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Paul's Joy in Christ 

Studies in Philippians x^'^'o^^W?^ 

FEB 15 1918 

y By 


Professor of New Testament Interpretation in 

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary^ 

Louisville, Ky. 

" To me to Live is Christ ' 

New York Chicago Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

London and Edinburgh 

Copyright, 19 17, by 

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue 
Chicago: 17 North Wabash Ave. 
Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W. 
London : 2 1 Paternoster Square 
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street 


y. M. Robertson 

my brother who made it possible 
for me to be a preacher 


THESE lectures were first prepared as ex- 
pository talks from the Greek text for the 
Northfield Conference for Christian work- 
ers in August, 191 3. They were dehvered in Sage 
Chapel and their publication was requested by the 
hearers. The addresses have since been repeated at 
Winona Lake, Indiana, Columbus, Ohio, Virginia 
Beach, Moody Bible Institute, and to various other 
assemblies and churches. The Greek text is kept in 
foot-notes so that the average man can read the book 
with comfort without a knowledge of Greek. The 
volume is essentially popular in style and purpose, 
while the latest researches of modern scholarship are 
utilized for the illustration of this noble Epistle. No- 
where is the tender side of Paul's nature better shown 
than here, his delicacy, his courtesy, his elevation of 
feeling, his independence, his mysticism, his spiritual 
passion. My book is not so much a technical com- 
mentary, though it covers all the Epistle, as an in- 
terpretation adapted to modern needs on the part 
of all teachers, preachers and students of the New 
Testament. Nowhere does Paul have more " charm," 
to use Ramsay's phrase, than in Philippians. No- 
where is he more vital and more powerful. Paul was 



not merely a man of supreme genius and high cul- 
ture, but one who let himself go completely in 
spiritual abandonment to the love and life of Jesus. 
It is small wonder that the hypercritical spirit seeks 
to discount him as a paranoiac or a Pharisaic bungler 
who distorted the message of Jesus. Such modern 
critics fail to understand Paul because of failure to 
know Jesus as Paul knew Him by rich experience 
of heart and soul. I confess to a feeling of reverent 
hesitation as I venture to enter afresh this Holy of 
Holies of Paul's Life in Christ. Here we see in 
clear outline, not only Paul's Joy in Life, but his Joy 
in Death, a message sorely needed by many stricken 
hearts during these dreadful days of war. Paul was 
able to see the Face of Christ in Death since Death 
brought Christ in all His fullness.' 

A, T. R. 

Louisville, Ky. 

^ Once more, as I read the proof of this page, I am called 
upon to find Christ in Death, in the going of my young 
daughter, Charlotte, who loved Jesus utterly. 


I. The Brief Salutation . . .11 

{Philippians i : 1-2.) 

II. Joy in Prayer 56 

III. Good Out of III .... 73 

(/ .• 12-20.) 

IV. Joy in Death as Well as in Life . 92 

(/ .• 21-J0.) 

V. Paul's Full Cup . . . .110 

{2 : /-//.) 

VI. Realizing God's Plan in Life . . 141 

{2 : 12-18.) 

VII. Fellowship 158 


VI II. The Holy Quest . . . .174 

IX. Following the Road . • . 204 


X. The Garrison of Peace . • . 225 


XI. The Secret of Happiness • • . 245 

{4.: 10-2 J.) 

(Philippians i : 1-2.) 

THE formula for greeting in Paul's Epistles 
is now very familiar to all students of the 
Greek papyri. Here the technical word for 
greeting,* so common in the papyri and seen in James 
I : I, is absent. But it is implied, of course, and is 
simply taken for granted by Paul. The full formula 
is to " say greeting," ^ like our vernacular " say 
howdy," as we find it in 2 John 10, " give him no 
greeting,"^ and 11, "that giveth him greeting."* 
This most familiar of all Paul's Epistles (or Letters, 
as Deissmann ' insists on calling them all) is very 
simple and direct in the salutation. The outstanding 
facts of the situation come promptly before us. 

I. Paul the Author. 

No one of Paul's Epistles stands upon firmer 
ground than this one, in spite of Baur's vigorous 
attacks upon its genuineness. His arguments have 
been completely answered and McGiffert ^ sums the 

^ ^aipeiv. ^ Xiyecv )raip£iv. ^ )facpetv auT^ fxij Xiyere. 
* 6 Xiywv avTW ^aipztv. 
^" Light From the Ancient East," p. 225. 
^ " The Apostolic Age," p. 393. 


matter up by saying : " It is simply inconceivable 
that any one else would or could have produced in 
his name a letter in which no doctrinal or ecclesias- 
tical motive can be discovered, and in which the 
personal element so largely predominates and the 
character of the man and of the apostle is revealed 
with so great vividness and fidelity," Von Soden * 
denies the genuineness of Ephesians and the Pastoral 
Epistles, but he stoutly defends Philippians : " VVe 
are treading upon very sacred ground as we read this 
epistle. It is without doubt the last from St. Paul's 
hand." The ground is holy beyond a doubt, but not 
because this is the last of Paul's Epistles, Moffatt^ 
waves aside Baur's criticisms as to alleged imitation, 
anachronisms, gnostic controversies, and doctrinal 
discrepancies and argues also for the unity and in- 
tegrity of the Epistle in spite of Polycarp's use of the 
plural ^ in referring to Paul's Epistle which, like the 
Latin litterce, can be used of a single epistle. The 
somewhat broken and disconnected style of Philip- 
pians is due rather to the incidental character of the 
letter and its personal nature. It is in no sense a 
formal treatise and has no announced theme as in 
Romans i : 17, Critics who carp at the lack of order 
in Philippians " forget that Paul was a man, and an 
apostle, before he was a theologian ; and are actually 

* " Early Christian Literature," p, 107. 
^ " Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament," 
pp. 170-176. ^ iruazoXai. 


surprised at his not giving to this familiar letter the 
methodical order of a treatise." ' This " Epistle is 
like a window into the Apostle's own bosom." ^ 
Let us gratefully and reverently look in to see what 
Paul has revealed of Christ in himself. We do not 
know that he used an amanuensis for this Epistle, 
though that was his usual custom (as in Rom. 16 : 22). 
He may have written it all as he did the little letter 
to Philemon (verse 19, " I Paul write it with mine 
own hand "). Timothy and Epaphroditus were with 
Paul when he wrote to the Philippians and either of 
them (in lieu of another scribe) could have performed 
the function for Paul. And yet it is quite possible 
that he penned this love letter with his own hand. 
At any rate he put his heart into it and some of the 
noblest passages that were ever penned by mortal 
man are here. Paul was a versatile man and his 
style adapted itself to the subject matter and the 
mood of the moment, as is the case with all men of 
real eloquence and power of speech. 

2. Paul in Rome. 

He does not say so, nor does he necessarily imply 
it, though that is the most natural inference from the 
incidental allusions in the Epistle. There are some 
scholars who hold that Paul was in prison at Ephesus 
when he wrote the Epistle to the Philippians. The 

' Sabatier, " The Apostle Paul," p. 252. 
"Shaw, "The Pauline Epistles," p. 419. 


Ephesian imprisonment is largely hypothetical and 
the theory due to a possible interpretation of i Cor- 
inthians 15 : 32 ("I fought with beasts at Ephe- 
sus ") and 2 Corinthians i : 8-9 (" concerning our 
affliction which befell us in Asia " and " the sen- 
tence* of death within ourselves "). The idea here 
is, according to this theory, that Paul languished in 
prison in Ephesus and came near to death. It is 
possible to take " praetorian guard " (Phil. 1:13) for 
a band of soldiers in Ephesus and by a stretch 
" Caesar's household " (Phil, 4 : 22) of messengers in 
Ephesus, but the situation and outlook of the Epistle 
do not belong to any known period in Ephesus. 
Caesarea can be made a much more plausible location 
for Paul when he wrote the letter. The arguments 
of Paulus (1799) and Boettger (1837) for Caesarea 
have been adopted and enlarged by O. Holtzmann.^ 
But at most only a possible case is made out. The 
use of praetorium^ for an imperial residence outside 
of Rome is undoubted (Kennedy, Phil, in " Exp. 
Greek Testament," Vol. Ill, p, 404) and it occurs for 
Herod's palace also (Acts 23 : 35) in Caesarea. We 
know that the Augustan band (Acts 27: i)^ was at 
Caesarea. But even if Csesar's household^ is equiva- 
lent to these soldiers or the praetorian guard, it is 
still far more likely that the real household of Caesar 

' TO d.T:6/(pi[ia too davdrou, the answer of death. 
*Theol. Lit., 1890,00]. 177. ^ rpacTwntov. 

* ffT:eijiri<i ^^,3a(Tr7^<s. ^ olaia Kaiaapo^. 


in Rome is meant. We know that later there were 
Christians in the imperial drcles and it is by no 
means unlikely that Paul was able to reach some of 
the slaves in the home of Nero by the help of the 
soldier to whom he was chained. It is true that the 
jealousy of the Judaizing Christians pictured in Phi- 
hppians i : 15-17 does seem to suit Cassarea better 
than Rome, because of its proximity to Jerusalem, 
but it is to be borne in mind that the Judaizers do 
not appear against Paul in Csesarea, and the onset 
against Paul in Jerusalem in Acts 21 was due to Jews 
from Ephesus and not to the Judaizers. It is not at 
all unlikely that the Judaizers would reappear in Rome 
after their defeat in Jerusalem, Antioch, Galatia, and 
Corinth. It is very difficult, besides, to think of 
Paul as expecting a speedy release in Csesarea, either 
at the hands of Felix or Festus, according to the nar- 
rative in Acts 24-26. There was delay also in Rome 
since Luke in closing his story in Acts (28 : 30) states 
that Paul had already spent two whole years ' in his 
own hired house. Nero, Hke Tiberius, was noted for 
his dilatory habits and no accusers may have come 
against Paul. 

When Paul wrote to the Philippians time enough 
had elapsed since his arrival in Rome for the Philip- 
pian church to hear of his arrival and condition and 
to send Epaphroditus with messages and gifts, for 
Epaphroditus to fall ill, for the Phihppians to hear of 

* dceriav vXtjv. 


it, and for Epaphroditus to be distressed over theii 
sorrow, and to recover his health (Phil. 2 : 25-30). 
We do not know, of course, how long this was nor 
precisely how long Paul was in prison in Rome before 
his release, assuming, as I do, that he did not fall a 
victim to the hate of Nero in connection with the 
burning of Rome in a. d. 64. We may say then 
that Paul had left Rome before the early summer of 
A. D. 64. He may have reached Rome in the spring 
of A. D. 59 or 60. Colossians, Ephesians, and Phi- 
lemon were sent together by Onesimus and Tych- 
icus (Philemon 10, 13; Col. 4:7-9; Eph. 6:2if.). 
They were also written from Rome, I hold, and not 
from Ca^sarea or Ephesus. It is not clear whether 
Philippians was despatched before or after this group 
to Asia. The common opinion is that Philippians 
was sent afterwards and just before Paul's release, 
because he expects to be set free when he wrote to 
Philippi (I : 25-26). But he is just as confident of 
getting free when he writes to Philemon and asks for 
a lodging to be made ready for him (22). The ap- 
parent absence of Luke and Aristarchus (Phil. 2 : 20) 
is a puzzle, but we have no right to say that they 
remained with Paul constantly in Rome. The pres- 
ence of Timothy surely calls for no explanation. 
The doctrinal aspect of the Epistle comes in well 
between the Judaizing controversy in the great doc- 
trinal Epistles (i and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ro- 
mans) and the Christological controversy raised by 


incipient Gnosticism in the Lycus Valley and other 
parts of Asia (Colossians, Ephesians). Thus we 
have an echo of the Judaizing trouble in Phihppians 
I : 15-17 and 3: 1-2, while in Philippians 2:5-11 
Paul has his greatest passage concerning the Person 
of Christ. There was probably no great space of 
time between Philippians and the other three (Phi- 
lemon, Colossians, Ephesians) Epistles of the First 
Roman Imprisonment. Till we can get further light 
on this point I follow Lightfoot in placing Philip- 
pians before the others, though not long before. 
Lightfoot's essay on " St. Paul in Rome " (pp. 1-29 
of his commentary on Philippians) is still the master- 
piece on this topic. We can fill in some of the de- 
tails in the picture of Paul's life in Rome, whither he 
had come at last. He had long planned to come to 
the Im.perial City (Acts 19 : 21 ; Rom. i : 13 ; 15 : 22, 
32). In spite of all the hindrances of Satan and the 
Jews Paul was to go to Rome (Acts 23:11) for he 
was to stand before Caesar (27 : 24) to whom he had 
appealed. He had not expected to come to Rome 
as a prisoner, but he is not in despair because of that 
fact. #Things might be worse. He has his own 
hired house (Acts 28 : 30), even if he is chained to a 
Roman soldier (28 : 20 " this chain "). He was al- 
lowed liberty to receive his friends by the Prsetorian 
Prefect Burrhus, if so be Paul fell to his care. Ram- 
say indeed thinks that Paul was the rather under the 
care of the Princeps Pcrigrinoruin {stratopedarchf 


according to some manuscripts for Acts 27 : 16), 
who was the head of the soldiers from abroad with 
some of whom Paul had been sent to Rome. He 
was a prisoner with dignity and some degree of 
hberty. He paid for his own lodging (in his own 
hired dwelling ') and so did not have to stay in the 
soldiers' camp. He " received all that went in unto 
him "2 (imperfect tense and here shows his habit). 
His friends had free access^ (without hindrance) to 
him and he preached to them the kingdom of God 
and the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ* 
with all boldness.® His life was therefore a busy 
one and he met Christians, Jews, and Gentiles, men 
of all classes. To all of them he presented Jesus as 
the Saviour from sin and the Lord of Ufe. Lightfoot 
emphasizes the sharp antithesis " between the Gospel 
and the Empire" when Paul comes to Rome. He 
had seen long ago that the Roman Empire was the 
world-power of Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:6f.), unless, 
indeed, as Lightfoot suggests, Paul then looked on 
the Empire as the power that was restraining Anti- 
christ, a view I do not hold. But Paul with a states- 
man's grasp of the situation saw that the kingdom of 
Christ and the kingdom of Caesar were at grips with 
each other. He longed to win this world empire to 
Christ and laid his plans to that end. His appeal to 

* TO. TTe/j] Tov kupioo 'It](1oo ^piarou. 
^ fierd ndffrj^ Tzapprjuta^. 


Caesar sharpened the issue, though Nero as yet had 
taken no notice of Christianity. The official attitude 
of Rome was still probably the lofty indifference and 
tolerance of Gallio which looked upon Christianity 
as a variety of the Jewish superstition and hence a 
religio licita} At Rome the greatest preacher of 
Christianity necessarily gave fresh impetus to the 
cause of Christ, as we shall see, and made Christians 
'• a mark for the wanton attack of the tyrant. The 
preaching of Paul was the necessary antecedent to 
the persecution of Nero " (Lightfoot, Phil., p. 2). 
The shadow of Nero falls across Paul's path because 
he had appealed directly to him. Even if Nero finally 
dismissed the case without a formal trial, Paul was 
still at the mercy of the Roman Emperor. Roman 
power and Roman citizenship loom large before 
Paul now and bring out more strongly the imperial 
aspects of the kingdom of God. 

The character of the church at Rome was mixed, 
as seems probable from Philippians i : 12-20 and 
from Romans i, 2, 15. They were partly Jews and 
partly Gentiles, though the Jewish element apparently 

' Prof. D. Plooij, of Leiden (see The Expositor, December, 
1914, February, 191 7, and M. Jones' reply March, 191 5), 
contends for the idea that Luke wrote the Acts as an apolo- 
getic for Paul to influence Jewish and Roman opinion about 
Paul favourably for his release from his first imprisonment. He 
does not mean that the book was ever formally presented to 
Nero, but that it was conceived as a defense of Paul's career. 
This interpretation explains the attention given to the arrest in 
Jerusalem and the imprisonment in Cssarea. 


predominated. Rome itself was the home of men of all 
races and all lands, a conglomerate like New York to- 
day. Paul had already many friends in Rome, if we 
still take, as I do, Romans i6 as a genuine part of 
the Epistle to the Romans. Rome drew people like a 
magnet from all parts of the world, and Christians came 
as well as others. Probably few people of social or 
political importance in Rome had as yet identified 
themselves with this " superstitio externa " (Tacitus), 
with which Pomponia Graecina, wife of Plautius, 
Britain's conqueror, was charged. A generation 
later, Lightfoot notes (pp. 2i f), " Flavius Clemens 
and his wife Flavia Domitilla, both cousins of 
Domitian, were accused of • atheism,' and condemned 
by the emperor." Legend has claimed as Christians 
" the poet Lucan, the philosopher Epictetus, the 
powerful freedmen Narcissus and Epaphroditus, the 
emperor's mistresses, Acte and Poppcea, a strange med- 
ley of good and bad," but without a particle of proof. 
More interest attaches to the presence in Rome of 
the Stoic philosopher Seneca as Nero's friend and 
adviser. The subject has a fascination for Lightfoot 
(pp. 270-333) and there is small doubt that Paul had 
adequate knowledge of Stoicism. He had probably 
met it in Tarsus, the home of Athenodorus. In 
Athens Paul argued with the Stoics (Acts 17: 18). 
Many of the ethical teachings of Paul's Epistles are 
parallel to those of the Stoics as seen in the writings 
of Seneca and Epictetus. Many of these were mor^ 


or less current proverbs and sayings of the time. 
But there is no real evidence that Paul and Seneca 
met or that they had any Hterary connection. " The 
Letters of St. Paul and Seneca " are certainly spurious. 
Ramsay (" St. Paul the Traveller," p. 355) thinks that 
Seneca exerted a restraining influence of great value 
on Nero till his disgrace and retirement in a. d. 62, 
when Nero became much worse under the baleful 
influence of Tigellinus. The fact that Nero, Seneca, 
and Paul are in Rome at the same time appeals to 
one's imagination. Nero is the embodiment of will- 
ful power and wanton ambition. Seneca is the adroit 
and suave worldly-wise philosopher in the imperial 
court where he preaches lofty maxims for others to 
practice, a Stoic in creed and a hair-splitter in practice 
like the Jewish Pharisee. Both would scorn to no- 
tice Paul the provincial prisoner, a Jew and worse, 
a Christian, an intellectual outcast with no standing 
with gods or men. The very pride of Nero and 
Seneca lifted Paul to greater heights by contrast. 
This " prisoner of Christ " ' (Eph. 3 : i), this " slave 
of Christ Jesus " ^ (Phil, i : i), this " ambassador in 
a chain " ' (Eph. 6 : 20), is conscious of his spiritual, 
moral, and intellectual superiority to Nero, Seneca, 
and all the minions of the world-power of that age^ 
He was the ambassador * from the Lord Jesus in heaven 

' diffiico<s TOO ^piffTou. 

