ; Tit. ii. 11-14 ; 1 Pet. i. 1-3-17 ; 
1 John. iii. 2, 3). 

My brethren] Cf. notes on iii. 13, 17. Here, as there, it stands on the 
threshold of important admonitions. It follows again in iv. 8, with a 
like purpose. 

Beloved] ii. 12 (note). Its double occurrence in this verse is re- 
markable. The Apostle would bathe his exhortations in tenderness. This 
missionary was a man of strong afiection. 

That was a true word which a convert from Hinduism said to an 
English clergyman, ' India wants love. You can do anything you like 
with the people of this land if you only love them and show them that 
you do.' 

Longed for] An adjective peculiar to this one verse in the New Testa- 
ment, though the corresponding verb has been already used m this 
Epistle (i. 8, see note ; ii. 26), and cognate nouns are found in Rom. xv. 
23 ; 2 Cor. vii. 7, 11. 

His Philippian friends, absent in the flesh, were sorely missed, and 
longed for ' with an intense, personal, homesick longing. The accumu- 
lation of terms of affection in this verse is striking. 

My joy and crown] A very similar combination of words is found in 
1 Thes. ii. 19, and in a like connexion, namely, the second coming of 
our Lord. 

His 'joy', both now, whilst he is still running the course of earthly 
ministry (1 Thes. iii. 9 ; cf. i. 4), and hereafter, when the course is finished 
and he sees the beloved converts sanctified and glorified, at the day of 
Christ, in the presence of the King (ii. IG ; 1 Thes. ii. 19, 20 ; 2 Cor. i. 14). 

His ' crown,' that is, the victor's chaplet given to the faithful minister 
(1 Pet. V 4), and the festive wreath which he shall one day wear at the 
' marriage supper of the Lamb ' (Rev. xix. 9). For the crown of pine 
leaves was both a prize to successful athletes and an ornament of joy for 
festive occasions. The Apostle regards those whom he has won for Christ 
as being, at the same time, his gladness and his reward. We too, if 
we would wear the chaplet then, must win souls now. And there is 
plenty of scope for soul- winning in India, 

No jewel mines for Christ Uke heathendom. (C. A. Fox.) 


same miiul m the Lord. Yea, I beseech thee also, true 3 

So] That is, ' As having sucli a certain aim (iii. 14, 15), and such a 
blessed hope (iii. 20, -21); as befits those who are citizens of heaven'. 

Stand fast] See note on i. 27. Those who know what lies before them 
and have a sure hope of a glorious to-morrow may well hold firm to their 
principles and go steadily forward on their way (cf. 1 Cor. xv. 58). 

In the Lord] Refer to note on ii. 19, and cf. Eph. vi. 10. It is as 
though he said ' Tn )onicnibrance and joyous experience of your vital 
union with Him ; in " the practice of the presence of Christ"; in Him 
as 3'our fortress; stand fast; keep firm'. 

2. I exhort] \Ve may also render 'beseech' (see, e.g., 1 Cor. i. 10; 
2 Cor. xii. 8), or ' intreat ' (2 Cor. v, 20 ; vi. 1 ; ix. 5). A tone of appeal 
seems best to suit the context. 

Notice that the verb is repeated. He addresses a personal appeal to 
each individual concerned. So to speak, he takes oiie by his right 
hand, and the other by his left, in order to draw them together in 
Christian reconciliation. Here is a good example of the best way for 
settling personal disputes among Christians. Speak to each of them 
separately and lovingly; ihen bring them together in peace. 

Euodia . . . Syntyche] Both these feminine names are found in old 
inscriptions, as having been current among the Greeks. 

Our knowledge of these two Christian ladies is confined to this one 
passage of Scripture. It is clear that fchey must have been persons 
of some position and standing in the Philippian Church ; and the con- 
jecture has been hazarded that they were deaconesses (like Phoebe. 
Rom. xvi. I). At least they had given active assistance to the Apostle 
in evangelistic work when he laboured in their vicinity (v. 3). 

They appear, in spite of their sex, to have been ringleaders in those 
disputes which it was one of the main objects of this Epistle to com- 
pose. Whether on some question of personal precedence, or owing to 
some family dispute, or in connexion with Christian work or doctrine, 
they were at variance with each other ; and their quarrel involved 
serious division in the Church. 

It is remarkable to find, at that period of history, women so pro- 
minent in the congregation, but it is at least a striking analogy that 
members of their sex are seen to have played a not unimportant part 
in the evangelization of Macedonia (Acts xvi. 13-18, 40 ; xvii. 4, 12). 

Bishop Lightfoot adduces evidence from extant Greek inscriptions 
to show that women in Macedonia exercised an influence much above 
the common, and this fact tallies with what we read of them in New 
Testament history. 


yoke-fellow, help these women, for they Jaboiired with me 

How many disputes in our congregations are originated by women, 
the wives of ministers or prominent laymen ! Personal rivalries and 
contentions for precedence are by no means confined to past history. 

Even in Christian work, too, differences of opinion about methods 
are sometimes allowed to divide missions and to form parties. The 
'mind' of Christ (ii. 5) is the only antidote to such poison. 

To be of the same inind] Literally, 'To mind the same thing'. The 
phrase is identical with that in ii. 2 (see note there). It is one more 
occurrence of an important key-word (Introd. VI). If tbe thoughts and 
desires are centred on a common object, differences will cease. 

In the Lord] The seventh occurrence of this phrase in the Epistle (i. 14 ; 
ii. 19, 24, 29 ; iii. 1 ; iv. 1). It will meet us yet again in two later verses 
(vv. 4, 10). See note on ii. 19. 

It is not without a special object that the Apostle rings the chimes 
again and again on these words ' In the Lord ', ' In the Lord ', * In the 
Lord '. In Him, and in His presence, there is no room for bickerings. 

If we remember that the word rendered ' Lord ' {/cvpto^) also signi- 
fies 'Master ', there is peculiar force in the use of it in connexion with 
the Philippian disputants. ' Mind the same thing in tbe Lord, who is 
your common Master, and whose bondservants ought not to be wrang- 
ling, but busy about their Master's work'. This meaning seems to 
be supported by the word which almo^^t immediately follows— yoke- 

3. Yea] St. Paul employs this word again in Acts xxii. 27; Rom. iii. 
29 ; 2 Cor. i. 17, 18, 19, 20 ; Philem. 20. In the last of these references 
it introduces, as here, an affectionate appeal. 

I beseech] Quite a different word from the one we noticed in v. 2. 
It means, classically, to ' interrogate ' or ' inquire ', but came to be 
employed, later, in the sense of 'to ask', which is its meaning here. 
It denotes, properly, a request made to an equal, as against a petition 
addressed to a superior. 

In R. V. it is rendered thirty-nine times by ' ask ' ; eleven times by 
' beseech ' ; nine times by ' pray ' ; and once by ' desire '. Though very 
common in the Gospels it is rare in the Epistles, and St. Paul only 
uses it in addressing Macedonian Christians. He asks them, 

(a) To promote Christian unity, (hero). 

(b) To walk more and more holily. 1 Thes. iv. 1 

ic) To give due respect to their ministers. 1 Thes. v. 12, 
(d) To beware of unbalanced doctrine. 2 Thes. ii. 1. 


in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow- 

Truej The corresponding adverb occurs in ii. -20 (truly) ; see note 
there. The sense is 'genuine'. 

Yoke-fellow] Another ' fellowship compound ' (Tntrod. VI), iieculiar 
to this one verse. 

We cannot determine with certainty the person thus addressed. Vari- 
ous conjectures have been hazarded. 

(a) That the word is really a proper name ' Syzygos', and that the 

Apostle writes to the individual who bears it as follows, ' thou 
who art truly called "Syzygos", my yoke-fellow in deed as 
well as name'. For this opinion, though very ancient and 
mentioned by Chrysostom, there is no support either in the 
sacred history or in the Greek inscriptions. 

(b) That St. Paul is addressing his own wife, to whom the word 

' yoke-fellow ' would be peculiarly appropriate. This interpre- 
tation was in vogue as far back as Clement of Alexandria 
(second century a.d.), but 1 Cor. vii. 8 would seeiTi to show 
that St. Paul was unmarried or, more probably, a widower. 
The adjective ' true ' also is in the masculine, not the feminine 

(c) That Lydia is intended by the word (Acts xvi. 15, 40), as being a 

real follow-helper in the Lord's work at Philippi. But here 
again the gender of the adjective forbids. 

(d) That some leading minister or Church-officer is in view. Barna- 

bas, Luke, Silas, Timothy, and the chief-presbyter or bishop 
of Philippi, have all been suggested as meeting the case. 

(e) That Epaphroditus himself, the bearer of the Epistle, is addressed 

in writing here, iia addition to the oral instructions which he 

may have received, so as to give him special credentials in 

black and white. This is Bishop Lightfoot's hypothesis and 

has much to commend it. 

But, having said all, we cannot arrive at any degree of certainty. 

Whoever the person may have been, the word employed is suggestive and 

instructive. To ♦ bear Christ's yoke together ' is to enjoy unity indeed 

(Matt. xi. 29, 30). It means that they who carry it are bondslaves of 

the same ]Master, subject to the one control, dominated by the same 

sovereign will. 

Help these women] Literally ' Help them ' (the ' them ' being in the 
feminine gender). The reference is clearly to Euodia and Syntyche. 

Help] Though this verb occurs in other senses in the New Testament, 
this is the only passage in which it means to assist. It gives the idea of 
' taking part with anyone, so as to help them '. 


workers, whose names are in the hook of Ufe. 

The ' help ' in question may have heen, as Moule suggests, that of a 
personal conference and exhortation, with prayer, so as to bring about 
their reconciliation. 

For they laboured with me] Literally ' Who are such as strove along 
with me '. They belonged, that is, to the class of the Apostle's fellows- 
workers. While he deplores their quarrel, ho cannot forget their former 
brave and ready help. ' I cannot forget how zealously they seconded 
my efforts on behalf of the Gospel '. (Lightfoot). 

Laboured with me] This is hardly correct. Render ' strove along with 
me', or ' wrestled alongside me'. It is the same verb that occurred in 
i. 27 (see note there). 