' douXog, same root (de-) as in di-( bondsman. 

' unep 00 Tzpeff^euu) iv dkuffet. * npea^ev'S, 


to the court of each soul in Rome and all the world. 
The proud court of Nero was to Paul but an incident 
and an item in his world program. The outcome has 
vindicated Paul as all the world knows. The great 
man is the man who does the really great task in 
spite of appearances. The glitter of tinsel in Rome 
did not confuse the eyes of Paul. He was able to 
grasp the elements of real power in the world and to 
work with God and to abide God's time. One is 
tempted to linger with this hero of faith as he makes 
Rome the new world capital of spiritual energy and 
power. He vitalizes the Roman Church (Phil. 
I : 12-20) and directs the enterprise of Christian 
missions in the Lycus Valley, in Philippi, and 
wherever there was call for cheer and guidance. He 
is guiding the forces that will ultimately overthrow 
the world-powers of evil and make Nero's power 
puny and Seneca's sophistries puerile. 

3. The City of Philippi. 

The ancient name was Crenides (Strabo vii. 331) 
or springs (" Little Fountains "). Philip II of 
Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, gave his 
name to each one of the springs and hence Philippi 
(plural) for the town. The city occupied a strategic 
position on a hill, between the rivers Strymon and 
Nestus, which commanded a view of the plain of 
Druma with the river Gangites or Angites (Herod, 
vii. 1 1 3) and overlooked also the mountain pass be- 


tween Pangseus and Hsemus. It is nine miles from 
its seaport, Neapolis (the modern Kavala). Philip 
seized it and exploited it for its gold and silver mines, 
which were of great service for his wars and helped 
him as much as his use of the Macedonian phalanx. 
The gold went before and paved the way for the 
phalanx. He gained a revenue from these mines of 
a thousand talents a year (Diodorus xvi. 8). 

With the battle of Pydna in b. c. 168 Macedonia 
became Roman and in b. c. 146 one Roman province. 
But Strabo (vii. 331) says that it was now " a small 
settlement" {Kozoinia fj.tkpd) and the exhaustion of the 
mines marked its decline as a commercial point. In 
the autumn of b. c, 42 Cassius and Brutus successively 
met defeat here (twenty days apart) at the hands of 
Octavius and Antony ; and the defeat and suicide 
pf Cassius and Brutus marked the end of the Roman 
republic. Macedonia and Achaia were at first sena- 
torial provinces, then at their own request imperial 
under Tiberius (Tac. Ann. i. 76) and senatorial again 
under Claudius (Snet. Claud. 25). Octavius was 
much impressed by the position and importance of 
Philippi and made it a military colony {Colojiia lulia 
fhilippensis) with the jus Italicum. Copper coins 
of Philippi have the inscription Colonia lulia Augusta 
Victrix Philip pcnsium. This title was given after the 
battle of Actium b. c. 31, when the colony was largely 
strengthened by Italian partisans of Antony displaced 
at Rome by followers of Octavius. The city was 


thus a colony' (Acts i6: 12) with many privileges, 
immunity from taxation being the chief one. The 
people also had the right to own and sell property 
like other Roman citizens and the right of civil action 
(vindicatio). The mother city was copied closely and 
the colony was in reality " a miniature Rome "(Vin- 
cent) even in the form and the appearance of the 
city. Roman inscriptions were on the coinage. The 
city had its own magistrates {Duumviri) who called 
themselves Prcstores "^ {Kcts 16:20-38). The city 
was exempt from interference from the provincial 
government.^ The famous Egnatian Way {Via 
Egnatia) ran by Philippi and added to its impor- 
tance as an outpost of Rome. It is not clear what 
Luke means by " the first of the district " ^ (Acts 
16; 12). Thessalonica was the capital of the province 
and Amphipolis, thirty-three miles away, was a larger 
city. But Philippi, because a colony and in such a 
strategic position, may still have been the most im- 
portant in rank in this district of Macedonia. 

The village of Filibedjik or Filibat, which preserved 
the name Philippi, has now vanished. Near by is 
the modern village of Ratchka, in a ravine to one 
side of the ancient city which was on the height. 
But " an enclosure of rough stones preserves traces 
of the Hellenic wall " (Vincent, Int. Crit. C, p. xvii.) 

' k()X(ovia, ' (TzpaTrjyni, 

* Mommsen, " Provinces of the Roman Empire," i., pp. 
299-302, * ~(i(orrj T^? fxepido^. 


upon the hill, while the plain below is covered with 
ruins and the theatre can still be seen on the face of 
the acropolis fronting Mount Pangaeus. The rocks 
around are covered with inscriptions to the ancient 
gods, " a veritable museum of mythology " (Heuzy 
and Daumet, " Mission Archeologique de Mace- 
doine," p. 85). Traces exist of a temple dedicated to 
the Roman god Silvanus, one of the popular deities 
of the imperial era. He was considered " the sacred 
guardian of the Emperor" (Kennedy, " Exp. Greek 
Testament," Vol. Ill, p. 400). Two statues of this god 
have been found, one of which may have stood in 
the temple here at Philippi. Tablets also have been 
found with the names of the members of the sacred 
college of the temple. Some of these names (like 
Crescens, Pudens, Secundus, Trophimus) are the 
same as those of some of Paul's friends. The god 
Men was also worshipped here and Dionysus, the 
favourite god of Thrace, had his chief sanctuary in 
the mountains near by. There was plenty of religion, 
such as it was, in Philippi, when Paul and his party 
first appeared here. 

4. Paul in Philippi. 

Situated on one of the main trade routes east and 
west, Philippi offered a splendid opportunity for 
Paul's first work in Europe.' " Philip and Alex- 

' Ramsay, " Church in the Roman Empire," pp. 56, 70. 


ander, ^milius, Mummius, and Octavianus had thus 
prepared the way for Paul " (Vincent, p. xviii.). 
The Macedonian Cry' (Acts i6:8-io) was not 
specifically from Philippi. It was simply " a certain 
Macedonian man " ^ who was standing in the vision 
and urging Paul : " Cross over into IN'Iacedonia and 
help us." ^ This incident is in one of the " we-sec- 
tions " of Acts which fact shows that Luke, the au- 
thor of the book, was present. Ramsay * says that 
Paul, since the Macedonians and Greeks dressed 
ahke, recognized the man in his dream by sight as 
one already known to him. Hence he argues that 
the man was Luke who had talked to Paul before he 
had his vision about the need in Macedonia. Ram- 
say concludes further that Luke now lived in Phi- 
lippi, as is shown also by the fact that Luke con- 
tinued in Philippi for some five years after Paul's 
first visit. We do not know whether Luke was a 
Macedonian by birth if he now lived there. There 
is some support for the idea that he was a native of 
Antioch in Syria. It is not clear whether Luke first 
met Paul in Alexandria Troas, or had already been 
with him in Galatia during his illness there (Gal. 
4 : 1 3).'' But, at any rate, we know the names of 
Paul's three companions (Silas or Silvanus, Timothy, 

' In the second missionary journey, a. d. 50-51. 

* a.v7]p MaRtdu)> ri?. 

^ dia,3a<i e/? Mar:e8(i\>ioy jSoyjOrjfyov r^/dv. 

*" St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen," p. 201. 

* Shaw (" Pauline Epistles," p. 400) thinks that Luke now 


and Luke) who went with him from Alexandria 
Troas to Philippi. They all " concluded " ' (Acts 
i6 : lo) with Paul that God called them to evangelize 
Macedonia. The cry was the cry of one man, but 
he plead for his country, and it was the voice of God. 
Paul is in Philippi three times. The first time is 
recorded in Acts i6 : 11-40, and the narrative is full 
and vivid and adds further point to the view that 
Luke now made Philippi his home. Ramsay (" St. 
Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen," p. 206) 
thinks that Luke here shows " the true Greek pride 
in his own city." One is struck at once by the ab- 
sence of Jewish influence in Philippi and the promi- 
nence of the Roman element in the narrative (M. N. 
Tod, " Philippi in Int. St. Bible Enc"). There was 
no synagogue in the city, showing that the number 
of Jews there were small. It was now a military 
outpost rather than a great commercial emporium 
like Thessalonica where Jews abounded. The pray- 
ing place ^ (Acts 16: 13) may have been in reality a 
synagogue. There seems no doubt that proseuche 
was used for synagogue.^ The location of the pray- 
ing place several miles out of town by the riverside 
was due to the need of water for the Jewish ablu- 
tions. The worshippers were mostly women, as Paul 

lived at Troas and met Paul in a professional way as his phy- 
sician and was thus converted. 

' (rov/?:/5'aCovr£9 making go together. ^ Tzpoazw/rj. 

^ Schuerer, " Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ," 
Vol. II, Div. II, pp. 68-73. 


and his friends found, and they did not seem to be 
certain (we supposed) ' of finding the place of worship 
at all, having evidently failed to find a synagogue in 
the city as had been so easy to do in Salamis (Acts 
13:5), Antioch in Pisidia (13:14-43), Iconium 
(14: i), etc. Here by the Gangites Paul was on the 
site of the battle of Philippi and near the old mines 
(Shaw, " PauUne Epistles," p. 405). Here, moreover, 
the Jews seem to have been few, for Luke does not 
say that Lydia was a proselyte, but a " God-fearer " ^ 
(Acts 16: 14), a Gentile who had come to worship 
the God of the Jews, hke Cornelius in Acts 10, but 
not necessarily one who had gone over formally to 
Judaism. There is no mention of Jewish converts, 
for the household ^ of Lydia, if her employees, were 
probably simply •' God-fearers " like herself. Some 
Jews may have been converted, or at any rate Paul 
found it necessary in his letter to warn the church 
against the activity of the Judaizers (Phil. 3 : 1-2). 
It was a small enough beginning that Paul was able 
to make. " A man had summoned Paul to Mace- 
donia in the vision. Paul went to Macedonia and 
found a ivoinan first of all " (Hayes, •• Paul and His 
Epistles," p. 411)."' But this Asiatic merchant-woman 

' ivofii^oiisv. * ffe^o/iivr] tuv Oeov. 

* Women seemed to occupy " a specially favourable position 
in Macedonia " (Kennedy, Phil., p. 402). Note mention ot 
the activity of women in Acts 16 : 13 ; 17 : 4, 12. "The 
extant Macedonian inscriptions seem to assign to the sex a 


from Thyatira proved to be one of the greatest 
trophies in Paul's ministry. This church came to be 
the joy and crown of Paul (Phil. 4 : i), and that fact 
was largely due to Lydia and Luke. 

The Roman features of the story come out sharply 
in connection with the episode of the poor girl with 
the spirit of a python or divination.' Luke represents 
Paul as driving the spirit out of her (Acts 16 : 18) as 
of an unclean spirit or demon. A Pythoness was 
thought to have oracular power from the Pythian 
Apollo who had a shrine near here. She was able 
to earn many a penny for her masters^ (16:19), 
whose slave she probably was, by her soothsaying or 
raving^ (16 : 16). The ancients sometimes described 
such a gift as that of ventriloquism,^ but, whatever 
the cause, the poor girl was exploited by a company 
of men for commercial purposes just as " white- 
slavers " exploit girls to-day for gold. We are 
making some progress in the United States when at 
last Congress has passed a child-labour law. It is an 
old trick, this use of helpless children and women to 
fill the pockets of greed. Paul touched this " syndi- 
cate in its tenderest spot " (Shaw, " Pauline Epistles," 
p. 406). He had no respect for the vested interests 

higher social influence than is common among the civilized 
nations of antiquity " (Lightfoot, Phil., p. 56 ; cf. also 
Achelis, Zeitschr, f. N. T. Wiss. I, 2, pp. 97-98). 

' Tzveufia TzuOu)va. ^ ol kopioi. ^ p.avrsuorj.ivrj. 

* eyyaarpifiuOu^. Ramsay, ** St. Paul the Traveller," p. 
215, accepts the view that the girl was a ventriloquist. 


of capital that traded in human Hfe and human souls. 
He set the girl free from the spell of Satan and from 
the grip of her enslavers. Their fury knew no 
bounds and was as violent as is the rage of men to- 
day who are compelled to give up the liquor business, 
gambling, or any other form of graft or greed that 
fattens on the weaknesses of human nature. These 
men (the girl's masters) were Romans, as is shown 
by the appeal to race prejudice which they make in 
the effort to stir up the Romans against the Jews 
(Acts i6:2of.). The Romans were more than half 
the population of the city, though there was still a 
solid substratum of the old Macedonian stock. So 
then the masters of the girl feel perfectly safe in the 
spurious cry which they put forth to the archons ' 
(16:20, the common Greek term for chief magis- 
trates) or the praetors 2 (16:21, the Latin term 
claimed by the magistrates, though duumviri was the 
technical title) in the market-place ^ like the Roman 
forum. These officers are accompanied by lictors* 
(16 : 35, 38) or sergeants who carry the fasces with 
which they scourge Paul and Silas' (16 : 22). They 
are charged with a breach of public order and the intro- 
duction of customs '^ unlawful for Romans to observe. 
It was a skillful turn, for '• the population prided 
themselves on their Roman character and actually 
called themselves Romans " (Ramsay, " St. Paul the 

* p'ai38ouxoi. ^ p'a^diZstv. ^ edrj. 


Traveller," p. 218). No chance was offered for 
Paul and Silas to defend themselves, but they are at 
once condemned after an onset by the multitude 
who are completely deceived by the pious and 
patriotic claptrap of the accusers. The magistrates 
themselves give way to excited indignation and the 
farcical trial is over. Paul and Silas are placed in the 
inner prison for safety with their feet fast in the 
stocks.' The forms of Roman law are duly observed, 
but the spirit of justice is utterly violated. The sud- 
den change of base by the magistrates next morning 
after the earthquake is not explained by Luke (Acts 
16: 35)^ when they sent the hctors and said to the 
jailor : " Let these men go." The magistrates may 
have heard what had taken place and may also have 
become ashamed of their conduct. But this request 
gave Paul his opportunity to state the fact of his own 
Roman citizenship and to recount how Roman law 
had been violated in his imprisonment. Everything 
done to him and Silas was illegal, they being Romans. 
They had been beaten publicly and uncondemned ' 

^ £('9 rrjv iffwTipav (pulan-qv. 

" The addition in Codex Bezae (" assembled together in the 
Agora, and remembering the earthquake that had taken place, 
they were afraid, and ") is hardly genuine. Cf. Ramsay, " St. 
Paul the Traveller," p. 223. 

^Ramsay, "St. Paul the Traveller," p. 225, thinks that 
Luke has not accurately rendered Paul here, who probably 
spoke in Latin and said re iticogttita, " without investigating 
our case." But it did aggravate the matter for the imprison- 
ment to happen without condemnation. 


and cast into prison. It was a sudden turn of the 
wheel of fortune and the magistrates are themselves 
in grave peril. They come and in apologetic style 
beg Paul and Silas to leave before further compli- 
cations arise. They do go, but not before their own 
innocence is established and Christianity is vindicated 
in Philippi. We do not know how long Paul was in 
Philippi, though Luke uses " many days " (Acts 
l6: i8) of the case of the girl with the spirit of 
divination. But a sturdy church of Gentile Chris- 
tians is now established before Paul leaves. Paul 
went to Lydia's house and " comforted the breth- 
ren," showing that men were won also to Christ 
here, though the term for " brethren " ' probably 
included the " sisters " also. Lightfoot (Phil., p. 57) 
notes how in Philippi the gospel exerted a powerful 
effect on woman, on the slave, and on family life 
(Lydia and the jailor). The church in the house 
of Lydia, for they had no other meeting place at 
first, grew to be the most loyal and helpful of all the 
Pauline churches. When Paul and Silas left Philippi, 
Luke and Timothy remained behind. Troubles came 
to the Philippian church " in much proof of afflic- 
tion " (2 Cor. 8 : 2) at a later time, we know, and 
probably also soon after Paul left, for the Philippians 
knew the "proof" of Timothy (Phil. 2:22). It is 
meet, therefore, that Paul should associate Timothy 
(now with Paul in Rome) with him in the salutation 


of the Epistle (Phil, i : i), though Timothy is in no 
sense co-author with Paul. Timothy joined Paul 
and Silas in Bercea (Acts 17: 14) and probably be- 
fore that in Thessalonica (Phil. 4: 16), *' for even in 
Thessalonica ye sent once and again to my need." 
Luke, however, apparently remained in Philippi. 

Paul appears in Philippi again during the third 
mission tour (a. d. 55-57) when he hurried over from 
Troas to Macedonia ahead of time in his eagerness 
to see Titus on his way back from Corinth (2 Cor. 
2:12; 7:5-14; Acts 20 : i). We do not know 
that Paul stopped at Philippi and met Titus there, 
but there is every probability of it, though Paul tells 
us that " even in Macedonia " he had no relief till 
Titus came (2 Cor. 7 : 5 f.). We naturally think of 
him as waiting with Luke and Lydia in Philippi who 
could cheer his despondent spirit in the meanwhile. 
He was preceded by Timothy and Erastus (Acts 
19 : 22). He had originally planned to go first to 
Corinth from Ephesus and then to Macedonia and 
back to Corinth and Jerusalem (2 Cor. 1:15 f.), but 
the acuteness of the crisis in Corinth made Paul de- 
cide to postpone his visit to Corinth till they had one 
more chance for repentance, and so he sent Titus to 
them with a rather sharp letter (2 Cor. 2 : 1-4), the 
effect of which he awaited with eager anxiety. The 
outcome was joyful on the whole (2 Cor, 7 : 5-15), 
though the minority remained stubborn (2 Cor. 
2: 5-1 1 ; 10-13). While in Philippi Paul apparently 


wrote 2 Corinthians, if we take the Epistle as a unit, 
as I still hold to be the most plausible theory. Paul 
is still in Macedonia when he writes (2 Cor. 8 : 1-5 ; 
9 : 2-4). But Luke, for some reason, tells us nothing 
in Acts about this visit of Paul to Philippi and Mace- 

After three months in Achaia (Acts 20 : 3) Paul 
suddenly changed his plans again and, instead of sail- 
ing direct to Syria, went on to Philippi, where he 
met Luke again who remained with him till the close 
of Acts. Luke gives the names of Paul's compan- 
ions in travel (Acts 20 : 4), messengers of the churches 
to accompany Paul in carrying the great gift to the 
poor saints in Jerusalem, and he mentions the fact 
that Paul remained in Philippi to keep the passover 
there (Acts 20 : 6), probably a slight evidence of the 
presence of some Jewish Christians by this time in 
the church in Philippi. 