The word suggests that they had been fellow-soldiers of St. Paul in 
the Lord's battles, and had striven shoulder to shoulder with him against 
the common foe. It means more, surely, than giving relief to the Chris- 
tian poor or gently instructing their female neighbours. It is a military 
and athletic word, and there is a ring of real contest about it. We learn 
here that women have their part to play in the evangelization of the 
world and in bravely fighting the battles of the Lord. India, with 
its teeming female population, calls loudly for Christian women who will 
break the trammels of ' custom ' and courageously carry the Gospel to 
their Hindu and Muhamraadan sisters. When souls are perishing, we 
must do and dare something to help them, even if we seem to go against 
ciTstom in so acting. 

In the Gospel] Cf. Rom. i. 9 ; 1 Cor. ix. 18; 2 Cor. x. 14 ; 1 Thes. 
iii. 2 ; where also this phrase occurs. 

A comparison of these passages will show that the sense of the word 
is ' in the cause or service of the Gospel '. We may also refer back to 
the somewhat similar expressions in the first chapter (i. 5, 7, 12). 

With Clement also] This clause may be taken in two ways. 

(a) It may be directly connected with the words * for they strove 
along with me', when the sense will be ' they strove alongside 
me, as also did Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers at 
Philippi '. 
ib) It may be linked on to the verb ' help ', when the meaning will 
be ' help them, and, in the work of reconciling them, associate 
with thyself Clement and the rest'. 
Lightfoot and Moule prefer the latter of these interpretations, while 
Bengel and others adopt the former. 

Both are possible, so far as the grammar is concerned; but, on the 
whole, the former seems preferable, as it is the simpler and more natural 


1 Or, Farewell. 1 BejoicG iu the Lord alway : again I will say 4 

2 Or, gentleness. 1 Rejoice. Let youi" '^ forbearaiice be known unto 5 

constracfcion. The Apostle, in looking back to the old days of conflict on 
behalf of the Gospel, makes loving mention of some who showed special 
valour in the cause of Christ, the mention being suggested by circum- 
stances connected with the two ladies whose names are here grouped 
with those of Clement and the rest. 

ClementJ He has been identified by Origen, Eusebius, and others 
with Clement, Bishop of Rome, whose famous Epistle to the Corinthians 
was, however, probably not written till a.d. 90-95. There are strong objec- 
tions, on various grounds, to such an identification. Neither their cir- 
cumstances nor their dates tally, and the hypothesis involves many 
improbabilities. Moreover, the name Clement was far from being an 
uncommon one at that period. 

Fellow-workers] See note on ii. 25, in which the word occurs. 
Thus St. Paul looks back to a time of partnership both in war and 
work with his friends at Philippi. It is noticeable that we have three 
grand fellov/ship ideas brought together in this one verse. 
{a) Under the yoke of Christ together (yoke-fellow). 
(6) In the battles of Christ together (strove along with me), 
(c) At the work of Christ together (fellow-workers). 
A three-fold cord of unity, this, which is not easily to be broken. 

Whose names are] They are not written in this Epistle, but they are 
written in 'the book of life '. Many names unknown in the Church's 
scroll of fame are well known in heaven. Mark the certainty with which 
the Apostle speaks about the spiritual condition of these, his friends. 

The book of life] The same expression occurs again in Rev. iii. 5 ; 
XX. 15 ; and a practically identical one in Rev. xiii. 8 ; xvii. 8 ; xx. 12 ; 
xxi. 27. Cf. Dan. xii. 1 ; Luke x. 20 ; Heb. xii. 23. 

Here then is the heavenly register in which the names of all true 
citizens are written and recorded. Enrolled in those glorious annals, 
they have a status and dignity nobler far than any earthly rank can give 
them. Braced up by this glad certainty, they can go forward without 
misgivings in their Master's" work and war. 

4. Rejoice in the Lord] See notes on iii. 1. This ' joy in the Lord' 
is the antidote to error both in doctrine and practice. 

Alway] Cf. i. 4, note. 

Again I will say, Rejoice] He repeats the message in the tautology 
of earnestness, out of strong desire for their welfare. 


6 all men. The Lord is at hand. In nothing be anxious ; but 

He has already said ' Rejoice ' in iii. 1, in view of counteracting the 
doctrinal errors which he exposes in that chapter. Now 'again ' he will 
say 'Rejoice', as ho presses home the duties of self-repression and be- 
lieving prayer. 

5. Forbearance] The word denotes, in the Greek, a combination of 
equity with gentleness. It is that spirit of kindly moderation which 
will not assert its legal rights lest, in so doing, it should be betrayed 
into committing moral wrong (see Trench's Netc Testament Synonyms). 
Moule suggests the rendering ' yieldingness'. 

Perhaps it may be illustrated by Christ's action in the case of the half- 
shekel demanded from Him as the temple tax (Matt. xvii. 24-27). Had 
He insisted on His strict rights, He would have resisted the claim ; but, 
lest He should cause others to stumble. He waived His rights and paid 
it. His whole life is full of instances of such a spirit of fair gentleness, 
and hence the appeal based upon it in 2 Cor. x. 1. 

This spirit is the very antithesis of selfishness. ' It means, in effect, 
considerateness, the attitude of thought and will which in remembrance 
of others forgets self, and willingly yields up the purely personal claims 
of self.' (Moule). 

The noun itself is found again in Acts xxiv. 4 ; 2 Cor. x. 1 ; and the 
cognate adjective in 1 Tim. iii. 3 ; Tit. iii. 2 ; Jas. iii. 17 ; 1 Pet. ii. 18. 

If this spirit were more prevalent among us in this coimtry, there 
would be much less litigation and fewer Panchayats. The quarrels, too, 
which divide so many congregations and are the source of so much weak- 
ness would cease. Let us learn to abjure insistence on our own ' rights ', 
as we regard them, for the higher ' rights ' of Christ and of his Gospel. 

Be known to all men] The nature of this character of 'forbearance ' 
is such that 'it must needs embody itself in outward acts' (Trench). 
It will be known in the home, in the business, in the congregation. 
It will be seen in actual life, and evidenced in all our intercourse with 
others. Unselfishness is too uncommon to be hidden. It will appear 
to all men, whether they be good or evil. 

The Lord is at hand] This expression may bear a double meaning : 
(a) 'The Lord is at hand ', the returning Lord, coming back from 
heaven (iii. 20, 21) to glorify His people. Cf. Jas. v. 8. In the 
light of His coming, we are charged to practise moderation. 
This is no time for self-seeking. Let Him alone be served. 
It has been pointed out by several that the phrase ' The Lord 
is at hand ' is a sort of Second Advent watchword with 
St. Paul. Its Aramaic equivalent ' IN Tar an Atha ' is found in 


in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let 

1 Cor. xvi. 2-2 and it has been suggested that the Apostle 
wrote it there in Hebrew characters, as a sort of autograph 
to authenticate the Epistle. It seems clear, at least, that 
it was a formula familiar to the early Church. 
Thus we are face to face again with the fact that an expectation 
of the return of Christ has a most practical and wholesome 
bearing on the life of the believer (see notes on iii. 21 ; iv. 1). 
(6) 'The Lord is at hand', the enabling Lord, here and now, in 
spiritual presence. Cf. Ps. cxix. 151, 'Thou art nigh, 
O Lord,' where the expression in the Greek of the LXX 
is practically identical with the one of this verse. This inter- 
pretation would urge the fact of that presence as affording 
a motive and a power for the exercise of moderation. 
While both these interpretations are good and helpful, the former 
one seems far the more probable. 

6. In nothing] Cf. note on i. 20. Literally, 'As to nothing'. 

Be anxious] See note on the same verb in ii, 20 (care). 

What is here prohibited is that ' anxious, harassing care ' which arises 
from our want of faith in Crod and from unwillingnefs to cast our bur- 
den on the burden-l)carer (Ls, Iv. 22; 1 Pet. v. 7). In the true life of 
faith, there is no room, as there is no need, for any such ' corroding care '. 

How many Christians are ' anxious ' and ' fret themselves ' (Ps. xxxvii. 
1,7,8) about a multitude of things, whcse lives would be transformed 
and transfigured by simply acting upon the precept of this verse. Many 
a worker in India to day is kept back from usefulness in God's service 
by anxiety about his property, or his family, or the education of his 
children. And this anxiety is a fruitful source of debt. 

Real faith and corioding care cannot go together; the presence of 
the one proves the absence of the other. Bengel has well exprei-sed 
it, 'Refuse to care, and give yourself to prayer. Care and praye 
are more mutually antagonistic than water and fire '. 

But in everything] This phrase must be set over against the other. 

' In nothing be anxious ' . . , ' In everything let your requests be 
made known '. ' Everything ' is an all-inclusive positive, which covers 
all the ground indicated by the all-inclusive negative word, ' nothing '. 

The expression ' in everything ' will well repay study in the Ne^ 
Testament. It will be found in the original, in the following pas- 
sages, at least; 1 Cor. i. 5 ; 2 Cor. iv. 8; vi. 4; vii. 5, 11, 16; viii. 7; 
ix. 11 ; xi. G, 9 ; Eph. v. 24 ; Phil. iv. G, 12 ; 1 Thes. v. 18. A classi^ 
fication of these verses will show a wonderful range both of privilege 
and duty. God's provision is clearly universal in its scope. 


7 your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of 

By prayer] The definite article in the Greek gives the sei)So • By your 
prayer and your supplication '. 

This is the general word for ' prayer', considered as the 'offering 
up of the wishes and desires to God', and includes all kinds and parts 
of worship. It is restricted to sacred uses, being never employed of 
requests or petitions addressed to men. 

Supplication] See note on i. 4. It occurs again thus, in conjunc- 
tion with ' prayer ', in Eph. vi. IS ; 1 Tim. ii. I ; v. 5 ; and is contrasted 
with it as indicating a special petition for the supply of felt needs. 
Unlike the former word, it is not confined to sacred uses, but may be 
employed of supplications addressed to our fellow-men. 

In ' prayer ', the frame of mind is perhaps pi-ominent ; in ' supplication', 
the act of solicitation. 