We know, if we may follow the Pastoral Epistles 
as letters of Paul as I do, that Paul was in Mace- 
donia once more, though after he wrote the Epistle 
to the Philippians. When he wrote to the church, 
he expressed the hope that he would himself be able 
to come " shortly "' (Phil. 2:24). He did come to 
Macedonia again after his release from imprisonment 
in Rome, and was there when he wrote the first 
Epistle to Timothy (i Tim. i : 3). It is certainly 
highly probable that Paul went once more to Phi- 


lippi where he could thank them face to face for 
their many tokens of affection and support during 
the years. There may, indeed, have been other 
visits, but these four are reasonably certain. 

5. The Philippian Church and Paul. 

Paul himself tells us of the devotion and zeal of 
the Philippian church. While Paul was in Thessa- 
lonica shortly after leaving Philippi (Acts 17 : 1-9), 
the church in Philippi had sent twice at least gifts 
for his needs (Phil. 4 : 16). They kept up this good 
work when Paul went to Corinth and was in want, 
for it was not Corinth, but Philippi alone that at first 
supplied his wants above what he could make by his 
own hands (2 Cor. 11:9; Phil. 4:15). The ex- 
ample of Philippi was later followed by some other 
churches, though never by all. " I robbed other 
churches," Paul ironically says, " taking wages of 
them that I might minister unto you " (2 Cor. 1 1 : 8). 
" In the beginning of the Gospel, when I departed 
from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me 
in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only " 
(Phil, 4: 15). Probably Thessalonica and Bercea 
soon fell into Hne with Philippi and helped Paul in 
Corinth. Certainly Thessalonica became " an ex- 
ample to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia " 
(i Thess. I : 7). From them " has echoed forth the 
word of the Lord"'(i : 8). 


But no one of the Pauline churches was so thor- 
oughly missionary in spirit and deed as that in Phi- 
lippi. The church in Antioch has as its glory that 
it rose above the narrow prejudices of the Judaizers 
in Jerusalem, the Pharisaic (anti-mission or " Hard- 
shell " element there), and welcomed the propaganda 
among the Gentiles, though there is no evidence that 
the Antioch church contributed anything but good- 
will to the enterprise. It was a Greek church and 
was open to this world-movement. But the Roman 
church in Philippi rallied heartily and steadily to the 
practical support of Paul's missionary campaign to 
win the Roman Empire for Christ. They set the 
pace for all time for the churches that wish to ex- 
emplify the love of Christ for men. It was all the 
more beautiful that it was voluntary and continuous. 
The Greek church at Antioch had responded to the 
appeal of Paul and Barnabas to send a contribution 
to the poor saints in Jerusalem in proof of the gen- 
uineness of their conversion (Acts 1 1 : 29 f ), but they 
did not at first catch the vision of practical coopera- 
tion with Paul in his great missionary enterprise. 
This glory belongs to the church in Philippi, who 
thus became Paul's " joy and crown " (Phil. 4 : i). 
They had true " fellowship " with Paul in the work 
of the Gospel. At first they alone had this " part- 
nership," ' for this is the true meaning of the word 
(Phil. 1:5; 4:14 f.). They alone at first were Paul's 

' Koivwvia. 


" co-sharers " * (Phil, i : 7) in this grace of giving the 
Gospel to the lost world. It may seem amazing that 
the early churches were so slow to respond to the 
missionary appeal. But it is not for modern Chris- 
tians to say much on this subject till we do enough 
to entitle us to speak. 

The church at Philippi probably did far more for 
Paul than he has told in his letters. The last instance 
of their " fellowship " after an interval when they 
" lacked opportunity " (Phil. 4 : 10) was while Paul 
was in Rome the first time when they sent Epaphro- 
ditus, " your messenger and minister, to my need " 
(Phil. 2 : 25). They seem to have fairly outdone 
themselves this time and their gift was "an odour of a 
sweet smell, a sacrifice, acceptable, well-pleasing to 
God" (Phil. 4:18). They may have sent a letter 
to Paul by Epaphroditus and he may have written 
other letters of thanks to them (Phil. 3 : i). 

Paul leaned on the church in Philippi heavily in 
raising the great collection for the poor saints in 
Jerusalem from the churches in Galatia, Asia, Mace- 
donia, and Achaia. The churches in Achaia were 
quick to promise and slow to pay, like some modern 
churches. Under the spur of Titus's leadership they 
promised a whole year ahead (2 Cor. 8:10) and Paul 
used their prompt pledges to stir the Macedonian 
churches to activity (9 : 2). And now in turn he has 
to spur the Achaian churches on to actual payment 


by the liberality and prompt paying of the Mace- 
donian churches (8: 1-15; 9: i-S). Paul does not 
wish to be ashamed of the Achaian churches if he 
comes with some of the Macedonian brethren to 
whom he has boasted of the Achaian liberal promises. 
It is all a very modern situation drawn from life. 
But it is clearly the church at Philippi, poor and 
generous, that has long had the habit of giving, that 
set the pace for the other Macedonian churches and 
for the Achaian churches as well. 

The church in Philippi no longer exists. The 
Turks have swept over Macedonia like the locusts of 
Egypt. But its early fame is secure. Ignatius, Bishop 
of Antioch, stops in Philippi early in the second cen- 
tury on his way to Rome where he is condemned as 
a Christian and is thrown to the wild beasts. The 
Philippian Christians treated Ignatius kindly and 
wrote a letter of sympathy to his home church in 
Antioch and to Poly carp, Bishop of Smyrna, asking 
him to send them copies of any letters of Ignatius 
which he might have, a side-light on the circulation 
of Paul's Epistles. Polycarp complied with their 
request and also wrote the church a letter of his own 
full of comfort and cheer. Polycarp censures a 
presbyter, Valens, and his wife for avarice, though 
the church at Philippi seems to be doing well. 
The church lived on apparently to modern times, 
but no story of the destruction of city and church 
is known. Le Quien (Or. Chr. II, p. 70) gives the 


name of the Bishop of Phihppi when he wrote in 


6. Purpose of the Epistle. 

In reality Paul's immediate purpose is to express 
his appreciation of the love and kindness of the 
Philippian church in their gracious generosity by the 
hand of Epaphroditus (Phil, 1:3-11; 2:19-30; 
4 : 10-20). Three times he takes up the subject. 
He explains the occasion of the Epistle to be the re- 
turn of Epaphroditus, the bearer of their gift and now 
of his Epistle to Philippi after his dangerous illness. 
It is all perfectly natural and obvious. Paul tells also 
something of his own situation in Rome and expounds 
his comfort in Christ and urges the Philippians to 
constant joy. He strikes a jubilant note, though a 
prisoner himself, as he and Silas sang praises at mid- 
night in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:25). Paul 
sings the song of victory and not of despair. It is 
thus a letter of joy and a letter of love. The sheer 
simplicity and beauty of his rapture in Christ make 
this Epistle a favourite with all who know the deep 
things of God in Christ. It is easy to take the 
theology of Philippians and apply it to modern con- 
ditions. The mass of modern men and women have 
to live their lives in untoward circumstances. They 
must do their work and sing their song in spite of 
prison or pain, of penury or pressure, of perversity or 
pugnacity. The very sanity and serenity of Paul's 


piety bring his loftiest flights within the range of the 
humblest of us who gladly try to imitate Paul as he 
imitated Christ. Lightfoot (p. 72) says : " The Epistle 
to the Philippians is not only the noblest reflexion 
of St. Paul's personal character and spiritual illumi- 
nation, his large sympathies, his womanly tenderness, 
his delicate courtesy, his frank independence, his en- 
tire devotion to the Master's service ; but as a monu- 
ment of the power of the Gospel it yields in im- 
portance to none of the Apostolic writings." 

7. The Church and the Officers. 

Paul does not here use the word church,' but he 
writes " to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at 
Philippi, with the bishops and deacons." ^ Evidently 
Paul has the church in mind because he mentions the 
two classes of officers, " bishops and deacons," and 
yet 'he addresses the Christians in Philippi as indi- 
viduals (" all ") rather than as an organization. The 
unit in the kingdom of God is not the local church 
and not the officers. The church is made up of in- 
dividual believers and the church chooses its own 
officers. The believers are here addressed as " saints." 
The term was already in use for the covenant people 
of Israel as " the saints in Jerusalem " (i Mace. 10 : 39), 
«* the holy nation," " the holy people," " the saints " 

^iXinnoti; irhv iTtcfr/^oTzoii} nai 8ia/z6voc<s. 


(cf. Ex. 19:6; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; Dan. 7:18, 22). 
It was natural to apply it to the true Israel, the be- 
lievers in Christ, " a chosen generation, a royal priest- 
hood, an holy nation "(i Pet. 2 : 9). Lightfoot (m 
loco) notes that even the irregularities and profligacies 
of the Corinthian church did not prevent Paul's use 
of the word for this church ♦' called to be saints " 
(i Cor. I : 2).' It is really the technical term for 
Christians on a par with " believers " ^ and carries 
with it the atmosphere of consecration found in 
the Old Testament usage (Septuagint) as in Leviticus 
11:44-45. The term is used of the priests who 
consecrated themselves to God, who were set apart 
from the people for the service of God. So it is 
used of the chosen people who were set apart from 
the nations as God's instrument in the work of re- 
demption. Now it is applied to those of all nations 
who are set apart from both Jew and Gentile as the 
elect of God. The idea of holiness^ as a duty is 
necessarily involved in the word, as appropriate and 
obligatory, though not always actual. Its use in the 
Gospels seems to be confined to Matthew 27:52. 

' The adjective ayiofi is common in the inscriptions as Ozm 
aym uil'iaza) OGIS 378^ (a. d. 18-19). See Moulton and 
Milligan, "Vocabulary of the Greek Testament." 

^ ol Tztaroi. 

^ dyiiDfu'jvq, dyiorrji}, dyiaaiio^. The verb ayid'^u) is not 
yet found outside of Biblical and ecclesiastical Greek. The 
ancient Greeks used dj't'Cw, o.yiaiw'i in their religious language. 
Cf. Moulton and Milligan, " Vocabulary of the Greek Testa- 


Since the Jews would apply the term «' the saints " to 
themselves, Paul here adds " in Christ Jesus " (Chrys- 
ostom, ill loco). This is Paul's common idiom for the 
mystic union between the believer and Christ. Jesus 
used the figure of the vine and the branches (John 
15 : 1-8). The branch abides in the vine. Paul uses 
" in Christ Jesus " forty-eight times, " in Christ " 
thirty-four, " in the Lord " fifty (Vincent, Int. Crit. 
Comm.).' " These words sum up Paul's Christianity " 
(Kennedy, Exp. Gk. Test.). The idiom is apparently 
original with Paul, but one must compare the words 
of Jesus, "Abide in me, and I in you " (John 15 : 4).'' 
The most intimate and vital union with Christ is 
Paul's idea, not a perfunctory ecclesiastical connec- 
tion. Paul assumes that the nominal saints in Philippi 
are real saints in the sense of actual life in Christ ; 
not in the sense of absolute sinlessness, but of living 
connection with Christ who vitalizes and sustains 
each one. They are members of Christ's body of 
which He is the Head (i Cor. 12). It is not pro- 
fessional saints who pose as superior to other be- 
lievers that Paul has in mind, but he makes his salu- 
tation to all those who live in Christ as the sphere 
of the spiritual activity. This inclusive circle cuts 
out other circles. But Paul does not ignore the 

* Cf. also Deissmann, Die Neutestamentliche Formel " in 
Christo Jesu " (i 892). 

^ Cf. Robertson, " Grammar of the Greek New Testament 
in the Light of Historical Research," pp. 588 f 


officers of the saints or church, though they occupy 
a secondary ' place in his mind. The officers are im- 
portant, but not primary. The individual saint is 
primary. Church officers are made out of saints. 
The fundamental reason that we do not have better 
preachers (bishops) and deacons is that they come 
from the body of the saints, a part of whom they still 
are. Paul does not draw a line of separation between 
clergy and laity. He rather emphasizes the bond 
of union by the use of " together with." ^ To be 
sure, the progress and usefulness of a church are 
largely gauged by the efficiency of the officers. 
Like priest hke people. And yet the other side is 
true also. Like people like priest. So long as the 
saints are sound at heart Christianity will outlive the 
vagaries and follies of sporadic preachers. A corrupt 
ministry will ruin any church if condoned. Certainly 
preachers and deacons are not free from the respon- 
sibility for sainthood by their official position. 
Noblesse oblige. Their very prominence imposes 
higher burdens. Fundamentally the average church 
member has precisely the same obligations and limi- 

* The use of (juv shows this. It is not certain whether aov 
here has the idea of " plus " or " including " since the prepo- 
sition bears either connotation. The papyri show both ideas 
(Moulton and Milligan, " Lexical Notes from the Papyri," 
Expositor, Sept., 191 1). The context favours the idea of 
" including " here. On the whole Paul uses iisrd much more 
frequently than <yvv, particularly in the two last groups of his 
Epistles. He has ^lerd seven and auv four times in Philippians, 

^ auv. 


tations that the preacher has, but practically the 
preacher and deacon cannot escape an extra respon- 
sibility because of their leadership (cf. Jas. 3 : i). 

We are confronted here with the whole problem 
of the Christian ministry (its origin, character, and 
functions). Bishop Lightfoot ' has proven that in the 
New Testament •' bishop " and " elder " are used in- 
terchangeably for the same ofifice as in Acts 20 : 17, 
28 ; I Timothy 3 : 1-7 and 5 : 17-19 ; Titus i : 5-7 ; 
I Peter 5:1-2. See also Clement's " Epistle to the 
Corinthians," §42. Lightfoot translates the words ^ 
in Philippians i : I " presbyters and deacons " to 
make it plain to his readers that Paul is not using 
" bishop " in the sense of Ignatius in the second cen- 
tury who gives a threefold^ ministry, " the bishop, 
presbyters, deacons," and insists on the distinction. 
Ignatius makes the bishop supreme and the embodi- 
ment of ecclesiastical authority.* It is clear that in 
the New Testament usage the Christian ministry is 
in a more or less fluid state as to the functions of 
different members. General terms occur in i Thes- 
salonians 5 : 12, " them that labour among you, and 

' Cf. note on " The synonymns bishop " (eTrtVA-orr*?) 
and " presbyter " (jcptfr^uTspoq') (Phil., pp. 95-99) and dis- 
sertation on "The Christian Ministry" (Phil., pp. 181- 
269) and Lightfoot's " Apostolic Fathers " (Vols. I, II). 

^ Tu> intakoTZip, Tzpea^oripot^, dia/zdvoc^. Letter to Poly- 
carp ^5 6. 

* Cf". Ep. to Smyrn., Ch. VIII. 


are over you in the Lord, and admonish you."' In 
Hebrews 13:7, 17, 21, we find " your leaders " com- 
mended to their memory, obedience, welcome.^ 
The term ♦* elders " (presbyters) first appears in Acts 
1 1 : 30, but as an established body of officers who are 
later active in the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15. 
The term itself is very old in an official sense as is 
shown by the Septuagint usage which merely reflects 
the older Egyptian custom as has been amply shown 
by Deissmann.' The " elders of the village " were 
town officers. The term also occurs for pagan 
priests. The technical use appears in the inscriptions 
of Asia Minor. Even " bishop " (^TrtV/coTro?) appears 
in " the technical religious diction of pre-Christian 
times " in inscriptions in Rhodes, curiously enough 
along with " scribes." ^ Precisely " elder " means an 
older man and " bishop " an overseer, but when both 
became technical terms no such distinction is drawn. 
Kennedy {m loco) suggests that " elder " applied 
more to status and " bishop " \.o function. Vincent 
(Phil, pp. 36-49) argues for a distinction between 
" bishop " and " elder," though he admits the vague- 

^ T6h<i koTZimvra'i iv v(xTv kai T:poiaTa[iivuu<s 6[j.iuv iv 
kopim/Zai vouOsTouvrai} ofidi}. 

^ Tu)v rjyouijAviuv (-oi?, -ou?). 

'"Bible Studies," pp. 154-157, 233-235. We can no 
longer follow Cremer in speaking of iTrc'rrtf ottm? as " the Greek 
coloured designation" and izpeffiSure/iois as of " Jewish col- 

* Cf. Deissmann, " Bible Studies " /parxp.are'i'i, pp. 230 f. 


ness of the early usage and renders (p. 4) " with the 
superintendents and ministers." Here at Philippi we 
meet a twofold ministry, though the definition of 
neither " bishop " nor " deacon " is given. One may 
note also that use of the plural '• bishops " is like 
the plurality of " elders " found at Jerusalem (Acts 
II : 30) and Ephesus (20 : 17, 28). This fact shows 
clearly that " bishop " is not here used in the later 
ecclesiastical sense of Ignatius when one bishop is 
head of a large city or district with many elders and 
deacons under his rule. 

The term deacon is of obscure etymology ' and is 
a general term for one who serves. It is common in 
the New Testament in the general sense of servants 
of God or Christ (i Cor. 3: 5 ; 2 Cor. 6:4). It is 
not always clear when the word has a technical use 
in the New Testament or precisely what the ofifice is 
meant to be. The papyri and inscriptions show the 
word in the general sense and for religious officials.^ 
It is probable, though not certain, that deacons in 
the technical sense are described in the group of 
seven chosen in Acts 6:2-6 to "serve tables."^ 

^ Some derive dtdkovo^ from dt-qfuo or dico/mj (eager pur- 
suit) and others even from dcd, A:6vi<; (dusty with running). 
Certainly some deacons can " raise a dust " if nothing more. 

'^ Moulton and Milligan, " Vocabulary," quote Magrr. 109 
circa b. c. 100, where dtduovixi is used for temple officials, 
and in CIG II, 1800, a " college " oi dtd/^ovni is mentioned, 
while ibid., 3037 we see two (hd/ioyot, and a female 8td/covng 
as in Rom. 16: i. See further Dibclius, Phil., p. 45 in 
" Handbuch zum N. T." ^ dia/2ovelv Tpa7:it^aig. 


The qualifications given in I Timothy 3:8-13 are 
not wholly different from those for bishops (i Tim. 
3 : 1-7 ; Titus I : 5-9). Probably it cannot be shown 
beyond controversy that in the beginning the bishops 
had charge of the spiritual functions and the deacons 
the business side of the church life. There were at 
first apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and 
teachers " for the perfecting of the saints " (Eph. 
4:ilf.), though strangely enough Paul does not 
mention bishops and deacons in this list. Both 
terms are Hkewise absent in i Corinthians 12:28: 
" first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, 
then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, govern- 
ments, divers kinds of tongues." Some have thought 
to sefe " bishops " in " governments " ' and " dea- 
cons [' in " helps," ^ In " The Teaching of the Twelve 
Apostles " the primacy still belongs to the apostles, 
prophets, and teachers (XI. 4-7; XIII. 3) as the 
spiritual guides of the churches, while bishops and 
deacons^ are local officers (XV. i), though " elders " 
or " presbyters " are not mentioned. One may note 
the famous discussion on the Christian ministry in 
The Expositor for 1887, which was participated in by 
W. Sanday, G. Salmon, C. Gore, G. A. Simcox, 
A. Harnack, J. Rendel Harris, W. Milligan, J. Mac- 
pherson. The lower view of the origin of bishops 
and deacons as presidents and dispensers of the ordi- 
nance of the Lord's Supper in particular is advocated 


by Rev. H. F. Hamilton in " The People of God " 
(191 2, 2 vols.).' There seems little doubt that the 
development varied in different regions. Perhaps 
Ignatius represents one line of development while 
" The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles " shows an- 
other. But in the course of time apostles, prophets, 
and teachers disappeared and a consequent readjust- 
ment of functions followed. The growth of the ad- 
ministrative bishop was certainly later than the New 
Testament period, as Lightfoot has proven. The 
modern " pastor " (shepherd) 2 of the flock is expected 
to be at once apostle (missionary,^ or one sent of God), 
bishop or overseer, shepherd to care for each lamb 
in the flock, herald^ or preacher to proclaim the 
message, evangelist (gospelizer ^) to win to Christ, 
prophet^ or for-speaker for God, teacher^ to instruct 
in the way of the Lord, deacon (in the general sense 
of service) at the call of one and all in the com- 
munity, elder or guide and counsellor. The de- 
mands upon the " bishops " have grown with the 
years, while those upon the " deacons " have lessened 
by comparison. The wise pastor seeks to throw 
some of his burdens upon the deacons and upon the 
church as a whole, 

' See his theory ably reviewed by Rev. Maurice Jones in 
The Expositor, August, 1916, pp. 118-135. See the other 
side in Loenning, " Genieindeverfassung des Urchristen.-ums," 
Theol. Lit., 1889, coll. 418-429. 

^ Tzot/jLTJv. ^ anoazoXtKi. * UTJfw^. 

^ evayyekiaTrj'i. ^npoyrjrr^g. ^ diddffkaXo<s. 


8. The Fatherhood of God and the Lordship of 

This is Paul's favourite greeting ' as it appears also 
in I and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, and 
Ephesians, and in slightly modified form in one and 
2 Thessalonians, Colossians, I Timothy, Titus, 2 Tim- 
othy. There seems little doubt that Paul means to 
place Jesus Christ on an equality with God the 
Father in spite of the absence here of the application 
of the term God to Jesus. Paul ascribes divine at- 
tributes to Christ in Colossians i : 15-19, and is cred- 
ited by Luke in Acts 20 : 28 (true text, " Church of 
God ") with applying the term God directly to Christ. 
According to the probable punctuation in Romans 
9 : 5 Paul calls Christ God, and that is the real idea 
in Titus 2:13.^ Besides, in Philippians 2:5-11, 
Paul argues on the basis of Christ's being " in the 
form of God " and possessing " equality with God." 
In Colossians 2 : 9 he says that all the fullness of the 
Godhead dwells bodily in Jesus Christ. It is beside 
the mark, therefore, for Vincent (" Int. Crit. on 
Phil.," p. 5) to say : " The fact that God and Christ 
appear on an equality in the salutation cannot be 
adduced as a positive proof of the divine nature of 
Christ, though it falls in with Paul's words in chap- 

^ ^dpi<i v/jlTv Jzdl slpy^vfj and deou narpog ijfxcuv fcai ffupioo 
^IrjfTou ypiGToo. 

^ See margin of Am. St. Version ** of our great God and 
Saviour Jesus Christ." Cf. Robertson, " Grammar of Greek 
New Testament in Light of Historical Research," p. 786. 


ter 2, and may be allowed to point to that doctrine 
which he elsewhere asserts. We cannot be too care- 
ful to distinguish between ideas which unconsciously 
underlie particular expressions, and the same ideas 
used with a definite and conscious dogmatic purpose. 
This Epistle especially has suffered from the over- 
looking of this distinction." Per contra^ the almost 
unconscious attribution of deity to Jesus Christ by 
Paul so often and in so many ways reveals better 
than anything else Paul's attitude of mind towards 
the Person of Christ. It is not positive proof of the 
deity of Christ for Paul to have this opinion, to be 
sure, unless one is willing to follow Paul's guidance 
in the matter, but the repeated implication is strong 
proof of Paul's conception of Christ's nature and re- 
lation to God. Certainly Paul is not meaning to 
give a mere Trinitarian formula, since he does not 
mention here the Holy Spirit, though Rainy (" Ex- 
positor's Bible," Phil., p. i6) suggests that the work 
of the Holy Spirit is really involved in the grace and 
peace from the Father and the Son. Sometimes at 
the conclusion of the letters Paul mentions only Jesus, 
as in 2 Thessalonians 3 : i8 ; Galatians 6: i8; Philip- 
pians 4:23. No name at all may be used as in 
Colossians 4:18 ("Grace be with you"); Titus 
3: 15. But in 2 Corinthians 13: 13 we have the full 
Trinity named : " The grace of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of 
the Holy Spirit, be with you all." 


The term " Lord " ' is common in the Old Testa- 
ment (Septuagint) for God, and there can be httle 
doubt that Paul in his frequent use of this word 
means to affirm the essential deity of Jesus Christ. 
The word is common in the papyri and the inscrip- 
tions for the Roman emperors who claimed divine 
attributes and accepted worship. But Paul was not 
going to allow this pagan usage to rob him of the 
privilege of employing this noble word with its rich 
heritage. Indeed, it is quite possible that Paul made 
a point of applying " Lord " to Jesus so many times 
for the very reason that the emperors claimed it for 
themselves. The word in a way became the hall- 
mark of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The 
Christians applied it to Jesus, the heathen to Csesar. 
The Gentile Christians who once said " Lord Caesar " 
now learned to say " Lord Jesus." Hence Paul says 
(i Cor. 12: 2 f.): "Ye know that when ye were 
Gentiles ye were led away unto those dumb idols, 
howsoever ye might be led. Wherefore I make 
known unto you, that no man speaking in the spirit 
of God saith, Jesus is anathema^; and no man can 
say, Jesus is Lord,^ but in the Holy Spirit." During 
the trial of Polycarp he was urged by Herod and 
Nicetes to say the words " Lord Caesar " and live : 
" For what is the harm in saying ' Lord Caesar ' 
and in offering sacrifices and doing the things 

* fibpio<i. ^ 'AvdGefia ^Irjtxou^. 

' KOptOg 'I7](T0U^, 


following these and being spared ? " ' A Phrygian 
Christian, Cointus, had just renounced " Jesus as 
Lord " and said " Lord Caesar " and was spared. 
Polycarp stoutly refused to say " Lord Caesar " when 
those words meant the renunciation of " Lord Jesus." 
He said in defense, " I am a Christian " ^ and was 
burned as he knevv^ he would be. It cost something 
then to say " Lord Jesus," and Paul was right in say- 
ing that no one could say these words (and mean 
them) except in the Holy Spirit. These three words 
(Lord, Jesus, Christ) present the various aspects of 
the work of Jesus. His human name " Jesus " * 
means " saviour of his people from sin " (Matt. I : 2i) 
and the glory and dignity of the humanity is em- 
phasized in Philippians 2 : 5-1 1 and in the Epistle to 
the Hebrews (in particular ch. 2). He is the new 
Joshua of the people of God. The name was com- 
mon enough among the Jews as Josephus testifies 
and the papyri also show it. Christ was at first 
merely the description of His Messianic mission, 
the Hebrew Messiah,^ the Anointed One. In the 
Gospels we usually have the article with it, the 
Anointed One^ (the Messiah) as in Matthew 1:1/; 

' Martyrdom of Polycarp, VIII, 2. rt yap nanov iariv eiTretv 
Kupw<5 Aalffap, kai iiziOuffui /cat ra toutoc^ aR.6Xooda Red 
biaaw'^zaOai. '^ Ibid., X. ^piaTtavd^ eipi. 

' Ibid., V. del pe Zu>vza kauOi,vai. * ^l7jaou<i. 

^ ^pcarog. 

^ Meaaia^ is transliteration as Christ is translation. ^piffTo^ 
is the verbal adjective of y(ptio to anoint. 


16: 16. But its use as a title or mere proper name 
also occurs in the Gospels (as Matt. I : I) as is the 
rule in the Epistles and Revelation. In Paul's later 
Epistles we usually have " Christ Jesus " instead of 
" Jesus Christ," a still further development in the 
usage (cf. I Tim. i : 1-2). Thus by " Lord Jesus 
Christ " Paul really presents the statement that Jesus 
is a real man, is the Jewish Messiah of promise, and 
is divine, Son of God and Son of man (cf. Luke 2 : 1 1 
" the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord "). Paul does 
not explain in what sense he uses " Father " as ap- 
plied to God, whether the general sense in which 
God is the Father of all men who are His offspring 
(Acts 17 : 26-29) 01" tl^s more limited sense as Father of 
the redeemed (Rom. 8 : 14-16). The use of " God our 
Father " reminds us of the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6 : 9). 

9. Grace and Peace. 

It has already been noted that Paul does not use 
the common word for greeting so abundant in the let- 
ters in the papyri. He may have felt that it was " too 
meagre for Christian intercourse " (Kennedy, in loco). 
Grace is from the same root ' as the other word for 
greeting. Kennedy calls grace Paul's " own great 
watchword." It is the distinctive word for the new 
dispensation as John has it in his Gospel (i : 17): 
" For the law was given through Moses ; grace and 
truth came through Jesus Christ." It is Paul's word 

^ yap — root of both yaipu) {^yaipeiv) and ydpi^. Our word 
•* grace " is the Latin gratia. 


in his famous antithesis between legaHsm and law, 
"justified freely by his grace" (Rom. 3 : 24). " But 
if it is by grace, it is no more of works : otherwise 
grace is no more grace " (Rom. 1 1 : 6). The word is 
constantly coming from Paul's pen and is akin to the 
word for joy/ as has just been shown. It is used for 
" gift " and " gratitude " and " charm " and " good- 
will" and " lovingkindness." No one word in Eng- 
lish can translate its wealth of meaning. This word, 
" perhaps above all others, shows the powerful re- 
moulding of terms by Christian thought and feeling " 
(Kennedy, in loco). It lays emphasis on ihe/reencss 
of God's lovingkindness to men (Vincent, m loco). It 
is the " free favour " of God, the state of grace (Rom. 
5 : 2) and the power from that state (Eph. 4 : 7), the 
overwhelming richness of the love of God in Christ 
Jesus, which Paul wishes for the saints in Philippi. 

The other word " peace " '^ is a picture of " the 
harmony and health of that life which is reconciled to 
God through Jesus Christ" (Kennedy, in loco), tliQ 
peace which follows from the grace. The two words 
thus cover the whole of the Christian experience. 
This word " peace " is used of nations and of indi- 
viduals and implies a bond that is made, words that 
are spoken, as the basis on which peace rests. The 
Jews said " shdlorn " (salaam, Arabic salam, peace) 

" Elp-j-^rj may be either from s^.pto to join or elpto to say. 
Our word " peace " is the Latin pax through the French paix. 


as a greeting. The angels brought a message of 
" peace " to men of good-will in their song of greeting 
to the shepherds (Luke 2 : 14). It is the Messianic 
greeting to those who welcome the preachers of Christ 
(Luke 10 : 5). But peace in the Pauline conception 
implies reconciliation with God in Christ (Vincent, in 
loco). It is the tranquil soul at peace with God. God 
is the God of peace (2 Cor. 13: 11; Heb. 1 3 : 20). 
Jesus gave His peace as a blessing to the disciples, 
His parting blessing (John 14 : 27), a peace which the 
world could not give. Paul has this same idea when 
he speaks (Phil. 4:7) of the peace that passeth all 
understanding. But let no one imagine that Paul 
taught" peace at any price " either with man or devil. 
No one exhibits the spirit of courage and conflict 
more than Paul. He has no patience with cowardice 
in preachers (2 Tim. i : 7). Christ bade His disciples 
to be of good cheer in the midst of tribulation, for 
He had overcome the world (John 16: 33). Jesus 
offers us repose in the midst of struggle. God's 
peace makes us independent of man's petty wars. 
Peace is not the greatest good. Righteousness out- 
ranks peace. " First pure, then peaceable " (J as. 
3:17). Only those who "do peace" may expect 
" the fruit of righteousness " which is sown in peace 
(J as. 3 : 18). It is not always possible to live at peace 
with men, but theresponsibiUty for breaking the peace 
should rest upon others (Rom. 12: 18). But peace at 
the price of the triumph of evil is cowardly sin. 



(Philippians 1:3-11.) 

JOY is the key-note of Philippians. Here we see 
Paul's joy in prayer. It is a noble gift, this 
exultation and exaltation in prayer. The men 
of a former generation spoke of " Hberty " in prayer. 
There is no higher spiritual exercise than this and it 
comes only from long practice. The Philippians 
knew of this trait of Paul, for in prison there he and 
Silas " were praying and singing hymns unto God " ^ 
(Acts 16:25). Rainy ("Expositor's Bible") calls 
this prayer " The Apostle's Mind about the Philip- 
pians." It is that, but it is his mind in prayer, a 
summary of his constant prayer for them, the deepest 
desires of his heart about them, the highest hopes he 
has for them. There are delightful words here that 
linger in the mind. 

I. Memory (verse 3). 

" Upon all my remembrance of you." The words 
could mean " upon all your remembrance of me," 
but the other is probably the idea. It cannot' be 

' 7Tpnff£u-(6fi£vot ufivouv Tov OsSv. Almost as if the prayer 
was a song. 

^ Because of rd<T3j rrj fxveia (the article). Cf. Robertson, 
" Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of 
Historical Research," pp. 769 f. 



" upon every remembrance." Paul is not thinking of 
isolated memories of Philippi, but of the total picture 
that is still vivid in his mind. There were unpleas- 
ant memories of Philippi if he cared to dwell upon 
them, the rage of the masters of the poor girl whom 
Paul set free and the conduct of the magistrates and 
the populace towards Paul. But these were not part 
of the flock in Philippi. Even there Paul knows of 
unpleasantness between two women (Phil. 4 : 2 f.) 
and of others who seek their own desires (3 : 17). 
But time and distance mellow one's memories in a 
gracious way, particularly in the case of an old pastor 
who no longer feels the petty irritations that once 
were so keen. Fortunately also the people forget 
their grudges against the pastor, now that he is gone. 
Paul will not allow specks to spoil the whole. So he 
meditates upon the names and faces of the saints at 
Philippi with his marvellous faculty for recalling 
them, happy trait for any preacher who can thus 
bind people to him. Time blurs names and faces 
for most of us, but Paul has zest in the life of people. 
He is fond of folks and joys in them through the 
haze of the past, in all of them. Indeed, it almost 
sounds as if Paul did nothing else but dream about 
the Philippians, " always in every supplication." ' 
Memories of his work all over the world came to 
him often in moments of despair and of cheer 

* He plays upon the word " all " : Tratriy, ndwoTe, izdarj, 


(cf. 2 Cor. ii). These hallowed associations with 
the elect of earth spur one on to fresh endeavour. 
One feeds upon rich experiences of grace, like those 
at Northfield, and can go in the strength of this 
meat for many days. 

2. Gratitude (verse 3). 

Gratitude springs out of memory, bubbling up like 
a fountain. His feeling of gratitude' rests upon^ 
the happy and holy memories of his days with the 
Philippians and their kindness to him. Paul always 
has something to thank God for in the churches to 
which he writes, save in the case of the Galatians, 
whose sudden defection shocked him severely. Even 
in Corinth he finds much to praise. Paul is a man 
of prayer and gratitude to God is an essential ele- 
ment in real prayer. " The great people of the earth 
to-day are the people of prayer. The greatest force 
of the day is prayer " (Baskerville, " Sidelights on the 
Epistle to the Philippians," p. 6). But nowhere is 
Paul in more grateful mood than in this Epistle of 
joy and suffering. He " dwells long and fondly on 
the subject " (Lightfoot, m loco). The Western 

^ eu^aptffziu} is condemned by the Atticists, but is good 
Koine and occurs in the papyri (Deissmann, " Bible Studies," 
p. 122) and from Polybius on. The vulgate gr alias ago is a 
good deal like eu^dptaro^ (from so and yapiZnjKii'). 