With thanksgiving] A reference to i. 3 will show how this teacher 
acted on his own teaching. The grateful acknowledgment of past mer- 
cies is an integral part of the Christian's devotions. No act of worship 
is complete without it, and every prayer is defective which lacks it 
(of. Eph. v. 20; 1 Thes. v. 18 ; 1 Tim. ii. 1). 

The noun ' thanksgiving ' occurs fifteen times i)i the New Testament 
and, of these, no less than ten are found in St. Paul's writings. The 
corresponding verb is used thirty-eight times, and this Apostle is 
responsible for twenty-four of the references. He is thus, pre-eminently, 
the Apostle of thanksgiving, and his Epistles are radiant with euchar- 
istic praise. 

' Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; they will be still praising 
Thee ' (Ps. Ixxxiv. 4), as ever fresh views of the Divine goodness burst 
upon their view and excite their glowing gratitude. Thanksgiving is 
the death of care. If there were more praising, there would be less 

Requests] These are the several objects which together make up the 
* supplication '. We present our ' requests ' seriatim, one by one, to 
God, who considers nothing too small for His attention. 

The word is found only in two other passages, the one denoting a 
request to fiod (1 Joh. v. 15) ; and the other a request to men (Luke 
xxiii. 24). 

Be made known] We are to ' make known " ( ur requests unto God 
though He knows them already ; just as a child pours out its needs 
into a willing parent's ear. It is this very act of ' making known ', so 
to speak, which constitutes the ' casting of our anxiety upon Him ' 
(1 Pet. V. 7). And it is not merely, as some would suppose, that such 


God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts 

* acts of prayer' nootbe onr minds aud so form a useful exercise; but, 
however mysterious the fact may seem, the 'requests' of the sincere 
believer are heard in heaven, and God receives and answers them. 

•For an illustration of the way in which ' prayer moves the hand which 
moves the world ', let Hos. ii. 21, 22 be carefully studied. There we see 
God's loving hand, as it were, setting in motion wheel after wheel of the 
machinery of the univeise in response to His people's cry ; and we can 
trust the sovereign framer of eternal laws both to take care of His own 
laws and to fulfil His own promises. Let us not confuse our minds 
by endeavouring to grasp impenetrable mysteries, but let us pray. 

Unto God] The force of the words in the original is 'to God-ward'. 
That is, we seek His help, with heart and face ' towards ' Him. The 
definite article in the Greek, also, gives a special character to the Being 
thus addressed, 'towards our God ', the One whom we know and trust. 

The well-known prayer of Daniel the prophet (Dan. ix- 3-19) may furnish 
a good concrete example of this passage. We see the general feature of 
prayer in his setting his face unto the Lord and pouring forth his soul 
in worship, confession, and i)etition. Supplication is prominent in a 
clear expression of the need which he felt, and is seen in the earnest 
pathos of his language. Thanksgiving, too, is there, in a grateful 
acknowledgment of God's perfect character and of His mercies to His 
people m the past (vv. 4, 7, 9, 15). And definite requests are urged for 
pardon, favour, and speedy restoration (vv. lG-19). 

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of prayer, and especially 
of private prayer, in the life of the Christian. Only as we live in the 
presence of God can we experience fieedom from anxious care. And only 
as we come forth from the quiet calm of that presence to the business of 
daily life can we face the strain and stre^^s of life with minds unrufHed. 
Special stre>-s must be laid on this in the development of the Christian 
Church in India. For some remarks on the same subject, see note on 
the words 'much more in my absence' (ii. 12). 

7. And] That is, 'If you thus make your requests to God in real 
and confiding faith, then the peace of God shall be yours. But not 
otherwise '. 

The conjunction lerainds lis that the enjoyment of this peace is 
consequent on the practice of believing prayer. 

Our vessel is at rest only as it entns the qniet harbour, and it must 
refit there before it faces once more the troubled sea outside. 

The peace of God] That is, the glad calm of soul which is produced 
in us by fellowship with God, being communicated to us by the Holy 
Spirit. It is the gift of God to the believer as he lives the life of faith. 


and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. 

The expression of the text is unique ; it is found in no other j)assage of 
the New Testament. But a similar phrase ' the peace of Christ * occurs 
in Col. iii. 15. It is interesting to compare the two. 

Here, 'the peace' of God is represented as a sentinel, guarding our 
hearts and thoughts. 

There, < the peace of Christ ' is regarded as an umpire or art>itrator, 
awarding the prize to the pure motive and the right decision. 

It should be noticed that this heavenly peace has nothing in common 
with the passive resignation of the Hindu or Muhammadan fatalist. 
Neither is it of like kind with the Santi, or quietism of the Indian as- 
cetic, a sort of stillness or equability of mind thought to be attainable 
by the subdual of the passions and meditation on the deity. 

No ! the peace in view here is the very impartation of His own 
nature by the living Christ to the soul which abides in Him, by the 
power of the almighty Spirit. See John xiv. 27, ' My peace give I unto 
you ; not as the world giveth give I unto you ', It is a peace as 
possible and as real in the busy mart as in the quiet jungle. 

Moule's note should be quoted : ' The long and full previous context 
all leads up to this ; the view of our acceptance in and for Christ alone 
(iii. 3-9) ; the deepening knowledge of the living Lord and His power (10) ; 
the expectation, in the path of spiritual obedience, of a blessed future 
(11-21) ; watchful care over communion with Christ, and over a temper 
befitting the Gospel, and over the practice of prayer (iv. 1-6),' 

Which passcth all understanding] Literally, 'The (peace) suri^assing 
all mind'. That is, this matchless peace transcends all power of thought 
or conception ; our intelligence cannot gauge or grasp it (cf. Eph. iii. 
19). It is supernatural, and so above and beyond the highest reach 
of our mental processes. ' Our reason recognizes that this peace exists, 
because God exists ; our articulate reasoning cannot overtake its ex- 
periences ; they are always above, below, beyond' (INIoule). 

Here then we are face to face with the supernatural in man's ex- 
perience. Docs not speculative philosophy, however reverent in tone, 
lose sight of the very simplest axioms of truth when it endeavours to 
apprehend and explain, in the language of human logic, those mysteries 
of the unseen world which, from their very nature, 'pass the ken of 
man' and can only ba known at all by special revelation? In no land 
has religious speculation been more rife than heie in India. Hindu 
sages and philosophers have thought deeply and subtly, and attempted 
to unravel the intricate secrets of being, both human and divine. The 
result is a series of S&stras and Darsanas in which thr-ir deductions 
have been reduced to systems, each of which has its devoted followers. 


Fiuaiiy, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever 8 

Bub is it fcurprising to find that their conclusions are disappointing 
and mutually conflicting ; so that, while some are theistic, others are 
atheistic; and, while some recognize the existence of the human spirit 
as a fact, others see in it only a virtual image or reflection of the 
impersonal divine Spirit? 

How much more reasonable is the position of this chapter which admits 
that God and His nature and His peace 'pass all understanding ', while 
yet indicating a way by which they may be appropriated and enjoyed. 

Bishop Lightfoot prefers to understand the expression as meaning 
* surpassing every device or counsel of man '. The < peace of God ', 
according" to this interpretation, brings a more complete satisfaction to 
the heart than any anxious planning or forethought or deliberation 
could do. 

Passes] Another form of the same word as the one rendered ' ex- 
cellency ' in iii. 8. 

Shall guard] The word means to ' keep watch or guard ' like the 
garrison of a fort or the sentry of a camp. It has been pointed out that 
a striking paradox is involved in representing peace as a warrior-sen- 
tinel, bui paradoxes are common in divine things and serve to fix at- 
tention ou them. (Cf. Eph. vi. 15 for a similar paradox). 

The word ' guard ' occurs in three other passages. In 2 Cor, xi. 82 
we have a historical illustration of guarding in the action of the governor 
of Damascus watching the city in order to take Paul. The other 
occurrences of the word njay be here collated. 

(a) The law guarding its prisoners. Gal. iii. 23. 

(b) The peace of God guarding true believers. Phil. iv. 7. 

(c) The power of God guarding waiting Christians. 1 Pet. i. 5. 

In the last passage, however, it would be possible to regard God's power 
as the fortress rather than the sentry, * Who in the power of God are 
guarded, etc'. Where fair peace is sentinel, anxious care cannot enter. 

Your hearts] The ' heart', in scriptural usage, is the seat alike of the 
will, the affections, and the reflective faculties. It is practically synony- 
mous with ' the inner man '. See e.g., Matt- v. 8 ; ix. 4; xv. 8, 19 ; John 
xiv. 1; xvi. 6; Rom. ii. 29; viii. 27 ; x. 8 ; 1 Cor. ii. 9; iv. 5; xiv. 25; 
2 Cor. iv. G ; Eph. i. 18 ; Col. iii. 15. The promise is, therefore, that 
the 'inner man', with its every desire and thought and feeling, shall 
be kept in perfect rest. 

And your thoughts] The word carries the ideas of ' perception *, 
'thought', 'design'. It oc*curs elsewhere only in 2 Corinthians ii. 11; 
iii. 14 ; iv. 4 ; X. 5 ; xi. 3, which texts should be well studied. The 


things are ^ honourable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever 
3Gr. reverend, things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, 
4 Or, oracious. whatsocver things are * of good report ; if there be 

'thoughts' reside in and come forth from the 'heart'. They are the 
product, if not the process, of the various workings of the heart in detail. 
IMoule suggests ' acts of mind'. 

God's peace is thus to garrison not only the whole ' inner man ' in 
general, but every motion of the will, every desire of the affections, and, 
in particular (as this phrase indicates), every action of the intelligence 
in thought and purpose. This is tranquillity indeed (cf. Is. xxvi. 3). 

In Christ Jesus] He is Lhe fortress in which the soul is guarded by 
God's peace, — the sacred citadel of holy rest. Outside, all is turmoil, 
trouble, and anxiety. In Him, all is joy and calm. 

8. Finally] See note on iii. 1. According to one hypothesis, there 
noticed, the interrupted conclusion of the Epistle is herewith resumed. 

Brethren] See notes on iii. 18, 17 ; iv. 1. 

Whatsoever things are true] The Apostle now shows that the heart 
and thoughts of the Christian, while kept in Christ -Jesus and guarded by 
God's peace, have yet full scope for exercise. There are fair meadows, 
full of flowers, over which we may roam at will. Boundaries there are 
indeed, but within them lies all that is really good and beautiful. 
Beyond them it is unsafe for the Christian's foot to tread or his mind 
to wander. 

This verse, then, demarcates those regions of thought, feeling, and 
action, which are legitimate for the man who would live in the glad con- 
sciousness of God's favour and in the enjoyment of His peace. It will be 
seen that such an expdrience is circumscribed by eight great boundary 
lines. Bishop Lightfoot has pointed out that there is a sort of descend- 
ing scale in the eight attributes here enumerated. He would describe 
the first pair ' true and honourable ' as absolute qualities ; the next pair 
' just and pure ' as relative virtues ; the third pair ' lovely and of 
good report ' as carrying man's moral approbation ; and the last two 

* virtue and praise ' as appealing to lower motives and added as an 
after-thought. However this may be, we are surely to consider them as 
a consistent whole. It is not that one of them contradicts another, or 
allows a greater license than its predecessor. For example, what is 

* lovely ' must be also * true ' if it claims to find a place within God's 
boundary line ; and, in the same way, what is ' praiseworthy ' must be 
also ' just ' and * pure '. 

True] That is, ' true ' in the most absolute and comprehensive sense 
of the word. Truth must be the characteristic both of the nature and 


5 Gr. Tale ac' j^^y yiitiie. jiiid if there be any praise, ' think on 

count of- '' •^ ^ 

the actions of all that seeks cidmission into this sacred circle. Truth in 
being, as well as truth in fipcal-'ing, is intended here. Insincerity of any- 
kind is fcital to true holiness. It is dangerous to allow our minds to 
dwell upon anything which is unreal and untrue, just as it is detrimental 
to permit ourselves to follow methods of casuistry in speech ' for the sake 
of argument '. Our wisdom and safety is to cleave only to that which is 
' true ' in our thinking, in our speaking, in our reading, and in our doing. 
The range of our thoughts, words, and deeds, however wide, must be 
confined by the border-line of truth. This attribute is set first because 
it is the basis of all the rest. Without truth, nothing can be regarded 
as 'just', or * pure ', or 'praiseworthy', from God's point of view. 

In this country, we cannot insist too strongly on the paramount im- 
portance of truth. No one carries more respect in India than the 
man whose motives are known to be absolutely sincere and whose word 
can be fully relied upon. 

Honourable] The word thus rendered signifies a quality which com- 
bines gravity and dignity in such a way as to invite ' reverence.' (See 
Trench's Synonyins). 

It occurs again in 1 Tim. iii. 8, 11 ; Tit. ii. 2 (grave) ; in each case as 
■ 'onnected with ministerial character ; while the cognate noun is found 
in 1 Tim. ii. 2 ; iii. 4 ; Tit. ii. 7. It is the opposite of what is frivolous and 
mean. There is a holy gravity which becomes the Christian. Whatever 
is serious, sacred, venerable is thus seen to be a fitting subject for our 
thoughts and speech and actions. W^e are to avoid everything which 
is not worthy of honour and respect. 

Just] Or 'righteous', both in the sight of God and man. Strict in- 
tegrity must mark the Christian's character and life. Nothing that is 
wrong or crooked ought to be entertained in his mind, tolerated in his 
speech, or allowed in his conduct. ' For the Lord is righteous ; Ke loveth 
righteousness' (Ps. xi. 7). 

Pure] This word suggests the idea of shrinking from pollution of every 
kind. It describes what is pure and stainless, especially as regards absten- 
tion from unchastity and the sins of the flesh. It demands clean thoughts, 
clean words, clean deeds. It is found again in 2 Cor vii. 11 ; xi. 2 ; 1 Tim. 
V. 22; Tit. ii. 5 ; Jas. iii. 17 ; 1 Pet. iii. 2; 1 Joh. iii. 3; while a noun 
derived from it occurs in 2 Cor. vi. 6 ; xi. .9. 

Thus the fourth line with which God would circumscribe the hearts and 
lives of His people is that of holy chastity. Impurity of speech (not to 
speak of secret thoughts and actions) is sadly rife in many Indian homes. 
The minds of children are thus corrupted from their tenderest years. 


9 these things. The things which ye botli learned and received 

Christians, at least, mnsfc sot their faces firmly against the tolera- 
tion of polluting words. We need to pay special attention, too, to 
the character of the books which we read, for much of the literature 
of the country is far from being good or pure. 

Lovely] The only occurrence of this word in the New Tcstamevit. It 
means that which is ' pleasing ', ' amiable ', ' kindly ', ' endearing '. ' The 
Christian is here reminded that his ]\raster would have him attend to 
manner as well as matter in his life. Grace should make u<5 gracious ' 

We should seek to drink so deeply of the mind of Christ that our 
deportment, especially before non-Christians, may bo attractive and 
gracious, and our looks, words, and actions may be marked by true 

Of good report] This word, also, is peculiar to this verse. Some under- 
stand it to mean 'fair-speaking', in the sense of kindly and winning 
speech. Others regard it as equivalent to ' high-toned ', as dealing with 
lofty truths and noble principles. The rendering of the text gives it, 
however, a passive significance, ' things that are well spoken of '. 

Moule paraphrases, so as to combine these various idens, ' Things that 
are sweet to speak of, things prompting a loving and noble tone of conver- 
sation.' Our minds should be exercised only in such things .as, when 
expressed in words, will appear noble and winsome and fair. 

If there be any virtue] St. Paul here purposely changes the expres- 
sion from ' whatsoever things are ' to * if there be any '. He seems to 
be, so to speak, making the range of thought and act allowed to the 
Christian as wide as actual holiness will permit. Beyond that, he can- 
not and he will not go. 

Virtue] This is the favourite word in pagan ethics for ' moral ex" 
cellence ', but it is remarkable that St. Paul, who must have known it 
well, studiously ignores it except in this one passage. Probably this was 
because of its heathen associations, since it spoke, in their understanding 
of it, of self-reliance and not of self-denial. Their idea of 'virtue' was 
that of valorous deeds depending on self-help, while his was that of holi- 
ness depending on another and demanding the utmost humility. 

Here, in this one verse, he gives it a place, as though to say, ' What- 
ever of real gocd is included in that old word ''virtue", whatever it 
connotes of true moral excellence, on that nlso may your thoughts be 
rightly and profitably fixed '. 

The word is used elsewhere only by St. Peter (1 Pet. ii. 9 ; 2 Pet. i. 3, 5), 
of the laudable glories cf God on the one hand and of the Christian's 


and heard and saw in me, these things do : and the God of 
peace shall he with you. 

active and vigorous godliness on the other. This latter use of the word 
throws light on the idea probably present in St. Paul's mind when he 
wrote it here, that of ' active energy for what is right '. Whatever makes 
for vigorous morality is a legitimate object for our interests and plans. 

If there be any praise] Here, again, he delimits the boundary of 
things lawful and useful with a wise hand. ' Whatever is well-pleasing 
to God, or rightly evokes praise and approval from the human conscience, 
let this also occupy your minds and influence your lives '. He is far from 
directing us to try and please men (Gal. i. 10). But he knows full well 
that what is true and right commends itself to the conscience of every 
man worthy of the name ; and, above all, he seeks the commendation of 
God ; for the usage of the word distinctly includes the divine approval. 

The other passages in which it is found should be carefully studied and 
compared, in order to form a right conception of its Scripture meaning. 
They are Rom. ii. 29; xiii. 3; 1 Cor. iv. 5 ; 2 Cor. viii. 18 ; Eph. i. 6, 12, 
14; Phil. i. 11 ; 1 Pet. i. 7; ii. 14. 

Think on these things] Margin, ' Take account of these things '. 
The verb here employed is variously rendered in R. V. It is translated 
' reason ' in Mar. xi. 31 ; * reckon ' in Luke xxii. 37 ; Rom. ii. 3, 26 ; iv. 
.3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 22, 23, 24 ; vi. 11 ; viii. 18 ; ix. 8 ; 2 Cor. v. 19 ; x. 
11 ; xi. 5 ; Gal. iii. C ; Jas. ii. 23 ; ' take account ' in John xi. 50 ; 1 Cor. xiii. 
5 ; ' account ' in Acts xix. 27 ; Rom. viii. 36 ; xiv. 14 ; 1 Cor. iv. 1 ; 2 Cor. 
iii. 5 ; xii. 6 ; Heb. xi. 19; 1 Pet. v. 12 ; ' think ' in 1 Cor. xiii. 11 ; Phil. 
iv. 8 ; ' consider' in 2 Cor. x. 7 ; ' count ' in 2 Cor. x. 2 ; Phil. iii. 1.3-; 
and * lay to account ' in 2 Tim. iv. 16. 

It was primarily used of numerical calculations, but came to denote 
all kinds of logical reasoning and thinking. It carries the ideas here of 
accurate calculation, right estimation, and careful reasoning. In view 
of a liability to false doctrines (ch. iii), and a constant danger of self- 
assertion, disunion, and anxious care (iv. 1-6), it is essential to take right 
views of things, and to exercise the heart and thoughts in a discrimi- 
nating sense and use of what is true and honourable and just and pure. 

Conybeare and Howson, following the primary meaning of the verb 
translate * Be such your treasures '. In this view, the Christian counts 
up all that is honourable and true, as his lawful possessions and 
repudiates all else beside. 

Thus we see that God has drawn around the hearts and lives of His 
people an eight-fold boundary line, W^ithin the limits of what is true 
and honourable and just and pure and morally lovely and high-toned 


10 • But I 6 reioice ia the Lord greatly, that now 

G Gi\ Rejoiced. , , '', . ^ , , , 

at length ye have revived your thought for me ; 

and actively virtuous and praiseworthy before God and man, it is ours 
to think and speak and act. 

Truly ours is a parfect Gospel, and its code of ethics could hardly be 
better summarized than in this one verse of Scripture. What makes 
the Christian position even more unique is that the jiower of the 
living Christ is given to us that we may live according to our code 
(see V. 13). 