■^ tTTt' here in a semi-local (Ellicott) or ethico-local (Ken- 
nedy) sense. 


text ' makes Paul emphatic in the assertion of his 
gratitude, suggesting that the Phihppians had written 
Paul a letter with the gifts which Epaphroditus 
brought. Perhaps also they may have imagined a 
slight lack of cordiality on Paul's part (Kennedy, in 
loco), because some time had elapsed with no word 
of appreciation from him. But the sickness of 
Epaphroditus explains his delay and he repeats his 
gratitude with emphasis. One of the common faults 
of men is failure to express gratitude for the simple 
courtesies and favours of life. It costs little to say 
" Thank you," and this word smooths out many 
wrinkles of care. Paul certainly had not meant to 
be derelict in this grace and amply atones for his 
apparent neglect by this beautiful Epistle which is a 
model of Christian courtesy. His gratitude is in no 
sense the Frenchman's definition, a lively sense of 
favours expected. This notion is repellent to Paul 
(Phil. 4: 17). It must be admitted that many a life 
is embittered by lack of gratitude and appreciation 
on the part of those who matter most. 

" How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is 
To have a thankless child." 

3. Supplication (verse 4). 

But Paul was not content with their spiritual state, 
many as were the grounds of thanksgiving. A holy 
discontent and high ambition for them led him to pe- 
* DEFG defg have iycb fiev. 


titionary' prayer. One cannot well be in the pres- 
ence of God without a sense of need. The words in 
this verse can be variously punctuated, but they prob- 
ably go together as a single thought with its studied 
repetition of the word all (Lightfoot, iti loco). One's 
mood in prayer varies according to the subject of the 
prayer. Here the Apostle prays " with joy," ^ " with 
a sense of joy " (Moffatt). This note is the under- 
tone of the whole ^ Epistle and sounds on through 
Paul's petition for them which partakes of the nature 
of a spiritual rhapsody. Christians often show emo- 
tion in prayer. Sometimes uncontrolled passion 
sweeps them away. At times feeling seems to be 
without thought and merely incoherent ecstasy or 
even worked-up artificiality as in some shouting, the 
" holy laugh," the " holy rollers " and similar per- 
formances. But dead formalism has little right to 
find fault with such excesses. With Paul joyful 
prayer is the normal atmosphere of his life with God. 
He had a " hallelujah chorus " in his heart. Christ 
to Paul was the spring of all joy. He could not be a 
pessimist. He was not a blind optimist. Joy is not 
mere excitement, not mere noise, but serenity of 
spirit that overcomes circumstance. His 

^ ^irjfTig (twice in this verse) is, like enyapinria^ just one 
aspect of 7:f>()(7su/yj (general prayer) addressed only to God, 
though di-^ffc?, from Sio/iac to need or to beg, is to God or 

* fisrd yapa?, 

' Summa epistols (Bengel). 


** buoyant spirit can prevail 
Where common cheerfulness would fail." 

The happiest man in Rome is Paul the pris- 
oner for Christ. Joy is the missing note in many- 
lives which are too easily upset by the little worries. 
The little foxes eat away the vines. Christianity 
will have more power when it recovers joyful prayer, 
jubilant praying, mighty wrestling with God. Bas- 
kerville justly says that we need a revival in our 
prayer-life ; " Prayer may well be regarded as the 
hne of communication with the base of supplies." 
We have let the stream get choked from this foun- 
tain of hfe. If we lay hold on God with great 
energy, we shall have power with men. 

4. Partnership (verse 5). 

Partnership is one of the grounds * of Paul's 
thanksgiving about the Philippians. It is their part- 
nership ^ or fellowship with Paul in the furtherance 
of the Gospel.^ The specific reference is to the con- 
tributions made by this church " from the first day 
until now,"* to Thessalonica and to Corinth at the 
very start of the church's life (Phil. 4: 15 f.). At 
first they stood alone in this cordial support of Paul's 

* int. 

't^ aocvojvi'a (3/iaii/ (subjective genitive), from the adjective 
/zotvog (in common). The word novjiD^na is used in the 
papyri of the marriage contract as well as of commercial part- 
nership, a iife-partnership ^ioo /ioivwvia. 

^ eig TO euayyiXiov. Note this use of e;?. 

* aizo T/J9 TTpcuTTjis r^[j.ipa<i cl^pi Tou vuv. 


missionary labours, though others later followed this 
noble example (2 Cor. 1 1 : 8). The Philippian 
church was thus a missionary church from the start. 
The word here for fellowship means cooperation in 
the largest sense, though the particular application is 
to their help to Paul in the work. James and John 
were partners * with Simon in the fishing. Titus was 
Paul's partner (2 Cor. 8 : 23). Paul uses this word 
for partnership on the part of the Philippians in the 
collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 
8 : 4). The Philippians gave themselves to the mis- 
sion cause heart and soul (Rainy, in loco). Here 
was one church to which Paul could always turn, 
upon whom he could always count for sympathy and 
support. It is just the lack of this sense of fellowship 
and of responsibility that makes so many Christians 
ineffective and useless in aggressive work. After 
Pentecost the Jerusalem Christians continued stead- 
fastly in this fellowship or partnership (Acts 2 : 42). 
This mutual bond of spiritual commerce should bind 
together with hooks of steel people and pastor and 
make the church glad to remunerate properly both 
pastor and missionary (Gal. 6 : 6). It is the great 
distinction of the Philippian church that they had 
enlightenment enough to see their opportunity as co- 
workers with Paul in the greatest enterprise of the 
ages. They were only too glad of the chance of 
taking stock in this chief business of the world. 
^ koivwvoi (Luke 5 : 10). 


Cooperation is still the great demand among 
modern Christians. Churches so often leave it all 
for the pastor to do. The forces of righteousness in 
our cities so easily disintegrate and fly apart. We 
have a common salvation, a common task, a common 
peril, and a common Captain of our salvation. When 
Christians, with frank recognition of their differences 
of standpoint and convictions, learn to pull together 
in all common interests against Satan, we shall see 
the beginning of the end of his dominion among 
men. But we have not even learned how to enlist 
all those in one denomination in any common cause. 

5. Confidence (verses 6 and 7). 

Paul's state of confidence * grew out of his experi- 
ence with God and his knowledge of them. Paul 
places God first always. God began ^ a good work 
in them, took the initiative as He always does. God 
will also perfect^ it, carry it on to perfection, will not 
take His hand from the task till the day of Jesus 
Christ, the day of consummation. God " will go on 
completing it" (Moffatt). Paul is cheered by the 
hope of the Parousia or Second Coming of Christ, 
though he sets no day for it. He nowhere says that 
it will be before his death, and in this very Epistle 
he faces his own death as a real problem (i : 21 ff.). 
Paul does, hov/ever, maintain an expectant attitude 

* i:£Tcoi0u)<s^ second perfect participle. 

' 6 ivap^dii£vo<s. ^ inireXiaei linear fiiture. 


towards the return of Christ, and the hope has a 
moulding influence on his Ufe. It is a pity that so 
many modern Christians have lost any real joy in this 
blessed hope and no longer look for the coming of 
Jesus to claim His own. Some, indeed, go to the 
other extreme and have formal programs and details 
and even dates for the Parousia. One can admire 
Paul's sanity and balance on this subject as on all 
others that he discusses. He counts it right' to 
have the opinion about the Philippians that he cher- 
ishes. This church was good soil, no doubt, and 
good seed was sown there, and good cultivation was 
kept up also. But the reason here given for Paul's 
optimism is that he holds them in his heart. Inter- 
estingly enough the phrase in the Greek ^ can mean 
" because you hold me in your heart." Both things 
are true, but Paul is speaking of his own love for his 
children in the Gospel. He was bound to believe 
the best about them. He has the shepherd heart 
and grounds his confidence in his own love as well 
as in God's purposes about them. The Philippians 
have shown the grace of continuance. They are not 
quitters. They press on both in the defense^ and in 
the confirmation of the Gospel. There are so many 
unfinished books, pictures, sculpture, buildings. It 

' diKaiov (justum, Vg.). Right here, not righteous. 
* dia TO k'^ety fie iv rfj /iapdia u/j.(7^. Here fcapdia in- 
cludes the purposes of the will as well as the emotions. 
' d-nokoyia is used of defense in a judicial action. 


is a joy to see a church carry a thing through as they 
are doing. This is Hke God whose work is thorough 
(Baskerville). Hence Paul is proud to have the 
PhiUppians co-partners ' with him in grace, in all the 
rich grace in Christ. They all share to the full with^ 
Paul. He claims no clerical grace above them. 
They are fellows in Christ Jesus. It does Paul good 
to brood over this noble band of brothers linked to- 
gether in the mystic bond of love for God and man, 
linked not merely in idea and theory, but in actual 
practice. If all churches of Christ lived up to this 
ideal, there would be no need and no room for any 
other brotherhoods, much good as many of them do. 
The church would fill all the life to the full. 

6. Longing (verse 8). 

Paul uses a very strong word ^ here, a word of in- 
tense feeling and yearning, sometimes transliterated 
as pathos^ The solemn oath here adds to the emo- 
tion. Paul calls God to witness in no light or flip- 
pant way (cf. Rom. l : 9-1 1). But Paul actually says 
that he longs after them in the tender mercies ^ of 

^ (TUV/201VIUV0U? fjLdU T^9 ^(Iptzog. 

^<70v. ^ innzodS). 

* We cannot press the force of the compound ir.i- in the 

^ GTzXayy^^a is used for the nobler viscera (heart, liver, lungs, 
etc.), as opposed to the hrs^a (lower intestines). It occurs 
in the papyri in sense of pity v-kp anXdyj^voo " for pity's 
sake " (BQ 1 139'?, V. B. C), Moukon and MilHgan, " Lex- 
ical Notes from the Papyri," Expositor, June, 191 1. 


Jesus Christ, with all the heart-hunger of Jesus Him- 
self. The ancient Greeks located the emotions of 
love, pity, joy, etc., in the " stomach-brain," as it is 
sometimes called. This word is used about Phile- 
mon, "my very heart"* (Phile. 12). Paul longs 
for the Philippians, not only with the best of his own 
heart but in mystic union with Christ with the very 
heart-throb of Jesus Himself. He identifies his own 
heart-life with that of Christ. Paul, though a man 
of tremendous intellectual power, was even more a 
man of heart. He was a spiritual dynamo for 
Christ, a sort of electric battery, charged with the 
love of Christ. 

7. Discerning Love (verses 9-10*). 

Petition (cf. i : 4) is now the form of Paul's prayer, 
petition closely connected with the gratitude already 
so richly expressed. Paul's prayers for the Chris- 
tians are very suggestive. They are never perfunc- 
tory but always pertinent to the situation. " Prayer 
makes the preacher a heart-preacher. Prayer puts 
the preacher's heart into the preacher's sermon. 
Prayer puts the preacher's sermon into the preacher's 
heart " (Baskerville, in loco). This prayer lias the 
very breath of heaven. Paul prays for the overflow ^ 

' TO. kixa aTzXdy^va. 

'^ TzepiffffcuTj (cf. TzepcfTfTog from -rept). In ancient Greek 
this word meant to remain over. It is common in the Septua- 
gint. Paul uses it commonly for " abound " (Vg, here 
abundei). Cf. Thomas, " The Prayers of St. Paul." 


of the love ' of the Phihppians for one another and 
for himself. There is no danger of an excess. There 
is still room, " yet more and more," ^ Paul pleads 
with his fondness for piling up adverbs. Some 
coldly critical people dislike exuberance in Christian 
affection, but Paul sets no limit' to the development 
and expression of love except " in knowledge and 
all discernment,"* " all manner of insight " (Moffatt), 
a very important qualification. Love must not be a 
raging flood like that in the Miami Valley that threat- 
ened the very existence of Dayton and other cities. 
It is a flood of love that Paul prays for and yet a 
flood within the bounds of good sense and discretion. 
He wishes that " the sensitiveness of touch may be 
added to love " (Kennedy, in loco). There should be 
sense in love and not bhnd impulse. Enthusiasm 
needs common sense for poise and guidance. What 
we call common sense is sense about common things, 
and is itself an uncommon quality. The flood is 
good if we know how to use it or to ride it. Love 
grows best in the full light of knowledge.^ Love has 

' d-YaTz-q is a " back-formation " from ayandm. There is 
one doubtful example of dydnrj in a Herculaneum papyrus 
(i. B. C.) 81 a.[j\dr.rj<i i.\yap'\Y<n)<{. The verb dyaKdu) in the 
New Testament is a deeper and richer word than (fiUoj which 
is more human (Moulton and Milligan, " Vocabulary "). 

"^ ere [idXlov ka\ irnkko'^. 

^ Paul here uses the tense for durative action (j:spi<T(7si>i^. 

* h l-rayvd}(j£t. fidi r.da-^ aiffOyjffsc. Vg. has in scientia, et in 
omni sensu, 

'" Paul is fond of l-iziyv<uai<i which is added (£"£-) knowledge. 


nothing to fear from the light. Suspicion kills love. 
" Perfect love casts out fear" (i John 4: 18). In- 
tense love makes people hypersensitive to slights and 
misunderstandings unless one is quick to apply full 
knowledge to the situation. The word " discern- 
ment " ^ calls for the practical application of this 
spiritual insight and sensitiveness. This word de- 
notes the fineness of spiritual perception that comes 
from alertness and practice. Hippocrates,^ a med- 
ical writer, employs the verb for perception with 
sight, touch, hearing, the nose, the tongue, and 
knowledge. The word suggests the nervous organ- 
ism of the body, all the avenues of approach by the 
senses of the mind, that wonderful sensitive plate, 
more delicate than any seismograph for recording 
earthquake shocks, or than any chemical apparatus 
for detecting affinities between atoms, or than any 
electrical machinery for noting the behaviour of 
electrons. Wireless telegraphy requires apparatus 
for sending and receiving the sound-waves. We 
give various names to this ethical sensitiveness like 
tact, spiritual sensibility, a trained conscience. One 

See its intensive force in i Corinthians 13:12. Cf. Epictetus 
II, 20, 21 kruYvu>(Tt<s T!^? dXrjOsia^. 

' actT0yj(Tt<}. Here only in the New Testament, but in 
Proverbs 1:4, 7, 22, etc. Cf". elg aiffOrjaiv rou Raftoib in 
Epictetus II, 18, 8. In Hebrews 5:14 note aiffOrjTiijpia for 
the organs of moral sense (Lightfoot). 

^ De Off. Med. 3 (quoted by Kennedy, in loco) a kal rrj o<fn 
Rai kai tTj 6.iprj Ra\ rfj d/2oufj /cat rfj pivi fiat zy yXwaarj kat 
T^ yvcufxT^k'ffTcv alaOiOat. 


is reminded of the phrase in Hebrews 5 : 14 " who by 
reason of use have their senses exercised to discern 
good and evil," trained hke athletes ' " to discriminate 
between good and evil." ^ Sin blunts the moral sense 
and blurs the spiritual vision so that the eyes of the 
heart do not see correctly. Paul's wish about the 
saints at Philippi is that they may be in a position^ 
where they can " approve the things that are ex- 
cellent," ^ " have a sense of what is vital " (Moffatt). 
This is one of the translations of this expression and 
probably what Paul really means here. But the 
original idea is " to test the things that differ." The 
word for " excellent " ^ means to " bear apart " either 
in hostility or superiority. By comparison or ex- 
amination^ as in the testing of metals one learns 
wherein they differ and which is superior and at what 
points. Thus one is prepared intelligently to ap- 
prove '' the excellent. It is only when one has his 
ethical sense quickened and has also full knowledge of 
the facts that he is able to render a sound judgment on 

'^yeyoixvaaiiha. Perfect tense, state of readiness. 

^npo'i diduptaiv kaXoo re KaX na/iou. 

^ d<i TO with the infinitive. Probably purpose though con- 
templated result is possible. 

* doKaiidZ^tv TOL diacfipovra. 

^ dia<pipovTa neuter plural participle from diatpipu), 

^ 8of!ifidZeiv. Very common in this sense in the papyri. 
It is used for assaying metals as in Proverbs 8 : 10 ; 17:3. 

"^ The papyri have this sense also. Cf. 6\noTipio<i oZv Ral 
(TO do/2ijj.d^£ig, P. Pap. III. 41 (quoted by Moulton and 
Milligan, " Vocabulary "). 


matters of right and wrong. When the ethical sense 
is dulled by misuse or blinded by misinformation or 
prejudice, its decisions cannot be trusted. So the 
good is the enemy of the best. One cannot be satis- 
fied with what is " good enough " for others. Few 
things are more needed by modern Christians than 
precisely this intelligent moral insight mingled with 
a wealth of love. It is needed to keep us from failure 
to see sin. We need it to help us to see spiritual 
opportunity and privilege. We need it to enable us 
to see what things are relatively the most important 
and to put the emphasis in the right place. We need 
it to keep us from becoming the dupes of slick- 
tongued adventurers and religious mountebanks. 
We need it to shield us from being ourselves the 
victims of religious prejudice and narrowness. It 
is the only combination that insures loyalty to truth 
with progress in grace and service. God give us all 
discerning love. 

8. Fruit (i : lob-ii). 

Paul has a series ' of requests in this prayer, each a 
link in the chain. He prays for abounding and dis- 
cerning love, that the Philippians may be drawn to 
the highest and the best, that in ^ the day of Christ 

' (Va, el(^ rd, ha (verses 9-11), each dependent on the 
other, the two last of an epexegetical nature, 

^ ei's" yj/jiifiav A'ptffroT). Literally in or for the day of Christ, 
the Parousia. Cf. Phil. 2 : 16; Eph. 4 : 30 ; 2 Tim. i : i 2. 
Vg. has in diem Christi. 


they may pass under the eye of the Judge with ap- 
proval. The goal of Paul in his work is the Day of 
Assizes when Jesus comes to judge. Then he wishes 
the Philippians to be sincere.' The old etymology ^ 
(T. H. Green quoted by Kennedy, in loco) defines the 
word as " perfect openness towards God." Plato 
uses the word for pure intellect, for the soul purged 
from sense. Certainly the eye of Him with whom we 
have to do sees us as we are (Heb. 4:12 f.). He is 
the God of things as they are. But Paul prays 
also that the Philippians may be " void of offence," 
a possible translation. The word is either in- 
transitive as in Acts 24:16 and means " not stum- 
bling" or transitive as in I Cor. 10 : 32 and means 
" not causing others to stumble." Either will make 
good sense here, for Jesus (cf. Matt. 2$ : 31-46) men- 
tions our treatment of others as one of the tests of 
character on the Judgment Day. But Paul is not 
satisfied with a negative statement of ^goodness. He 
adds a prayer for " the fruit of righteousness," " that 
harvest of righteousness" (Moffatt), for a fulF crop 
on a fruitful tree (cf. Ps. I ; Prov. 1 1 : 30). In the 

* elh/cpivel?. Unmixed, pure, unsullied. Vg. sinceri. 