9. The things which ye both learned] That is, ' learned from me when I 
was with you in Philippi as your teacher.' Though it may also include 
lessons inculcated in the past by other Christian teachers too. 

And received] ' Especially from me, as I " passed on" to you the truths 
which I had myself been taught.' This verb means ' to receive something 
from another'. St. Paul uses it eleven times (1 Cor. xi, 23; xv. 1, 3; 
Gal. i. 9, 1-2 ; Phil. iv. 9 ; Col. ii. 6 ; iv. 17 ; 1 Thes. ii. 13 ; iv. 1 ; 2 Thes. 
iii. 6). A study of these verses will show that the great missionary 
received his messages from the Lord Himself and then handed them 
on to others. This is the true method of Christian teaching. 

And heard] By ear, from the Apostle's precepts. Or, perhaps also, 
heard by hearsay about his consistent conduct, when he was absent from 
them (cf. i. 30). 

And saw] By eye, in St. Paul's conduct. They had ocular demonstra- 
tion, in this way, of the reality of the Gospel. His practice exemplified 
his doctrine. 

In me] That is, ' In my life and conduct '. The Apostle's daily walk 
was itself a sermon. The words are properly connected with the verb 
'saw', but they may also be carried back to the previous verb 'heard'. 

Is not an appeal to personal witness and experience, if it be true and 
honest, one of the most forcible of arguments ? When the Hindus and 
Musalmans * hear ' and ' see ' the Gospel in those who profess to have 
received it, the evangelization of India will be immensely accelerated. 

Do] Better, ' Practise ' (cf. John iii. 20, margin ; v. 29, margin ; Acts 
xix. 19 ; Rom. i. 32 ; ii. 1, 2, 3 ; vii. 15, 19 ; Gal. v. 21). 

It means to do things as a habit, to carry them out in daily practice. 
Religion must always be brought to the test of practice. And Jndia, 
perhaps of all lands, most needs applied religion. 

If we Christians carried out in life all that we have learned and 
received and heard and seen, real godliness would be less uncommon. 


7 wherein ye did indeed take thought, but ye lacked oppor- 
1 Or, seeing that, tunity. Not that I Speak in respect of want: n 

And] See first note on v. 7. The two clauses of this verse are hereby 
linked together, almost as cause and effect. If we practise what we have 
learned of the Gospel, then the God of peace will be with us. 

The God of peace] In v. 7 we had 'the peace of God' ; here, better 
still, we have 'the God of that (definite article in the original) peace' 
Himself. There we had the stream ; here we have the source. As 
Bengel long ago observed, we enjoy ' Not only the peace of God, but 
God Himself '. If the peace -giver be with us, the peace is our's indeed. 
This sweet phrase ' the God of peace ' occurs six times in the New 
Testament, whilst once we find an interesting variation ' the Lord of 

(a) Kely on Him as your ever-present friend and the God of peace 

shall be with you. Rom. xv. 30, 33. 
(6) Be watchful and obedient and the God of peace shall be with 
you. Rom, xvi. 20. 

(c) Live in peace, and the God of peace shall be with you. (The 

God of love and peace). 2 Cor. xiii. 11. 

(d) Practise holiness, and the God of peace shall be with you. Phil. 

iv. 9. 
{e) Abstain from every form of evil and the Lord of peace shall be 

with you. 1 Thes. v. 22—3. 
(/) Be not weary in well doing and ' the Lord of peace ' will be with 

you. 2 Thes. iii. 15-16. 
{g) Endure trials bravely and the God of peace shall be with you. 
Heb. xiii. 20. 

In each case study the context and the circumstances of the 

Christians addressed. 

All this shows clearly that ' peace ' does not mean idleness ; it is 

the true strength for active working ; and only as we ' practise ' what 

we know will 'the God of peace' be with us. Peace and practice go 


How perfect is the ' peace ' which He gives to the obedient Christian^ 
« peace at all times, in all ways ' (2 Thes. iii, 16) ; and one various read- 
ing adds 'in every place'. 

This great missionary was himself the object lesson to his people. The 
tenses of the verbs in this verse (Aorist) point specially to the time of 
his personal presence among them in the past. Notice, too, that while 

V. 8 defines the proper subjects for Christian thinking, v. 9 afford art 
example for Christian acting. 



for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein 

vv. 10-20, Personal. His thankfulness and contentment. 

10. But] This conjunction seems to convey the idea that he may 
have seemed to some to have forgotten to acknov^^ledge their kind gifts ; 
but it is not really so, and he will hasten to make mention of them 

It also marks the transition from the doctrinal to the personal, 
*But, — to turn to another subject'. Cf. Rom. xvi. 17; 1 Cor. xvi. 
15 ; Eph. vi. 21 ; 1 Thes, v. 12 for a similar use of the word in passing 
from one topic to another. 

I rejoice in tlie Lord] Literally, ' I rejoiced in the Lord.' The ren- 
dering of the text regards the verb as an epistolary Aorist (see note on ii. 
25). But it is open to regard it as having the ordinary Aorist force, and 
as referring to the actual time when he received: their contributions; 
indeed this seems preferable. 

He has twice or thrice bidden the Philippians to ' Rejoice in the Lord ' 
(iii. 1 ; iv. 4 ; and see notes there and on iv. 2). Here he is seen to prac- 
tise himself what he preaches to others. 

Greatly] It is remarkable that this is the only New Testament passage 
in which this adverb occurs, though the corresponding adjective is so 
common. If we do nothing else ' greatly ', at least let us ' rejoice greatly'. 

Now at length] This expression is found again in Rom. i. 10. Its force 
is ' Now, after the lapse of so long a time '. 

Ye have revived] This verb, peculiar to the present passage, means 
really 'to put forth fresh shoots', like the branch of a fruit tree. 

The tense (Aorist) points back to the actual time when they collected 
and despatched to him their contributions, ' You (then) shot forth the 
fresh blossoms of kindly thought for me '. 

Bengel thinks that they had sent Epaphroditus in the spring time, 
when the trees were breaking out anew into bud and blossom, and that 
this metaphor was suggested by that fact. But this, though an inge- 
nious suggestion, hardly suits the date (Introd. III). 

In any case, the simile is a beautiful and truly poetical one, and shows 
the culture and courtesy of the Apostle's mind. Christians are ' the 
trees of the Lord ' (Ps. i. 3 ; civ. 16 ; Is. Ixi.. 3) ; and, under another 
figure, branches of the vine (John xv. 5). They should, therefore, ever 
be shooting forth new blossoms and fruit. And not the least fair of 
all such fragrant blossoms is loving thoughtfulness for others. 

Your thought for me] This is the object of the verb and so denotes the 
thing germinated. It reads literally, ' Your thinking on my behalf,' 


to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how 12 
to abound : in everything and in all things have I learned the 

where the verb * think ' (mind) is the same as recurs constantly in this 
Epistle (Introd. VI). The ' mind of thoughtful sympathy ', in this case, 
took shape in money contributions for God's work, as carried on by His 

Our thoughtful care for others must show itself in deeds as well as words 
(Jas. ii, 15, 16) ; and our interest in the welfare of our Church and in the 
evangelization of the heathen must be evinced by liberal gifts, to the 
extent of real self-denial. 

Wherein ye did indeed take thought] The Apostle's gentle courtesy will 
not allow him to write what may be understood by some as veiled rebuke 
without at once hastening to remove any such possible impression. He 
gracefully acknowledges their good intentions as well as their actual gifts. 

It means literally ' With a view to which (i.e., satisfying my wants and 
so helping on God's work) ye were indeed all along taking thought ' 
^imperfect tense). 

Conybeare and Howson paraphrase, ' Though your care indeed never 

But ye lacked opportunity] The words ' ye-lacked-opportunity ' re- 
present one Greek verb, found only in this passage in the New Testament. 
An adverb, however, from the same root occurs in 2 Tim. iv. 2 (out of 

How lovingly considerate St. Paul is in his way of putting it ! Whether 
they were short of means for some time, or had no suitable messenger to 
send, or found it impossible to communicate with the prisoner till after 
his arrival at Rome, or whatever the reason may have been, it is all 
covered by his kindly phrase, ' Ye lacked opportunity'. 

II. Not that I speak in respect of want] The expression 'not that' 
occurs again in this Epistle in iii. 12 ; iv. 17. It is a phrase used for 
the purpose of avoiding misapprehension (Winer, page 746). 

In respect of want] i.e., * in consequence of suffering want '. His lan- 
guage in writing the preceding words was not dictated by pressing needs. 

This word ' want ' occurs again only in Mark. xii. 44, of the widow's 
great penury. 

For 1] There is stress on the ' I ', as though to say ' I at least am living 
a contented life. Let others do so too '. 

Have learned] The verb is in the Aorist ' I learned ' (in the past). 
Possibly it refers to some epoch of special privation, or to the period of 
time which had elapsed between their earlier and later contributions. 


secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both tp abound and to 

In whatsoever state I am] Literally, 'In what (things) I am', i.e., 
* in my actual circumstances '. How many Christians complain of their 
circumstances and blame them for their failures ! 

To be content] The primary meaning of this word is ' self-sufficient ', 
and so independent of external circumstances, 'having enough'. The 
Stoic philosophers laid great stress on this as a virtue. The adjective 
occurs only in this verse, but the cognate noun is found in 2 Cor. ix. 8 , 
1 Tim. vi. 6 ; both interesting references. 

The Christian is thus ' content ' or ' self-contained ' in the sense of 
carrying with him, in Christ, all that he needs, so that he does not depend 
for happiness on his environment. Christ has come to replace that old 
'self of his, and so, in this new sense, he is indeed 'self-sufficient', 
since Christ is his sufficiency, (cf. 2 Cor, iii. 5, 6.) 

12. To be abased] Cf. for the same verb, Matt, xxiii. 12; Luke iii. 
5; xiv. 11; xviii. 14; Jas. iv. 10; 1 Pet. v. C. 

These references appear to fix the sense here as ' to be humbled ', 
to be down low', with a consciousness of unworthiness and need. *I 
know how to bear humiliation'. 