* From kpivio and e'iXrj (heat of sun) tested by sunbeams or 
e'lX-q separated into ranks is very doubtful. The word is com- 
mon enough, though the etymology is unknown. Cf. i Cor. 
5:8; 2 Cor. I ; 1 2 for eiXikpivsia. Light would be in- 
visible apart from obstructions against which it strikes. 

■* nenXTjpvjui'M^i. Perfect passive, state of completion. Note 
the accusative napizuv. 


Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave fruit as the proof 
of one's sincerity in God's service. " By their fruits 
ye shall know them" (Matt. 7: 16). The figure is 
common enough in all ages. Paul adds that this 
fruit of righteousness comes only through Jesus 
Christ.' The Pharisees did not possess it according 
to the indictment of Jesus in Matthew 6 and 23. 
Jesus is the vine on which this fruit grows (cf. John 
15 : 1-8). Paul closes his prayer with the purpose 
of this glorious fruitage, " unto the glory and praise 
of God." The fruit is not for the glory of the 
Philippians nor for the honour of Paul. Redemp- 
tion has its origin in God and its end in God. " For 
of him, and through him, and unto him are all things. 
To him be the glory for ever. Amen " (Rom. 
II : 36). The word for glory ^ originally meant 
opinion. But in the Septuagint it is used for the 
glory of the Lord, for the Shekinah. This is the 
conception here. The word had a popular sense also 
like our glory .^ Paul means that men will be led to 
praise God because good fruit is found in our lives. 

' rov did ''I-QfTou Xpiffzoo. Note the added article to the 
attributive clause. 

"^ do^a from dokiu). 

* Cf. du^a tz6Xeu)<s of the prytanis in P. Oxy. I. 41, 4 
(iii, iv, A. D.) quoted by Moulton and Milligan's " Vo- 


(i : 12-20) 


■^HE interpretation of Providence is not al- 
ways easy if one looks at the whole prob- 
lem. There are always glib interpreters, 
like Job's miserable comforters, who know how to 
fit the cap to others with complete satisfaction to 
themselves. Modern science has thrown the chill of 
doubt over many of those who find refuge in the love 
of a personal God, our Heavenly Father. It is grim 
comfort to find consolation only in the certain opera- 
tion of inexorable law. Our problem is to be able 
to see the hand of God in a world of law and order 
when things go against us. Paul was able to get 
sweet out of bitter. It is easier to see the good after 
it has come out of the ill. But it would be a dreary 
world if one could not believe that God cares for His 
people and overrules the evils of life for the progress 
of man and of men. 

I. Progress of the Gospel (verse 12), 
It is possible that Epaphroditus brought a letter to 
Paul from the Philippian church which was full of 
concern for Paul's welfare. He had been a prisoner 



for some years now, two at Caesarea and one or two 
in Rome. Kennedy raises the question whether 
Paul may not have been by this time transferred from 
his hired lodging (Acts 28 : 30) to the castra pcrigrino- 
rum where provincial prisoners were kept in military 
custody. If so, the Philippians would naturally ex- 
pect Paul to have a harder time than he had so far 
experienced in Rome. At any rate Paul is anxious * 
for them to know the true state of the case about his 
affairs.* Paul tells of his experiences in Rome be- 
cause only thus can he relieve their anxiety. There 
are two extremes in this matter. Some men talk 
too much about themselves and some do it too little. 
The use of" rather "^ clearly implies that the Philip- 
pians had expected the worst for Paul. He hastens 
to tell them that he has good news, not bad news, 
about the progress of the Gospel in Rome. The 
word for progress* seems to mean cutting a way 
ahead, blazing a trail before an army to come after- 
wards. The pioneers, like Daniel Boone in Ken- 

' The idiom yv^uxj/zstv dk vixa<i l3o6X(>[iac occurs only here 
in the New Testament, but is like Paul's common Oiho with 
the infinitive (i Cor. 10 : i ; 11:3; Col. 2:1; Rom. 
1:13). It is a common epistolary phrase (Kennedy). 

^ rri kar i/ie. This use of /^ard is almost equivalent to 
the genitive in the tor^rj. Cf. Kslker, " Ouestiones de clocu- 
tione Polybiana," p. 282. Cf. Eph. 6:21; Col. 4: 7. 

^ fidXXov. Comparative without standard of comparison as 
in Phil. 2 : 26 ; i Cor. 7 : 38 ; 2 Cor. 7:7; Rom. 15 : 15. 
" Really tended to advance the Gospel " (MofFatt). 

* Tzpokor.r^. Cf. I : 25 ; I Tim. 4:15. Common in the 
later Greek. From npoRuTzru), to cut forward. 


tucky, blazed the path for civilization and Christian- 
ity. In the Stoic philosophy (Zeller, " Stoics," p. 
294) the word is used for progress tovv'ards wisdom. 
Paul uses it for the progress of a young minister in 
culture and power (i Tim. 4 : 15). So then the op- 
position to Paul in Rome has kicked the Gospel up- 
stairs. The Jews from Asia did not stop the onward 
march of the Gospel when they raised their hue and 
cry in the temple in Jerusalem, The hand of God 
was with Paul when he was at the mercy of the mob 
and before the Sanhedrin. Even Felix and Festus 
did not stay God's arm. In spite of shipwreck and 
delay on the part of Nero work has gone on. Paul 
had not courted imprisonment, but he does not fret 
unduly because of his chain. This very chain has 
been used of God to spread the Gospel. 

2. Sermons in Bonds (verse 13). 

The precise way in which good has come out of 
ill Paul goes on to show in an explanatory clause of 
result.' Paul's bonds ^ are literal bonds, for he was 
constantly chained to a Roman soldier (cf. Acts 
28 : 20). He probably means to say that his bonds 
have become manifest in Christ.^ It has become 

* mart — ysviadat nai — roXpidv. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar 
of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Re- 
search," pp. 999 f. 

"^ deaiiov^'. deffpid (cf. Luke 8 : 29) is more common, but 
no real distinction is traceable. 

^ iv Xpiarip yeviadat. Position is ambiguous, but Vg. has 
manifesta fierent in Christo. 


plain that he is a prisoner for no crime, but solely for 
Christ's sake, so that Paul can properly call himself 
" the prisoner of Christ " ' (Eph. 3 : i). This fact at- 
tracted attention to Christ and gave Paul a fresh op- 
portunity to preach Christ to those interested. Paul 
is never ashamed of Christ. He is not ashamed of 
his bonds. They become a badge of honour for they 
come to preach Christ to all who see them and who 
know why he wears them. In particular Paul has a 
fresh opportunity each day with the guard to whom 
he is chained. The soldiers relieved each other. He 
not only talks to this guard about his armour (cf. 
Eph. 6 : 10-20) and his service, but he tells him of 
Jesus. By this means alone the knowledge of Jesus 
would be conveyed to many. But Paul insists that 
the Gospel by means of his bonds has become known 
" throughout the whole praetorian guard." ^ The 
expression is ambiguous in the Greek and can be 
interpreted in four different ways. It may mean the 
ten thousand picked soldiers who formed this notable 
guard. It may be the barracks where the guard 
were stationed in Rome. It may refer to the impe- 
rial palace as it is used of the governor's palace in the 
provinces (cf. Matt. 27:27; John 18:28, 33). It 
may refer to the judicial authorities of the imperial 
court. There seems to be no way of determining 
the matter finally, for good arguments are adduced 

' 6 difffllOii TOU XptfTTUO. 

'iv uXu} T(p rrpautopioj. Vg. has in omni pratorio. 


for each meaning.* We know that there were con- 
verts in Caesar's household (Phil. 4 : 22), though this 
fact does not prove that Paul himself had access to 
the emperor's palace. There were Jews connected 
with the household of Nero (his wife Poppaea, for 
instance). The Christians there probably were slaves 
or other menials. It is possible that Paul was re- 
moved to the prsetorian camp {castra prcstoriana) 
and thus had ready access to the whole guard. But 
if not, he was still able slowly to spread the knowl- 
edge of Jesus through this famous band of soldiers. 
He would probably make visits to the camp with his 
guard who went with him from his lodging. In a 
way, therefore, Paul became the friend and chaplain 
of these soldiers. Mithraism was already beginning 
to get a powerful hold upon the Roman soldiers ^ 
and Paul would not be slow to seize the opportunity 
to counteract this influence and to tell the men about 
Jesus. The Roman soldier probably took kindly to 
Paul (cf, the centurion Julius in Acts 27 : 3 who 
treated Paul " kindly " ^). Certainly Paul had a manly 
message to present. He is manifestly proud of the 
fact that he has set all the praetorian guard, almost 
the flower of the Roman army, to thinking and 
to talking about Jesus. Preaching to soldiers has 
always appealed to strong preachers.^ The shadow 

^ See Kennedy, in loco. 

' Cf. Kennedy, " St. Paul and the Mystery-Religions." 

* Cf. Broadus in Lee's Army (Robertson, " Life and Letters 


of death in the battle of to-morrow brings the mes- 
sage close home to strong men's hearts. One is 
able to preach as a " dying man to dying men." 
Whether Paul was able to address the soldiers in 
large companies in formal sermons we do not know, 
but he was able to make skillful use of conversation. 
These rough and ready men of affairs saw the steady 
joy of Paul the prisoner. They watched him day by 
day and his buoyant optimism caught their fancy. 
Jesus is the secret of Paul's life of joy. Thus the 
contagion of Paul's love for Jesus spread to " all the 
rest," whether to soldiers, or to people in Rome it -s 
not clear. He had spoken to the Jews we kn^\v 
(Acts 28 : 17, 23). There was much in the soldier's 
life that appealed to Paul's heroic nature and he 
drew frequent illustrations from the life of the soldier. 

3. Spurring Others to Action (verse 14). 

This is the second result of Paul's imprisonment in 
Rome. There are always timid souls who lose heart 
in times of persecution. Some even go to the extent 
of apostasy when the cause seems lost. The early 
Christian centuries furnish examples of those who 
renounced Christ for Caesar under the pressure of the 
Roman state (cf. i Cor. 12:1-3). Paul had long 
foreseen the coming conflict between Christianity 
and the Man of Sin or Lawlessness embodied in 

of John A. Broadus," pp. 198-209 ; Jones, "Christ in the 
Camp," pp. 312-326) ; and the opportunity during the Great 


the Roman Empire (2 Thess. 2:3-12). Here in 
Rome itself that dark shadow loomed blacker than 
ever in spite of the fact that Nero had not yet come 
out openly against Christianity. The faint-hearted 
in Rome knew the power of the state. Paul was a 
prisoner and the outcome was uncertain. These 
fearful saints would take no chances. There was a 
minority of the brethren in Rome who exercised 
extra caution because of Paul's activity for Christ. 
They wished no responsibihty for his conduct if 
things went against him. There are always these 
shirkers who practise absenteeism from church in 
times of struggle, these cowards in a crisis who shnk 
away till danger is past. They come in for the 
shouting after victory is won. In case of disaster 
they are ready to say : " We told you so." But 
" the most of the brethren " ' constituted that inner 
circle of the brotherhood that does and dares things 
for Christ while the rest hang back. Paul was lucky 
to have won a majority to this scale of activity. It 
is usually the minority of Christians who put energy 
into the work while the majority drift along or criti- 
cize what the minority do. The papyri ^ give plenty 
of examples of " brothers " in the sense of " fellows " 

* roug nXetova? ruJv adelcpwv. The comparative can thus 
be translated. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 668. 

^ Thus a town clerk calls another d(?£/l^«9, P. Tebt. I. 
12 (b. c. 118), members of a burial club are so termed in P. 
Tor. I, I. »• 20 (ii. B. c). See Moulton and Milligan's " Vo- 
cabulary " for others. 


in service or members of guilds or brotherhoods. 
Paul's courage and contagious enthusiasm had 
shamed many into action who had at first held back 
through fear or indifference. These gain confidence 
in the Lord, which is the probable * translation rather 
than "brethren in the Lord." This confidence in the 
Lord is caused by Paul's bonds.^ Paul's chain re- 
buked their lethargy and cowardice and stirred the 
conscience so that they are now " bold to speak the 
word of God without fear." ' Manifestly they had 
been afraid to open their mouths for a while till they 
saw how brave Paul was in spite of his bondage and 
impending trial. Some, never eloquent before, now 
find tongues of angels as they catch the spirit of Paul. 
The bolder spirits are rendered " more abundantly * 
bold " than they were before. These cast caution to 
the winds and are overwhelmingly daring in their 
championship of Jesus. They speak " the mes- 
sage of God," Paul's phrase here for preaching and 
telling the story of the gospel of grace. There 
are always in a crisis some choice spirits ready to 
die for Christ like the ten thousand native Chinese 
Christians who at the time of the Boxer movement 
died rather than renounce Jesus. Fortitude is con- 

' iv fiuptu) irsTTtdiHTai;, Cf. Phil. 2 : 24 ; Gal. 5 : lo; 
2 Thess. 3 : 4. The order here is different, but that is not a 
material point. 

* Tin<i d£)T/i(Hi} fiou. Instrumental case. 

' ToXfldv TOV XoyOV TOU 0£UU difOiiiWi. 

* TtEfjtcrffoTipcug. 


tagious, Paul's courage was like that of a brave 
general leading his troops. There is nothing that 
will quicken a dying church into life like courage on 
the part of the leaders. Prophets to-day have to 
call to the dry bones to live. Paul waked up the 
church in Rome by going ahead in spite of his limi- 
tations and doing his duty boldly as opportunity 
came to him. It is a great achievement to revive a " 
dead church. There are plenty of them dead or 
dying or asleep. Much of the pastor's energy is 
required to keep his church awake or to wake it up. 
It is not enough to galvanize a corpse. Life must 
come back into the body. This is no artificial or 
mechanical process. Paul did his own part heroically. 
That is the way to wake up our churches. Let each 
one lay hold of his own task. That is better than con- 
ventions or conferences or resolutions. Life is more 
contagious than death. Life can put death to flight 
if it is given a fair chance, " And he hath put a 
new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God ; 
many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the 
Lord " (Ps. 40 : 3). 

4. Preaching Christ from Envy of Paul (verses 

iS^^" 17)- 

But Paul had no bed of roses in Rome. The 
minority furnished plenty of thorns for his side. ^ 
Some * of these were provoked by Paul's activity, it 

' Tcve<i fi£v. He does not define them. 


is true, to preach ' Christ, but they did it " even of 
envy and strife," ^ pitiful enough motives for Chris- 
tian zeal. Envy ^ is a powerful motive in human 
life. It played its part in the trial and death of Jesus 
(Matt. 27: 18). There is a personal side to this 
preaching which is as much against Paul as in favour 
of Christ (cf. Eph. 2 : 4). Kennedy pleads for 
•' rivalry " * rather than " strife " in this passage and 
the word often has this sense. Envy and rivalry 
often lead to open strife. We do not, indeed, know 
to what class of teachers Paul refers. It may be 
some of the old teachers of the church in Rome who 
do not relish Paul's leadership since it displaces them, 
a form of jealousy that one sees only too often. In 
that case their fresh activity would be with a view to 
regaining their former prestige and influence and 
partly by depreciating Paul.^ If it was not personal 
pique that stirred these men, they may have been 
Jewish Christians who disliked the note of universality 
in Paul's message and feared that he did not suffi- 
ciently guard the interests of Judaism.*' It may have 
been the Judaizers, Paul's old enemies who did him 
such harm in Jerusalem and Galatia and Corinth. 
This is the usual view since Bengel, but it is open to 

' kr]po(T(Tou(nv to herald Christ. 
* rcai dia ipOuvov ka\ e'ptv. 

'Philemon, a comic poet of b. c. 330, says: Trokkd /le 
dt8dirkEt<; a(p66vu>(; dia (pOovov. * For epiv. 

^ Cf. Weiss, "Am. Journal of Theology," i. 2, pp. 388-389. 
•^ Cf. McGifFert, " Apostolic Age," pp. 393-395. 


the objection that Paul here apparently condones 
their preaching. That, however, is not quite true, as 
we shall see. We do not, indeed, know that the 
Judaizers had reached Rome, though there is no in- 
herent difficulty in that supposition. As a matter of 
fact, it is quite likely that all of these elements enter 
into the situation, for Paul expressly says that these 
men proclaimed * Christ from mixed motives, " not 
sincerely." ^ In fact, they preach from a partisan ^ 
or selfish motive (cf. Gal. 5 : 20). It was primarily 
" labour for hire" (cf. Job 2:11) and the word was 
applied to those in official position who looked after 
their own selfish interests rather than the common 
good. Kennedy argues for " selfishness " as the 
meaning here. But, in any case, these selfish parti- 
sans cared as much for giving trouble to Paul as for 
preaching Christ. They thought * that they were stir- 
ring up tribulation' for Paul by making his chains gall 
him (Lightfoot). They found added zest in the 
thought that the growth of their peculiar type of 
Christian doctrine would irritate (" annoy," Moffatt) 
Paul. One must confess that some Christians seem 
to enjoy sticking pins in the preacher. It is possible 

' KaraYyiXXoufnv. A rather more formal word than kripixjaui 

'^ ob^ dyvajg. Cf. 2 Cor. II : 13, 20 for the charge of 
insincerity. So also in Gal. 6:22. 

*The word Iptdia is from epiOo?, a hired servant. 

*o}6pLevot. Planning and thinking it out. 