Moule, however, understands it as meaning ' to be low ' in resources- 
and comforts, and he refers to the fact that the word is used sometimes 
in the Greek classics, of a river running low. 

To abound] A favourite word of St. Paul's. He has already used it in 
i. 9 26, and uses it again in this verse, as also in v. 18. See note on i. 26. 

Probably the contributions of the Philippians had brought about such 
a sejison of ' abundance.' 

It is just as great a secret to know how to bear abundance as it i& 
to know how to endure abasement. Prosperity often brings more danger 
to the soul than adversity. 

In everything and in ail things] That is, ' in every circumstance, con- 
sidered separately ; and in all circumstances, considered collectively. 
' In the details and in the total ' (Moule). 
For the phrase 'in everything', see note on v. 6. 
' In all things'. Compare a group of texts in which these words occur, 
(ft) Faithful in all things. 1 Tim. iii. 11. 
(6) Having understanding in all things. 2 Tim, ii. 7. 
(c) Being sober in all things. 2 Tim. iv. 5. 
{d) Well pleasing in all things. Tit. ii. 9. 
[e) Adorning the Gospel in all things. Tit. ii. 10. 
(/) Living honestly in all things, Heb. xiii, 18, 
(ry) Glorifying God in all things. 1 Pet. iv. 11. 
(/i) Content and satisfied in all things, (here). 


be in want. I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me. 13 

Have I learned the secret! This verb ' to learn the secret ' is found only 
here in the New Testament. It is the technical term used of a person's 
being ' initiated into mysteries '. From the same root, which means to 
close or shut (as the eyes or mouth), comes our word mystery. Systems 
of religious mysteries, into which people were initiated by special rites, 
date from very early times, and were prevalent, in their turn, among the 
Greeks. The esoteric secrets connected with those systems were known 
only to those so initiated, and were carefully kept from outsiders. We 
have a modern counterpart in the Order of Freemasons. 

In the New Testament the word mystery, has been adopted to signify 
* a secret once hid from view but now revealed to believers in the Gospel '. 
(See e.g., Matt. xiii. 11 ; Eph. iii. 3; vi. 19 ; Col. i. 26, 27 ; 1 Tim. iii. 16). 

The Apostle Paul had been initiated into this open secret of Christian 

To be filled] The word means ' to be fed to satiety.' It was originally 
used of feeding cattle, but gradually lost its first meaning and became 
applied to men. Its force of ' full fed ' will appear by reference to the 
following texts in which it is employed ; Matt. v. 6 ; xiv, 20; xv. 33, 37 ; 
Mark vii. 27 ; Luke xv. 16 ; xvi. 21 ; Jas. ii. 16 ; Rev. xix. 21. 

To be hungry] St. Paul had known the pangs of ' hunger ' (1 Cor, 
iv. 11). So had his master (Matt. iv. 2 ; xxi. 18). 

The verb is cognate to the noun which is found in v. 11. To be equally 
satisfied in repletion and in depletion, in abundance and in want — to be 
always equable, happy, content, this is indeed a secret of life worth 

Surely this doctrine of contentment (cf. 1 Tim. vi. 6-8) cuts at the root 
of that habit of running into debt which is so sadly prevalent among the 
people of India, and even among Christians. With Rom. xiii. 8 before 
us, how can we possibly justify the incurring of debt in order to make 
large expenditures over marriages, or to ' keep up a position ', or to ac- 
quire lands, or to educate our children beyond our means ? St. Paul had 
learned a secret which the Indian Church will do well to lay to heart. 
He was satisfied with his income, fluctuating though it was ; and he lived 
accordingly. He was self-sufficient in that he placed full confidence 
in God to provide for all his needs ; and he never icent into debt. 

13. I can do all things] This glorious verse reads literally thus, ' For 
all things I am strong in Him who enableth me. 

The verb means ' to be strong ' with the strength of ability, the strength 
which prevails. For its usage in the New Testament study, e.g., 
Mark ix. 18; Luke xiii. 24-; xiv. 29, 30; xx. 26; John xxi. 6; Acts 
vi. 10 ; xix. 16, 20 ; Jas. v. 16. 


14 Howbeit ye did well, that ye had fellowship with my affliction. 

We see the Apostle ' strong in the strength which God supplies ', cheer- 
fully facing any concurrence of circumstances or combination of diffi- 
culties which may arise, in the glad consciousness that he can success- 
fully cope with them and prevail. Be it ' fighting with beasts at Ephesus ' 
(1 Cor. XV. 32), or patiently enduring ' the stake in the flesh ' (2 Cor. xii. 
7-10), the God-given strength is all-sufficient. The recurrence of the 
expression ' all things ' in this Epistle is remarkable (ii. 14 ; iii. 8, 21 ; iv, 
13, 18). 

With this verse before us, the possibilities of progress and victory in 
the Christian's life and work are unlimited. He 'can do all things', 
which are the will of God for him. 

In Him that strengtheneth me] For the active use, in other passages, 
of this verb ' enableth ', see 1 Tim. i. 12 ; 2 Tim. iv. 1.7, where Christ is 
represented as ' infusing power ' into His servant for the work of the 
ministry in the one case, and for the stress of a great trial in the other. 

The same verb is found, though not in the active voice, in Acts ix. 22 ; 
Kom. iv. 20 ; Eph. vi. 10 ; 2 Tim. ii. 1 ; Heb. xi. 34. 

The idea of the verse is this. God supernaturally imparts His divine 
power (enableth, empowereth) to the Christian who sincerely trusts Him ; 
and that power finds expression in the strength which avails for ' all 
things'. In other words, the ' strength' is the putting forth of the 
♦power'. It is 'the action of the faculty' (Moule). But it is all 
• in Him ', and is procurable in no other way (John xv, 5). 

There must be the constant maintenance of vital union with Christ 
if this power is to be infused, 

14. Howbeit] The same particle as in i. 18 ; and iii, 16 (only). The 
Apostle's sensitive care for the feelings of the Philippians again show» 
itself. While he finds all-sufficiency in Christ, he can yet lovingly ac- 
knowledge and appreciate the friendship and assistance of His people. 

Ye did well] The phrase ' to do well ' will be found again in Matt. xii. 
12 ; Mark vii. 37 ; Luke vi. 27 ; Acts -x. 33 ; Jas. ii. 8, 19. A study of 
these passages will show us God's idea of true beneficence. The reference 
here, of course, is to their despatch of loving gifts to him. 

Tliat ye had fellowship with my affliction] Cf. note on i. 7 where 
the cognate noun occurs. This verb is found again only in Eph. v, 11 ; 
Rev. xviii. 4 ; and in both those passages it is med of a forbidden ' taking 
part ' in the sins of others. Here it denotes a united participation in 
St. Paul's afflictions, in the sense of sympathy and substantial help. 

The simpler verb ' to partake of ', from which this one is compounded 
is used in Rom. xii. 13 ; xv. 27 ; Gal. vi. G ; Phil. iv. 15 ; 1 Tim. v. 22 ; 


And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the be- 15 
ginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no 

Heb. ii. 14 ; 1 Pet. iv. 13 ; 2 John 11 ; and in the first three of these 
references pecuniary assistance is again in view. 

The particular construction employed here would indicate that the 
Philippians went ' into partnership ', so to speak, with the Apostle's 
' affliction ', in the sense of making common cause with it and relieving 
it. Money gifts are in prominent view, but the thought includes the 
loving sympathy and friendship which prompted those gifts. 

This verse teaches us that our sympathy must be practical. We need 
to display more of that real fellowship and fellow-feeling which will 
minister to the sick and needy, not only in the way of prayer and exhor- 
tation, but also in very practical directions. How many Christians, for 
example, think of sweeping the house for sick friends, or drawing water 
from the well for them, or looking after their children ? 

And, assuredly, we need more of that Christian liberality which gives- 
till it costs us something. The man who professes much piety and yet 
gives sparingly of his means for God's work will find no encouragement 
for so un-Christian an attitude in these verses. 

The word ' affliction ' has already occurred in this Epistle, in i. 17 
(which see). 

15. And ye yourselves also know] Literally, 'But ye yourselves, etc.* 
The force of the particle is * But I hardly need assure you that I am not 
unwilling to accept your loving gifts ; neither would I convey the notion 
that your latest contributions were necessary to assure me of your sym- 
pathy. That sympathy has been proved beforetimes again and again, a& 
you well remember and as I have good cause to know '. 

Philippians] See note on the title of the Epistle. The word used 
both there and here, 'Philippesians ', is the form by which the settlers 
in a Roman colony would naturally designate themselves. Thus it 
carries the idea of their colonial status with it. 

In the beginning of the Gospel] Meaning, of course, 'in the early days 
of the evangelization of your country '. Cf. note on v. 3 (in the Gospel). 

The word ' Gospel ' practically means here ' the spread of the Gospel '. 

When I departed from Macedonia] This expression, in the Greek, may 
indicate either the actual time of his departure from Macedonia or the 
period which followed such departure. Possibly it covers both. We 
know that contributions were sent to him while he was in Corinth (2 Cor. 
xi. 8, 9), i.e., after he had passed from Macedonia in northern Greece to 
Achaia in southern Greece. And it is not impossible that contributions 
may have been conveyed to him through those who accompanied him 


Hi church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and 
16 receiving, but ye only ; for even in Thessalonica ye sent once 

from Macedonia to Athens (Acts xvii. 14, 15), and so given to him as he 
was passing the border between the two provinces. For the history of 
those days, ten years previous to this, see Acts xvii. 

Had fellowship with me] See note on v. 14, This is the simpler form 
of the verb referred to in that verse. 

Giving and receiving] This is a phrase from commercial life, correspond- 
ing to our ' credit and debit', the two sides of an account. 

The ' giving ' (a word found again in the New Testament only in Jas. i. 
17, see margin) denotes the action of the Philippians in bestowing the 

The ' receiving ' (a word peculiar to this one verse) indicates the 
action of the Apostle in accepting them. 