^ dXiil'iv kyeipeiv. As if from the dead. 


for one to be more of a denominationalist than a 
Christian, to care more for the progress of one's 
special views than for the kingdom of God. There 
are ministers with small jealousies who wreck 
churches like a tornado with their winds of doctrine. 
Paul's very success makes these men in Rome jealous 
and resentful and determined to nag him if they can- 
not stop his onward march. These men feel that 
they are entitled to success as much as men less able 
who get ahead of them. So the destructive spirit 
eats its way into their hearts and lives. It was a 
pity that this spirit should burst forth against Paul 
in Rome at the time of the crisis in his imprison- 
ment. But at such a time small men feel like taking 
advantage of such a situation and they strike Paul 
when he is a prisoner. Wolves turn and rend one 
of their own pack who falls in the fight. It is a 
small thing to try to undermine another preacher's 
power. One may wonder that God should bless at 
all the message of men with such a spirit. But after 
all we should be glad that our own wrong motives do 
not wholly hinder the reception of whatever truth is 
preached to men. The power is from God and not 
from the preacher, in God's message and not in the 
preacher's heart. 

5. Preaching Christ from Love of Paul (verses 
IS." 16). 

There is action and reaction in all things. The 


factious opposition of the minority stimulated the 
majority to increased efforts out of love for Paul. 
They do it out of good-will ' as well as love. There is 
this good that comes out of a church dissension. Some 
sluggish souls wake up and begin to take an interest 
in the affairs of the kingdom who had not done so 
before the disagreement arose. There is this conso- 
lation to be found in the midst of the bitter strife of 
the ages among various Christian sects which have 
often caused sadness. We can excuse much even 
of rancour in theological debates and wranglings over 
minor points because of the obvious sincerity and 
conviction of the disputants. We may rejoice in the 
larger spirit of charity now in the world with the 
hope for its increase provided the result is not a 
spineless uniformity without point or pith. Love 
calls for no sacrifice of principle. Love and good- 
will moved the majority to stand valiantly by the 
side of Paul in his exposition of spiritual Christianity. 
One can be a conscientious denominationalist to-day 
and full of love and the spirit of cooperation in all 
wise and proper ways. These men are active be- 
cause of 2 good-will to Paul, and their zeal springs 

^ 81 ebdokiav. This word ffrom tu and dokiui) is used either 
for desire (Rom. 10: i) or satisfaction (2 Thess i : 11) as in 
the Father's good pleasure in Jesus (Matt. 3 : 17). The best 
manuscripts here in verse 16 give the order in the Revised 
Version which is a chiasm or cross reference to verse 15. 
Cf. Robertson, " Grammar of the Greek N. T.," p. 1 200. 


out of ^ love. Some even love Paul for the enemies 
that he has made, even among Christians, but most 
love him for his great achievements in Christ. When 
Paul is thus under attack in Rome, the faithful rally 
round him as the disciples did in a circle ^ at Lystra. 
The recognize ^ Paul as " set for the defence of the 
Gospel," * They rejoice in his courage in chains 
and take his view of his situation. His defence is an 
apology in the original force of the word (cf. i : 7). 
Paul is a living apologetic for Christ, a typical ex- 
ample of the word^ in Jude 3. To desert Paul at this 
juncture is to desert Christ. The cause of Christ is 
here identified with the cause of Paul, its leading ex- 
ponent. The cause is crystallized in the man. One 
cannot stand by Christ in theory and leave Paul in 
the lurch in practice. Alas, so often church mem- 
bers fail to rally to the support of the pastor or of the 
denominational servants. They are willing to give 
up the preacher to save the cause as Caiaphas pro- 
posed about Jesus in John 1 1 : 50, voluntary offering 
of some one else as a sacrifice. Sometimes, to be 
sure, the minister is at fault and has to go for the 
good of all concerned. Christianity is incarnated in 
men and women. This fact gives dignity to the 
Christian's task, but it makes it imperative that one 
' i$. ^ kurcXwadvrtuv tu>v fiaOrjTwv (Acts 14 : 2o). 

* el? dnoXnyiav too eoayyeXinu /zel/iai. The word kelfJ-at 
(positus sum, Vg.) means continued state like perfect of rt'tfiy/xt. 

* inayujvU^eaOai. To contend steadfastly. 


shall be really doing the work of Christ if people are 
to suffer with him for Christ's sake. Else the very- 
love of the people for the man and minister may 
lead many into the pit. The words of Jesus here are 
final : " Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least 
of these my brethren, ye did it unto me — Inasmuch 
as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not 
unto me " (Matt. 25 : 40, 45). 

\- 6. Paul's Conquering Joy (verse 18). 

Nowhere does Paul appear to better advantage 
than in this verse. He faces frankly the limitations 
of ministers and men in the service of Christ, limita- 
tions in preacher and hearer. What is to be the 
attitude of the preacher towards other preachers who 
do not see things as he does in all points of Christian 
doctrine ? This is a practical question and one that 
men must answer to-day. People are often diligent 
to stir up jealousy between preachers. The effort 
was made to make John the Baptist jealous of Jesus, 
but it failed miserably * (John 3 : 22-29). There is joy 
enough for all the workers in the kingdom, the one who 
sows and the one who reaps (John 4 : 36-38). People 
criticize the preachers in the most inconsistent ways 
and it is hopeless to try to please them all. They 
found fault with John and with Jesus for directly 
opposite things (Luke 7: 31-34).^ It has been ob- 

* Cf. Robertson, "John the Loyal," pp. 165 ff. 
^ Ibid., pp. 243 fF, 


jected here that Paul seems to condone the errors 
of the Judaizers which he had so severely criticized 
in 2 Corinthians 10-13 and in Galatians. But this 
estimate fails to understand Paul's spirit here. He 
speaks out in Rome with the same courage and 
clearness as heretofore. He abates no whit his own 
convictions. But the issue before Paul is simply 
whether or not he is to spend his time railing at 
preachers who have the same right to preach as he 
has and give ground for charges of pique and 
jealousy besides filling the ears of the Roman sol- 
diers with stories of the shortcomings of these en- 
vious preachers. He could have done that and angels 
would have wept and the ungodly would have sneered 
at this exhibition of so-called Christian love. Jeal- 
ousy had found a place even in the ranks of the 
twelve apostles. Paul rises to the high plane of con- 
quering j*oy in Christ. " What then ? " ' The an- 
swer of Paul is " only that," ^ <« in every way " ^ 
or in any event " Christ is preached." ^ This is 
what matters most. One must learn to see 
things as they are and to find the consolation 
in the big truths of life in spite of the minor 
drawbacks. The alternative here between pretense ^ 

' T£ ydf}. A common classical idiom. Cf. Rom. 3 : 3. 

* TT^v on. Undoubtedly the correct text. 
^ Travri rpo-uj. 

* XptaTu^ RaraYyO.XeTai. Linear present. 

* TTfxxpdiTsc. Our word " prophecy." It is the thing set 
forth, the alleged or face value of a statement, whether true or 


and truth ' is a very common one. Some men 
were using the name of Christ as a cover or mask 
for personal and selfish ends (Vincent, in loco). 
We are shocked at that statement, and yet we may 
also thank God that He can use such poor preach- 
ing for His glory. God can even bless insincere 
preaching. Even hypocritical preaching, alas, can 
be blessed of God. Somehow God blesses the grain 
of truth that is mixed in with error and bad motives. 
He places no premium upon error or upon pretense. 
But Paul's problem is one of personal adjustment. Is 
he to embitter his own heart because all preachers 
of Christ are not pure ? Far from it. He the rather 
seizes upon the salient point in the situation. Christ 
is preached. This is what matters most. Other things 
are important in varying degrees, but this is primal. 
Paul knows how to put first things first and to keep 
them there. So he takes his stand. " And therein I 
rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." ^ He does not rejoice 
in false preaching, but in the fact that even in such 
preaching Christ is found by souls that hunger after 
Him. Surely we can all rejoice that God does bless 

false. Here the contrast with truth shows the meaning to be 
pretext or pretense. Cf. i Thess. 2:5. 

^ aXriOsia. The word means openness {p. privative and 
kavddvu} to conceal, unconcealed), the very opposite of deceit. 

^ fiai Iv ToOroj ^acpu) aXXa izai ^ap-q<TO! Note the 
affirmative use of aUA here (Robertson, " Grammar of the 
Greek N. T. in the Light of Hist. Research," p. 1185). 
Note also the volitive linear future ^apjau[ia(.. Robertson, 
ibid., p. 889. 


indifferent preaching. Over and above all the clangour 
of contending voices in modern Christendom rises the 
fact of Christ. It is Jesus that saves men from their 
sins. This is the universal note in the eternal Christ. 
We look at Him from different angles and with im- 
perfect eyes and we tell what we see in broken speech, 
sometimes incoherent and contradictory. But, if by 
means of it, men see Jesus, it is worth while. 

7. Christ Magnified in Paul (verses 19 and 20). 

Paul now turns to his own case and declares that 
it matters little what happens to him in Rome. Al- 
ready the imprisonment, as he has shown, has turned 
out for the progress of the Gospel. He is grateful 
for their prayers (" your supplication ") and " for the 
supply' of the spirit of Jesus Christ" (both source 
and gift). Paul's attitude is measured by^ the earnest 
expectation^ and hope that Christ shall be magnified* 
now as always in his body. Whether this is by life or 
death is not material. If Christ is made great in the 
hearts and eyes of men it is a small matter what hap- 

' intyopriyiai;. A word used for the chorus leader who 
furnished entertainments for the chorus. Then for '• supply '* 
in general. Cf. 2 Pet. 1:5, ii. The verb iTzc^ofirjyiiu 
occurs in the papyri. 

'^ /card. 

^ a-KoKapadokiav. A very strong and striking word (cf. 
Rom. 8:19) used for intent watching with head bent or 
stretched in that direction. It occurs in the papyri of the ex- 
pectation of peasants about the visit (jzapouaia) of a high official. 

* (leyaXw/OTJaerai. Made great. 


pens to Paul. Then he shall not be put to shame* 
in anything. Hence Paul knows ^ that his present 
troubles will turn out^ at last for his eternal salva- 
tion,* not merely rescue from imprisonment, for it 
applies (verse 20) both to death and life. He will 
get the spiritual development that God means for 
him to receive from his imprisonment and from the 
personal antagonisms in Rome. It is all one to Paul 
what the future holds in store for him on earth. He 
is sure of the prayers of the Philippians and of the 
presence of the Spirit of Jesus and of the triumph 
of Jesus in his work whether by life or death. So 
he faces the future with calmness whatever doubt as 
to the course of events may exist. As to that Paul 
is not sure of his own mind as he now proceeds to 

* alff)^ovdTJffoiiai. 2 olda. Intuitional conviction. 

^ d7zoj3yj<TeTac. Go ofF at last in this direction. 

* ffujTrjpiav. 


(I : 21-30) 

PAUL'S indifference about his personal incon- 
veniences and his confidence that Christ will 
be magnified in his body whether by life or 
by death (i : 20) raise the whole question of what 
life is and what death is. Every one has to face this 
problem sooner or later. He must have his philosophy 
of life. The Stoics preached apathy as the triumph 
of the reason over the passions. But that cold and 
colourless creed is not for Paul's warm heart. He 
gives us in this paragraph his conception of real life, 
the life worth while. Kabisch,' it is true, affirms that 
with Paul life is simply existence and has no ethical 
quality, an inadequate interpretation of Paul's view in 
my opinion, though in verse 20 the contrast is be- 
tween the present life and death.^ He argues from 
this basis.^ 

I. The Gain of Death (verse 21). 

Life has different senses and different standards. 

' *• Eschatologie des Paulus," p. 134. 
* Cf. Kennedy, in loco. ^ yap in verse 21. 



Paul here announces the principle of life ' so far as he 
is concerned. The personal pronoun has the em- 
phatic place in the sentence.^ It means more than 
in my opinion, but in my case, in my realization of 
life^ (EUicott, in loco). This is what life means to 
me, whatever it means to others. With many life 
means pleasure, sensual indulgence, money, power, 
having one's way, flattery. But with Paul the regu- 
lative principle of life is Christ. Jesus had said that 
He was the life^ (John 1 1 : 25 ; 14 : 6) as well as the 
resurrection, the way, the truth. Jesus is the source 
of power in life in the cosmic sense of energy, in the 
moral sense of truth, in the practical sense of guide, 
and is the origin of spiritual vitality. So Basker- 
ville (" Sidelights on Philippians," p. 25) says that 
*' Christ Jesus must be the origin of life, the essence 
of life, the model of life, the aim of life, the solace 
of life, the reward of life." In Colossians 3 : 4, Paul 
speaks of " Christ our Life." ^ But what Paul here 
affirms is not " Christ is life," but " living is Christ, 
and dying is gain." ^ Paul does say in Galatians 
2 : 20: "It is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth 
in me." ' Christ has taken possession of Paul so 

' TO Zrjv, not TO /Stouv (manner of life). Elsewhere Paul 
has Tu C^y for the process of life (verse 22 ; Rom. 8:12; 
2 Cor. I : 8). ^'Efi<n yap ru Zr^v Xptaro^. 

^ The ethical dative. * >y C^i"?. 

^ Xpt(Tro<s rj f^u)yj 7jiJ.W'^. 

^ This is plain from the use of the article with the infinitive 
and its absence with XpitrTo^ and fiipdo<i. 


completely that Paul has lost his autonomy and will- 
ful independence of Christ. He is the glad slave of 
Christ. He " is crucified with Christ " ' in spiritual 
identity. This is mysticism, but reality, the deepest 
reality of life for Paul, who has been initiated into 
the mystery of Christ (Col. 2 : 2). So then Paul is 
able to say that life with him has come to mean Christ, 
no less and no more. " To go on living " ^ means 
more of Christ, living the " Christ life " in the real 
sense of that term. BengeF has interpreted Paul 
thus : " Whatever I live, I live Christ." I live only 
to serve Christ and have no conception of life apart 
from Christ (Lightfoot). Christ occupies the whole 
of my life. I have no secrets apart from Him. I 
have no locked doors to keep Him out of any part 
of my life. Christ has full possession of myself. 
Paul's life is not on the bulk-head principle (Hutton). 
In a word, Paul leads a surrendered life and finds 
the utmost peace and power in it. It is the victo- 
rious life in the truest sense. Mere existence is not 
real life for Paul. He is not just marking time. 
Christ covers the entire horizon for Paul, the whole 
circumference of his interests. Christ fills all of 
Paul's eye. Christ is his all and in all. But then 
what about death ? Simply more of Christ. That 
is all. " To die is gain." The word here for " gain"* 

* XpiffTuj (TuvstTTahfiwtxat. 

"^ TO Cv'' Tpresent and durative). 

* Quicquid vivo, Christum vivo. * Kip8o^, 


is used for interest, gains, profits. All that death ' 
can do for Paul is to give him more of Christ. It will 
be like cashing in the principal and the interest. Then 
he will gain all of Christ. It is this idea that he has 
in mind in Philippians 3 : 8 when he speaks of " gain- 
ing Christ." ^ Paul feels like an eagle in a cage. 
Death will be his liberation from the limitations 
of the flesh. Death has no terrors for Paul (cf. Heb. 
2 : 15). He looks upon death as a friend in disguise, 
the door to complete and glorious union with Christ. 
So then Paul is ready for death, but is not dissatisfied 
with Hfe here. 

2. The Quandary About Life (verses 21-24). 

Paul faces life or death with equanimity. He is 
ready for either. He has shown that for him death 
means fuller and richer hfe in gaining Christ. But 
he is not discontented to live on in the flesh if that is 
the will of God, He adds " in the flesh " here be- 
cause he has used " life " about death. Lightfoot 
quotes " the sublime guess " of Euripides : ^ " Who 
knows if living is indeed dying, while dying is liv- 
ing." The comic poets ridiculed this saying of 
Euripides, but Christians have found it to be the 
truth in Christ. Verse 22 is capable of several trans- 
lations. The most natural one is this : " But if life 

^ TO drnOavelv here is the act of dying (aorist), not the 
process (present). ^ Zva Xpibrov KepSi^aw. 

^ Ti<i dldsv e\ to ^rjv [liv iffTv Kaxdavt'iv to KorOavtlv de ^rjv. 


in the flesh (be my lot), this ' (means) for me fruit 
of work." la this translation, the copula has to be 
supplied in both clauses ; but this is no more difficult 
than to repeat the " if" with a dash after " flesh " or 
to make a question out of the first clause.^ He is 
sure that if he is to live on in the flesh, it means that 
Christ has " fruit of work " ^ for him, a beautiful 
phrase. Hence he does not complain in spite of the 
attractiveness of death for him with the glory of 
Jesus beckoning him on. So Paul goes on : " And 
(in that case, fruit of work in life in the flesh) what I 
shall choose I know not." * There would be not a 
moment's hesitation with Paul if it were clear to him 
that his work was done. Just to eke out a useless 
existence has no charm for him. He does not wish 
to be like a fruit tree that no longer bears and only 
cumbers the ground. He has no desire to be laid on 
the shelf, to be past the dead-line in the ministry. 
Paul had no friends to take care of his old age. One 
of the saddest of all spectacles is the sight of an old 
minister whom no one wishes to hear preach and who 
is no longer able to support himself.' So then Paul 

' -oorn here then refers to ro ^t^v. 

^ See Kennedy, Lightfoot, Vincent. 

^ /cap7ru<i epyoo. The very phrase occurs in Ps. 103 

(104)- 13- _ 

* A'ui zi atnyjfT(> ou yvMpi'^w. 

^ It is gratifying to note the efforts in the United States to 

raise adequate endowment funds to care for the aged servants 

of Christ who need help. They should be pensioned like old 



declines to commit himself in case there is still work 
for him to do. " I do not say." ' But Paul has no 
hesitation in declaring his personal preference for 
death since that means the riches in Christ. But it 
seems clear to him that there is work for him yet and 
so he is " in a strait betwixt the two," ^ life and death. 
Once elsewhere (2 Cor. 5 : 14) Paul uses this verb of 
the love of Christ that " constrains " him, holds him 
together. He is in a vise between these two con- 
ceptions. He is caught on the two horns of this 
dilemma. He has " the desire," the real longing of 
his soul, " to depart and be with Christ," to loosen 
his ship from her moorings and put out to sea on 
" the Great Adventure " of death which fascinates 
Paul, not by its uncertainty, but by the certainty of 
being with Jesus. He is not abashed by the thought 
that no traveller has ever returned from the other 
shore. He does not wish to return, but to go and to 
stay with Jesus. That will be glory for Paul. One 
may note here that Paul speaks as if he expected to 
be with Jesus at death without an interval. The 
word " depart " ^ was variously used, for a ship's de- 
parture, for breaking up camp, and for death. Paul 

^ 00 yvtopiZu). The ancient meaning was I do not perceive, 
but in the New Testament it is as above (declare or say). In 
the papyri it is common in the sense of " recognize " or 
" identify." (Cf. Moulton and Milligan, " Vocabulary," etc.) 