Ye only] Cf. 2 Cor. xi. 7-9. Bengel points out that it was open to 
them to say that they would give if other Churches gave, but that they 
chose a more excellent way and so received a special meed of praise. It 
does not follow, however, that St. Paul is casting blame on others by way 
of contrast. He is merely engaged in gracefully appreciating the gen- 
erosity of the Philippians who gave so readily, though they made them- 
selves singular in so giving. We should do what moral obligation prompts 
us to do, irrespective of the example and conduct of others, and certainly 
not in a spirit of mere emulation. 

16. Even in Thessalonica] His very next centre of work after leaving 
Philippi (Acts xvii. 1), only about ninety miles away, and in the same 
province of Macedonia. They did not delay help till he had gone to 
Btrange and distant regions. Bis dat qui cito dat, is a Latin proverb, 
meaning * he gives twice over, who gives quickly'. 

Ye sent once and again] Thessalonica lay on the great Egnatian Road 
and so was readily accessible from Philippi. 

A reference to 1 Thes. ii. 9 ; iv. 11 ; 2 Thes. iii. 8-11 shows that he had 
purposely avoided receiving assistance from the Thessalonians, and thus 
the Philippian contributions enabled him to carry on the work there 
without great restriction from lack of means. His stay there was short 
(Acts xvii. 1-10), a few weeks at the most, but they managed in that 
brief space of time to send him subsidies more than once. The ex- 
pression ' once and again' occurs, elsewherCj only in 1 Thes. ii. 18. 

Unto my need] That is, ' To supply my wants '. He has already 
used the same word ' need ' in ii. 25, and it follows again in v. 19. Grati- 
tude is a virtue which Christians ought to cultivate more than they do. 


and again unto my need. Not that I seek for the gift ; but I 1' 
seek for the fruit that increaseth to your account. But I have ^° 

St. Paul was grateful for the smallest kindness shown him by others. But 
it is not an uncommon thing to find those the most ungrateful who have 
received the greatest benefits. In this country, above all other mission 
fields, we have received special help from Christian lands and peculiar 
educational advantages. Let the Indian Church shine forth before the 
world as a Church showing forth singular gratitude to God by fervent 
devotion to His service and by strenuous efforts to pass on the Gospel to 
the ' regions beyond '. 

17. Not that] See note on v. 11. Here the phrase deprecates the 
possibility of their thinking that, in so warmly thanking them, he is actu- 
ated by ' a keen sense of future favours'. A high-souled manlike St. 
Paul shrank from the very semblance of seeking pecuniary help. It was 
for their sakes, rather than his own, that he valued their gift. 

I seek for] The verb is a compound one, having a preposition prefixed 
which gives the idea of eagerness in the search. It thus means ' to seek 
after anything with a keen and eager search '. It is the word, e.g., used in 
Matt. vi. 32 ; xii. 39 ; Acts xii. 19 ; Rom. xi. 7 ; Heb. xi. 14 ; xiii. 14. ' Not 
that I am hunting for your gift '. The money itself, in his eyes, was a 
mere nothing. Lightfoot rightly elucidates the force of the repetition of 
the verb in this verse ' I do not want the gift ; but I do want fruit that 
shall be put to the credit of your account.' 

The gift] This word is only found again in Matt. vii. 11 ; Luke xi. 13 ; 
Eph. iv. 8. A reference to these texts will show that this 'gift' of the 
!Philippians' alms comes, so to speak, in the best of company. 

The fruit that increaseth to your account] Lightfoot paraphrases, ' The 
recompense which is placed to your account, and increases with each 
fresh demonstration of your love '. This expresses the sense of the Greek 

Moule, following St. Chrysostom's comment on this text, renders it, 
« The interest that is accumulating to your account ', understanding the 
word * fruit ' to be here practically synonymous with ' interest.' 

Increaseth] The verb so translated occurs again in Rom. v. 20 ; vi. 
1 ; 2 Cor. iv. 15 ; viii. 15 ; 1 Thes. iii. 12 ; 2 Thes. i. 3 ; 2 Pet. i. 8, and is 
ordinarily rendered ' abound '. Its sense here clearly is ' accumulate '. 

18. But] Even while he earnestly desires that their spirit of liberality 
may continue to manifest itself, for their own good, he is anxious once 
more to avoid the very appearance of self-seeking. 


all things, and abound : I am filled, having received from Epa- 
phroditus the things that came from you, an odour of a sweet 

The series of deprecatory particles in the whole passage is remarkable ; 
' not that ' (v. 11) : ' but ' (v. 15) ; ' not that ' (v. 17) : ' but ' (v. 18). 

I have] The verb means 'I have to the full'. Cf. its use in Matt, 
vi. 2, 5, 16 ; Luke vi. 24 (have received) ; Philem. 15. 

Like the word ' content ' (v. 11), this was also a favourite word among 
the Stoics. 

It should be noticed, too, that it was used by the Greeks of money pay- 
ments, to express a full receipt. So that it may here carry the meaning 
* I have received from you payment to the full, in all respects. Your debt 
of love and gratitude to me is more than discharged'. 

All things] See note on v. 13. 

And abound] ' It is not merely that I have all things to the full ; but I 
am actually running over '. See note on same word in v. 12. Conybeare 
and Howsou paraphrase, ' I have all which I require, and more than I 

I am filled] He seems to pile word upon word to express the super- 
abundance of his satisfaction and contentment. 

' I have been filled full ' would better express the force of the Greek, 
See note on i. 11 ; and cf. John xvi. 24 ; xvii. 13 ; Rom. xv. 14 ; 2 Cor. vii. 
4 ; and, especially. Col. ii. 10, for the same word. 

The special meaning here seems to be ' My wants have been fully 
supplied '. 

Epaphroditus] See notes on ii. 25, 30. Here we have it explicitly 
stated that he was the bearer of their contributions. 

The things (that came) from you] He instinctively avoids using the 
word money. Bengal thinks that gifts in kind and clothes were in- 
cluded ; but the love and sympathy and friendship and gratitude repre- 
sentsd by their presents are, probably, also intended. They were the 
most acceptable tokens of all, lying behind the other gifts and prompting 

An odour of a sweet smell] This expression occurs again in Eph. v. 2, 
and is quoted from the LXX where it is the equivalent of the Hebrew 
* reach nichoach ' (savour of rest). See Gen. viii. 21 ; Ex. xxix. 18 ; Lev. 
i. 9, 13, 17. It is used of all the greater sacrifices of the INIosaic law, 
and is a poetical representation, in type, of the glad satisfaction which 
God finds in the adoring worship and willing service of His people, when 
rendered sincerely through the merits of Lord Jesus Christ. 


smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. And my 19 
God shall fulfil every need of yours according to his riches in 

The usage of the word, therefore, suggests that this gift of the Philip- 
pians to God's servant was a little proof of their having surrendered 
themselves, as a whole burnt-offering, with all their possessions, to the 
service of their Redeemer. It also savours of the ' peace-offering ' of 

'Odour'. This word is found in four other verses. 

(a) The odour of the woman's ointment. John xii. 3. 

(b) The odour of the knowledge of Christ. 2 Cor. ii. 14. 

(c) The odour of death unto death and life unto life. 2 Cor. ii. IG. 

(d) The odour of Christ's sacrifice. Eph. v. 2. 
{e) The odour of loving gifts, (here). 

Sweet smell] This occurs only, outside this verse, in 2 Cor. ii. 15 ; Eph. 
v. 2 ; in the former of ' the sweet savour of Christ', and in the latter, as 
here, of the sweetness of the odour of the sacrifice. One word ' fragrance ' 
would well express it. 

A sacrifice] Whether regarded as the whole burnt-offering of conse- 
cration (Lev, i. 9) ; of the ' meal offering ' of holy character (Lev. ii. 9) ; 
or the ' peace offering ' of thanksgiving (Lev. iii. 5) ; or all combined. 

The word 'sacrifices ' has been already used in ii. 17. The ' spiritual 
sacrifices' of the Gospel (1 Pet. ii. 5) are 

(a) The sacrifice of entire self-consecration. Eom. xii. 1. 
(6) The sacrifice of praise and confession. Heb. xiii. 15. 
(c) The sacrifice of good deeds and gifts for God's service. Heb. xiii. 16. 
With the third of these, the present passage is specially connected. 

Acceptable] The word is found again in Luke iv. 19, 24 ; Acts x. 35 ; 
2. Cor. vi. 2. It conveys the idea of ' accepted by ' God. 

Well pleasing] This occurs, in all, in nine passages. We may here 
classify them as mentioning six things well pleasing to God. 

(a) Consecration, Rom. xii. 1, marg. (6) Service, Rom. xiv. 18. 
(c) True Ministers, 2 Cor. v. 9. (cl) Good conduct, Eph. v. 10; Heb. xiii. 
21. {e) Obedience, Col. iii. 20 ; Tit. ii. 9. (/) Sacrifice, Phil. iv. 18. 

While, in Rom. xii. 2, margin, it is used of the will of God as being 
'well pleasing' to the believer. Notice how practical true religion is 
in all its details and in all its applications. 

19, And] Literally, 'But'. The force of the particle probably is. 'I 
cannot recompense you. But my Lord and blaster will do it for me '. 

My God] See note on i. 3. In addition to the strong personal 
grasp on God which it expresses, the ' my ' seems also to carry here 
the force of 'on my behalf. 


20 8Gr. unto the glory ill Chiist Jesus. Now unto our God and 
age, of the noes father he the glory ^ for ever and ever. Amen. 

Shall fulfil] Or ' fill up '. It is the same verb which occurred iu the 
previous verse ' I am filled'. He writes 'Your gifts fully supplied my 
needs ; and now, on my behalf, my God shall fully supply your needs '. 

Every need of yours] Here again the word ' need ' of v. 16 is taken up 
and repeated. The Macadonian converts were not, as a body, rich (-2 Cor. 
viii. -2). Out of their 'deep poverty' they contributed to the spread of 
the Gospel. It is not improbable, then, that the recent gifts of the 
P'hilippians had left a real gap in their resources ; they may have been 
left in circumstances of ' need ', for they had given up to their power ' yea ! 
and beyond their power.' But God will fill the void, and more than fill 
it. Their void shall not remain a void. Observe, too, the force of the 
word ' every ', it is all-inclusive, and leaves no actual want unsatisfied, 
physical or spiritual. 

According to His riches in glory] Here we have the manner and 
measure and standard of His supply. (See note on iii. 21). 

The meaning is, apparently, ' On the scale of His riches which consist 
in, and are contained in, His glory, the glory of His own manifested 
attributes of perfect power and love and grace'. The shekinah was 
the symbol of that • glory ' in the Old Testament ; our Lord Jesus 
Christ is the embodiment of it in the New. 

Moule's paraphrase brings out the sense of the passage clearly ; ' Yes ! 
He will draw on no less a treasury than that of His " glory". His own 
nature of almighty Love, as it is manifested to and for you " in Christ 
Jesus," in whom "all the fulness" dwells.' 

Conybeare and Howson have ' In the fulness of His glorious riches 
in Christ Jesus.' 

Lightfoot would, however, connect the words ' in glory ' directly with 
the verb 'shall fulfil', and so refer the whole to the future bliss of 
heaven, 'By placing you in glory '. St. Paul is fond of using the word 
' riches ' in connexion with God's attributes and gifts. See Rom. ii. 4 ; 
X. 23 ; X. 12 ; xi. 12, .S3 ; 1 Cor. i. 5 ; 2 Cor. viii. 9 ; ix. 11 ; Eph. i. 7, 18 ; 
iii. 4, 7; iii. 8, 16; Col. i. 27; ii. 2. 

In Christ Jesus] This locates both the ' glory ' and the ' riches '. If we 
are 'in Him', then ours is all the wealth which is stored up in Him; 
cf. Col. i. 19;; ii. 9, 10; Joh. i. 16. In Christ is 'peace' (v. 7); and 
in Him is 'glory' too (v. 19). 

20. Now unto our God and Father] The Apostle characteristically 
breaks out, after a glimpse of the ' riches ' of his Lord, into a doxology 


Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. Tlie brethren which are 21 

of praise. A sight of the ' glory ' (v. 19) sets him singing this ' Gloria ' 
(v. 20). In V. 19 it was ^ vty God.' Here is it "■ ou7- God,' for he unites 
the Philippians with himself in this solemn act of adoration. Notice 
that the 'rich' God is our 'Father'. 

Bengel truly says « The doxology flows out of the joy of the whole 

The glory] See notes on i. 11 ; ii. 11. ' The glory.' that which is pre- 
eminently His and belongs to Him alone. In such doxologies the defi- 
nite article is usually, as here, prefixed. Cf. Rom. xi. 36 ; xvi. 27 ; Gal. 
i. 5 ; Eph. iii. 21 ; 2 Tim. iv. 18 ; Heb. xiii, 21 ; 2 Pet. iii. 18 ; Rev. vii. 
12, marg. It includes the adoring praise offered to Him by His people 
for every manifestation of His power and grace. This Epistle has been 
rich in such manifestations. 

For ever and ever] Literally ' To the ages of the ages '. It is a phrase 
found again in the doxologies of 1 Tim. i. 17 ; 2 Tim. iv. 18 ; Heb. xiii. 21 ; 

1 Pet. iv. 11 ; and eleven times in the Apocalypse (i. 6 ; i. 18 ; iv, 10 ; v. 
1.3 ; vii. 12 ; X. 6 ; xi. 15 ; xiv. 11 ; xv. 7 ; xix. 3 ; xx. 10 ; xxii. 5). 

It conveys the idea of cycles on cycles of duration following each other 
ad infinitum. 

Amen] A Hebrew word meaning 'surely', from a root denoting faith- 
fulness. It is found in the Old Testament, Num. v. 22 ; Deut. xxvii. 
15-26 ; 1 Kings i. 86 ; 1 Chr. xvi. 36 ; Neh. v. 13 ; viii. 6 ; Ps. xli. 13 ; 
Ixxii. 19 ; Ixxxix. 52 ; cvi. 48 ; Isaiah Ixv. 16 ; Jer. xi. 5 ; xxviii. 6. It 
has been adopted in the New Testament and passed into current use 
in the Christian Church. The word breathes great certainty, ' So may 
it be ; so it shall be ; so it is. 

vv. 21-23. Closing Salutation. 

21. Salute] The same imperative is found in Rom. xvi. 3-16 (16 times) ; 

2 Cor. xiii. 12 ; 1 Thes. v. 26 ; Heb. xiii. 24 ; 1 Pet. v. 14. 

Every saint] St. Paul's own enumeration in Rom. xvi. 3-16 is a good 
illustration. Each one is to be greeted in person. Saintship is an 
individual, personal thing. For ' saint ' see note on i. 1. 

In Christ Jesus] This may be taken in direct connexion either with 
the verb ' salute,' or with the noun ' saint '. If the former, it will read 
' Salute in Christ Jesus every saint ' (cf. Rom. xvi. 22 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 19). 

Both thoughts are true. Our saintship is in Christ Jesus ; let our 
greetings be in Him too. Notice the constant recurrence of the phrase 
' in Christ Jesus ' (i. 1, 26 ; ii. 5 ; iii, 3, 14 ; iv. 7, 19). 


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

The brethren which are v/ith me] Cf. Gal. i. 2. This probably means 
St. Paul's personal companions and fellow-missionaries, the choice inner 
circle of his special friends. We think of Luke (Col. iv. 14 ; Philem. 24) ; 
Timothy (Phil. i. 1 ; ii. 19) ; Aristarchus (Col. iv. 10 ; Philem. 24) ; Tychicus 
(Eph. vi. 21 ; Col. iv. 7) ; Epaphras (Col. i. 7 ; iv. 12) ; Mark (Col. iv. 10 ; 
Philem. 24) ; Jesus Justus (Col. iv. 11) ; Onesimus (Col. iv. 9 ; Philem. 10) ; 
Epaphroditus (Phil. ii. 25). Many of these, in all probability, were 
gathered round him in his Roman chamber as he penned the Letter, and 
sent their loving greetings to Philippi. 

Salute you] Such affectionate messages are natural, and are custom- 
ary in the Epistles. Cf. Rom. xvi. 16, 21-23 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 19, 20 ; 2 Cor. 
xiii. 13; Col. iv. 10, 12, 14; etc. 

22. All the saints] This represents a wider circle, the whole Christian 
community at Rome, who sent their loving greetings as a Church. In- 
dividual believers at Philippi were in view in v. 21, here the entire Body 
of believers at Rome is classed together. For • saints,' see note on i. 1. 

Especially] The original has ' But especially.' One class of Christians 
is singled out of the rest as sending greetings of special warmth. 

They that are of Caesar's household] There is nothing in this expression 
itself to limit it either to imperial officers of rank on the one hand or to 
slaves and menial servants on the other. It denotes the entire class of 
the Emperor's retainers, high and low alike, even including persons who 
might now be in distant provinces, either on actual duty or residing there 
on other business. 

Bishop Lightfoot, after investigating the matter thoroughly and weigh- 
ing carefully evidence derived from burial inscriptions (which comprise 
names mentioned in Rom. xvi, e.g., Amplias, Urbanus, Apelles, Tryphsena, 
Tryphosa, Patrobas, Philologus) arrived at the following deductions, all 
possessing a considerable degree of probability. 

(a) That the believers greeted in Rom. xvi. are, on the whole, those 

referred to in this verse. 
(&) That they were Christians before St. Paul's residence in Rome 
which fact would account also for their being apparently known 
by repute to the Philippians. 
(c) That the households of Aristobulus and Narcissus (Rom. xvi. 10, 
11) were the slave-establishments respectively of Herod the 
Great's son Aristobulus and of the emperor Claudius' rich 
favourite Narcissus ; these establishments having been trans- 
ferred to Caesar on account of circumstances. It was customary 


The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. 23 

for households so transferred to retain the name of their 
former master, 
{d) That those ' of Csesar's household ' here referred to were, there- 
fore, in all likelihood, slaves and freedmen attached to the 
Whatever the particular offices filled by these retainers of the Roman 
Csesar, and some of them may have been very humble, at least it is inter- 
esting to find the power of the Gospel thus at work among aclass of men 
who must have been exposed to peculiar temptations. The atmosphere 
of a corrupt heathen court was not the most congenial to the maintenance 
of real spiritual life ; but here we see Christian saints among the retainers 
of the royal house, whether slaves or freedmen, some of them, most 
probably, carrying the fragrance of the Gospel with them into the interior 
of the palace itself. 

23. The grace of the Lord] See note on i. 2. St. Paul's Epistles 
all beyin and ejid with ' grace '. See Rom. i. 7 ; xvi. 20 ; 1 Cor. i. 3 ; 
xvi. 23 ; 2 Cor. i. 2 ; xiii. 14 ; Gal. i. 3 ; vi. 18 ; Eph. i. 2 ; vi. 24 ; Phil. 
i. 2 ; iv. 23 ; Col. i. 2 ; iv. 18 ; 1 Thes. i. 1 ; v. 28 ; 2 Thes. i. 2 ; iii. 18 ; 
1 Tim. i. 2 ; vi. 21 ; 2 Tim. i. 2 ; iv. 22 ; Tit. i. 4 ; iii. 15 ; Philem. 8, 25. 
In most cases, too, ' peace ' as well as ' grace ' is found both in the 
opening and closing sections. 

The Lord Jesus Christ] Notice the full title of Him who is held up 
to view as the source and fountain of 'grace '. Cf. note on iii. 20. He 
is the Lord, with His Divine power ; Jesus, with His saving grace ; and 
the Christ, with His official perfection. 

With your spirit] So also in Gal. vi. 18; Philem. 25. 

The ' spirit ' is the highest part of man's tri-partite nature, and that 
through which ' grace ' acts to dominate the soul and body. Cf. 1 Thes. 
V. 23. 

Here, there is no doctrine of absorption into the Supreme Being; 
but a glorious revelation of the fact that the living God so freely imparts 
His grace to the human spirit that, by the power of that grace ever 
present in energizing actipn, our spirit is quickened, strengthened, and 
enabled for a life of joyful holiness and triumphant service. 




BS2705 .W185 

The Epistle to the Philippians... 

Princeton Theological Seminary-Speer Library 

1 1012 00064 7885