^ (juviy^0[iai 8k iA: riuv dun. 

^ avaXbaai (loosen up). The intransitive sense of depart is 
common in Polybius and the papyri (Moulton and Milligan, 
" Vocabulary," etc.). 


himself uses a similar word ' for death under the figure 
of breaking up camp or striking a tent (2 Cor. 5 : i). 
And in 2 Tim. 4: 6 he speaks of his own death again 
with the same word ^ as here. Paul is willing to make 
an end of his tent life in the flesh, a stranger and a 
pilgrim on the earth like Abraham (Heb. 11:13). 
His Promised Land is beyond Jordan where Jesus is. 
He feels sure that for him this " is very far better," 
piling up comparatives,^ a triple superiority, to ex- 
press the intensity of his feeling on the subject. But 
Paul does not take a selfish view of his life. He is 
willing to " abide by the flesh " * since it is " more 
necessary for you," ^ After all this is one of the chief 
joys of life to know that your life is necessary or 
useful for that of some one else. There is the pang 
of parting from loved ones here, the sorrow of leav- 
ing others without one's help, the shock of an incom- 
pleted task. So then Paul faces his work with joy, 
only he would have more joy to go to be with Jesus. 
But the hero is no shirker. He has kept to his task 
even though a prisoner for these five years. 

^ /iaTaXuOrj. 

"^ avaXv(Tc(i)? (cf. our analysis). 

^ TToU^ yap fiaXXov kptl(SGov. This doubling or trebling 
{TzoXXif) of comparison is common enough in the /iinvrj. Cf. 
Robertson, " Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the 
Light of Historical Research," pp. 663 f. 

* Tu inip-i'^siv So T^ ffapA't. So it is to be rendered rather 
than " in the flesh." 

^ dvay/zacSrepoy di" u/jia?. Comparative again, a sort of 
momentum from the first clause. 


3. The Reason for Longer Life (verses 25 f.). 

Paul has no desire for longer life just to be alive, 
hanging on to the ragged edge of existence. To be 
sure, he does not advocate suicide. The matter is in 
God's hands and he v^ould not have it otherwise. 
Old people can be very happy and very useful. If 
they become a problem, it is partly because they take a 
morose view of things. Even the sick bring a bless- 
ing, often just because they are sick and suffering. 
Robert Hall and Charles H. Spurgeon are instances 
of ministers who turned physical suffering to glorious 
gain. The same thing is true of Adele Kamm, the 
wonderful invalid girl whose life blessed so many. 
Paul was already doing that very thing while a 
prisoner. Paul is not here claiming prophetic in- 
sight into the course of his career. He is confident ' 
of this very hope of being useful to the Philippians. 
He uses the same word again in 2 : 24 about his 
plans. In Acts 20 : 25 Paul speaks of a presenti- 
ment ^ about not seeing the elders of Ephesus again, 
which apparently was not fulfilled (i Tim. 1:3; 
2 Tim. 1:15, 18; 4:20). But his personal con- 
viction about seeing the Philippians again seems to 
have come true (i Tim. i : 3). He plays on the 
Greek verb as he loves to do with words. It is all a 
mistake to think that such plays or puns are simply 
funny or idle conceits. " I know that I shall bide 

^ rouTo Tt£-oi0(b?. State of assurance. 
' olda. His intellectual conviction. 


and abide with you all." ' The second word ^ has 
in the later Greek the notion of remaining alive. So 
Paul expects to remain alive and to be with the 
Philippians again by God's favour " for your prog- 
ress and joy in the faith." ^ He had spoken of •' the 
progress of the Gospel" (i : 12) in Rome in spite 
of his imprisonment, in fact largely because of it. 
Now he I oes the same word about the progress of 
the Phihppians. Joy will go along with progress in 
the faith It is eminently worth while to see people 
make progress in the faith and to find joy in the faith. 
The preacher who sees people grow under his min- 
istry has his reward here and now. So the people 
love to see the preacher grow in his insight and 
grasp of spiritual truth. There is joy, mutual joy, 
because of mutual progress, joy pari passu with the 
progress. Paul strikes again the triumphant vic- 
torious note in his message to the Philippians. 
There is no " hark-from-the-tomb religion " for him. 

' [i£vu) nai Tzapaij.evu) natno vfilv. The first verb is abso- 
lute (for life), the second is relative and particular with the 
dative, by the side of you all. Cf. Plato's Phsdrus 1150 
nn/iirt vfilv napaiiv^w. The word is in common use for 
" serve " as an apprentice or sla\'e-boy (Moulton and Milli- 
gan, " Lexical Notes in Papyri," Expositor, Sept. 19 10). For 
other word-plays by Paul see 2 Thess. 3:11; Rom. i : 20 ; 
5:19; 2 Cor. 4:8; 5:4. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar of 
the Greek New Testament," etc., pp. izoof. 

'^ Tzapaiisvu). Cf. Schmid, " Atticismus," I, p. 132. 

^ £^9 TTjv Vfimv TTpii/io-jzijv A:at ^apdv r>*? zi^TEcug. The one 
article goes with both substantives as in 2 Pet. I : i and i : il. 
Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," etc., p. 785. 


The Christian ought to be the happiest man alive, 
full of spiritual ecstasy and rapture. Joy is more 
than Epicurean sensualism. Baskerville quotes the 
Yorkshireman who found so great joy in his religion 
that he had " A happy Monday. A blessed Tues- 
day. A joyful Wednesday. A delightful Thursday. 
A good Friday. A glorious Saturday. A heavenly 
Sunday." Indeed, Paul wishes that the^r " glory= 
ing " ' may literally overflow ^ all bounds, provided it 
is in Christ' (because of Christ primarily .»Aid under 
the control of Christ, in the sphere of Christ). If 
people have enough occasion to shout aloud their 
joy, let them do it. Let the redeemed of the 
Lord say so. Sing aloud the praises of our God, 
The Philippians will have, so Paul hopes, a special 
occasion of joy in his case^ "through my pres- 
ence^ with you again." He lives to serve and to 
give joy to others. That is his joy. Paul, like his 
Master, came not to be ministered unto, but to min- 
ister. He is not a minister who has to be " molly- 
coddled," but a virile spirit radiating life and joy to 
all about him. The key-word to Paul's life is pre- 
cisely the notion of service. There is no harm in a 
spiritual flood if it does not get beyond the sphere 
of Jesus Christ. 

' Kaii-piixa ground of boasting. 
^ TzeptffneuTj. All around and over. 

' iv XpiiTTU) ^l-qaoX). ■* iv ifxa). 

^ dtd TTJ's k/i^<s TTapnuffia'i. Common in this sense of coming 
in the papyri. Cf. the Parousia of Christ. 


4. The Christian as a Citizen (verses 27 f.). 

Paul's coming to them cannot do it all. They 
must do their part if his coming is to be of any value 
to them. So he conditions ^ his hope of helping by 
a striking clause : " Only be citizens of the Christian 
commonwealth in a manner worthy of the Gospel 
of Christ." The Authorized Version preserves a 
curious mark of the inevitable change in words dur- 
ing the centuries for it has : " Only let your conver- 
sation, etc." In modern EngHsh " conversation " is 
confined to talk, whereas in old English it signified 
manner of Hfe according to its etymology .^ Chris- 
tian conversation now means Christian talk. But the 
Revised Version has *' manner of life " which is the 
old idea in " conversation." The Greek, however, 
has a more precise idea than that and gives the pic- 
ture of a city-state or commonwealth, from which 
we get our words politic, political, polite.^ Paul 
uses the word once also of his life in good conscience 
before God.* The Stoics had familiarized the public 

^ See a similar use of ixovov in 1 Cor. 7 : 39 ; Gal. 2 : 10; 
2 Thess. 2 : 7. 

^ Conversatio from cotiverso to turn round, then conversor to 
turn oneself, to live. 

^ ToXiTzuiaOt. Act your part as citizens. From TtoXirrjg 
citizen, and that from 7r«Ajf city. Cf. Fowler, *' The City- 
State of the Greeks and Romans" (1895); Coulanges, "The 
Ancient City" (1916). Cf. roXireuna in Phil. 3:20. Jo- 
sephus (" Life," § 2) says -/jp^dfiriv izoXirtdtaOai rfj tpapcffattuv 
alpiaei fcarakoXouOihv. The Pharisees were both a political 
and a religious party. 

^ TztnoXireuiiai (Acts 23 : 1). 


with the idea of a world-wide state (Lightfoot on 
Phil., pp. 270 ff.). " Stoic philosophy had leavened 
the moral vocabulary of the civilized world " (Vin- 
cent, in loco). The life of Paul in Rome had made 
him think afresh of the great Roman Empire and he 
himself was a Roman citizen (Acts 22 : 28) by birth 
and was proud of it. From the great center of the 
Roman world he would naturally think of Christian- 
ity in Roman terms as Jesus so often spoke of the 
kingdom ' of God, a Jewish conception. But the 
Philippians themselves lived in a city that was a 
Roman colony and so were perfectly familiar with 
the rights and dignity of Roman citizenship. Clem- 
ent of Rome also {ad Cor, iii, xxi, liv) shows how 
Christians owe obligations to a spiritual polity as 
citizens do to the state. Christians are to live 
worthily^ of the Gospel of Christ. This is the 
standard. They are " no more strangers and so- 
journers," but " fellow-citizens ^ with the saints " 
(Eph. 2 : 19). One of the great lessons for to-day is 
just this matter of Christian citizenship. The age- 
long conflict between church and state has caused 
such a reaction that too many Christians fail to bring 

^ ^affiXtia from ^atrtXeug. 

' d^iw<i. Cf. Inscr. of Pergamum in 2 cent. a. d. Bd. ii, 
p. 496, for d^ccjg T^9 TToAettf?. Deissmann (** Bible Studies," 
pp. 248 f.) gives five examples of inscriptions from Pergamum 
with this use of dft'tu? with the genitive. So a priest of Dionysus 
is praised as (To[i/]rer£A£>toT09 ra lepd dc w? tou deou. 

* auvitokiTai zmv d/iwv. 


their consciences and their votes to bear upon the 
problem of civil government. The divorce between 
church and state has been entirely too complete. 
Churches have no right as organizations to infringe 
upon the prerogatives of the state. But after all the 
Christian citizen is still a citizen and must not forget 
that when he takes a hand, as he must, in civic affairs. 
A new conscience has come to our citizens who are 
no longer willing for the laws to be made and to be 
executed by men who make a specialty of placing 
their own interests above the public welfare and who 
ruthlessly sacrifice ethical ideals to carry their point. 
This new conscience in American business and po- 
litical life is doing away with many old abuses that 
flourished because Christians were not worthy citi- 
zens. Child labour, white slavery, the liquor traffic, 
the sweat shop, bribery in elections, the city boss are 
just a few of the evils that must disappear before the 
concerted effort of Christian citizens. The party em- 
blem must not be more sacred than the Gospel of 
Christ. The Christian has at least as much right in 
city politics as the ward politician or the dive-keeper. 
The time has come for Christians to clean up the 
cities of the country and to keep them clean. The 
day will come when the modern city will be a safe 
place for women and children to live in. As it is, 
the city streets are the last place on earth for our 
boys and girls as Miss Jane Addams has so well 
shown. It is not good citizenship when money is 


ground out of the pinched faces of the children and 
out of the souls and bodies of helpless girls. A 
citizenship worthy of the Gospel of Christ cannot be 
indifferent to the social ills in the body politic. 

Paul is not sure when he can come, but he is 
anxious for unity and cooperation on their part in 
their life together in the Christian Commonwealth in 
Philippi. But his purpose ' is that, whether he comes 
and sees them or only hears in his absence^ about 
them, it may be true that they stand together in one 
spirit.' It is a great deal to be able to stand when 
under attack and sometimes it is very hard to do so, 
especially when others run away. They must stand 
fast like the famous Macedonian phalanx. Paul 
made fine use of the military figure of standing one's 
ground against the hosts of evil in Ephesians 6 : 1 3 ff. 
Team work in the games is absolutely essential. It 
I is so to-day in baseball or football. It was so in the 
ancient games. Paul knew the spirit of the athletic 
games and makes frequent use of metaphors from 
them. He had probably seen the games in the 
Greek stadium (cf. Phil. 3 : 14). In i Cor. 4:9 he 
speaks of himself as a ♦• spectacle " ^ to the world. 
In 2 Tim. 2 : 5 Paul speaks of contending ' in the 

^ This sentence is not evenly balanced in the Greek. One 
would expect drcoum to be d-kobiov like i8wv. 

^ nveufiart (spirit) in contrast to (/'U)(tj (soul) just below. 
But the words are sometimes interchanged. 

* diarpov. ^ d.6X^ vo[ii[xw<s. 


games according to the rules. Here he uses the 
compound verb ' as in Phil. 4:3. It is the esprit du 
corps or camaraderie of college boys in the games or 
of soldiers in battle. There should be church spirit 
in every local church that binds all together in Christ 
" for the faith of the Gospel" (of. Jude 3 " contend 
earnestly ^ for the faith once delivered to the saints "). 
In particular, those who thus strive in concert for 
the advance of the faith of the Gospel, the new rule 
of life, must not be frightened by the adversaries. 
The word here for frightened ' means to be startled 
like a scared horse or fluttered like a surprised bird. 
War horses will stand the booming of cannon and 
the bursting of shells at their feet. Some Christians 
are like scared rabbits. They jump and run at the 
first adversary ^ who says " Boo ! " They have no 
more courage than grasshoppers and shy at every 
shadow. They have to be nursed and coddled if 
they do their ordinary duty as Christians and church 
members. Panic is the worst sort of defeat. It is 
rout. This^ refusal to be fluttered is proofs to the 
adversaries of their eternal destruction^ and of your 
eternal salvation.^ And this proof comes from God. 

^ ouvaOXouvreq. Acting as athletes in concert. 

"^ iTtayiuvi^eaOai. Another athletic word from dywv contest. 

^ TZTupoixtvoi. Cf. Diod. Sic. XVII, 34, 6. 

* d.vri(i£iiJ.£vo<s. Lined up against, face to face opposition. 

* ^Tt?. Explanatory relative. 

* evdet^tg. Attic law term. 

.' dTicjXeta^. ^ autxTipia^. 


The signal of life or death comes from God, not from 
the fickle crowd at a gladiatorial show. 

5. The Gift of Suffering (verses 29 f.). 

The " proof" of God's love, of which Paul spoke in 
verse 28, is seen * precisely in the fact that the Phi- 
lippians have been honoured by God with the gift 
of suffering. This sentence is quite broken and 
Westcott and Hort have tried to mend it by a 
parenthesis, but the punctuation of the Revised Ver- 
sion is clear enough.^ The Philippians not only have 
the gift' of faith in Christ, but also of suffering in His 
behalf. This is one of the great paradoxes of God's 
love. In Isaiah 48 : 10 note : " I have chosen thee 
in the furnace of affliction." The Servant of Jehovah 
was to be " a man of sorrows and acquainted with 
grief" (Isaiah 53:3). The Captain of our salvation 
was made perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2 : 10). 
Jesus suffered as we do and is able to sympathize 
with us and to help us because of His experiences in 
the flesh (Heb. 2 : 17 f. ; 4 : 1 5 f.). The fellowship with 

^ oTc. Because. 

* There are here two instances of the broken structure. One 
is the suspension of the clause after ru OTzkp Xptarou which is 
left without an infinitive, and the addition of 00 [lovov to 
■Kiffreueiv which necessitates dXXd /iai and the repetition of t^ 
before TAay_s.i.\i. Paul was no stylist when his passion surged 
over all grammatical bounds (cf. Rom. 4 : 16), but his mean- 
ing is clear. The other instance is the nominative e^ovre? 
after viiiv. This is again a common idiom with Paul. See 
Robertson, " Grammar," etc., pp. izpf., 439 f. 

^ kyi^apiaOfi. Aorist tense, but they still have the gift. 


the sufferings of Christ is a favourite idea with Paul 
(cf. 2 Thess. 1:5; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2 : 12). In 
Colossians I : 24 he even speaks of " filHng up in 
his turn " ' the sufferings left over by Christ. Paul 
already had the stake ^ in the flesh which was given' 
to him to keep him humble (2 Cor. 12: 7 f.). The 
Philippians had seen ^ Paul suffer as a prisoner while 
with them (Acts 16 : 23 " many stripes." Cf. i Thess. 
2 : 2), Now they hear ^ of his sufferings in Rome as 
a prisoner. At last it has come their turn to undergo 
like^ sufferings themselves. It is their time to strive 
in the arena as Christian gladiators in the same con- 
flict.^ He uses the common word (cf. Col. 2 : i ; 
I Tim. 6: 12; Heb. 12:1) for athletic contests (our 
" agony," " agonize "). The lesson of suffering as a 
chastisement is one that is learned by experience. 
Happy is he who learns the Father's hand in the 
stroke of love (cf. Heb. 12:4-13). Some Christians 
do not learn it and grow bitter instead of sweet. 
They are not worthy of the high privilege of suffering 
for Jesus' sake. The ministry of suffering is one of 
the blessings of life. It equips us for service in a way 
that nothing else does or can. Preachers are enriched 
who themselves drink this cup. Their sympathy is 

' dvTava7:XT)pu>. Note both prepositions avd (up to the 
brim) and dvTj, in Paul's term. 

^ (TnoXn4>, * idoOt], * eTdere. 

* aiiomzt iv liwi. ® tov abrov — o\ov. 

' ayiova. Cf. I Thess. 2 : 2. Paul thus uses the same 
word about his experiences. 


no longer perfunctory. They know by experience 
what it is to suffer. So the Philippians are now 
quahfied by this new bond of sympathy to under- 
stand Paul as they have never done before. " Blessed 
are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake." 


" -m yrAKE full my joy" Paul pleads. His 
l^/l cup is not full to the brim. It is not 
•1- ▼ J- running over with bubbling joy. The 
Philippians had begun well and were doing well on 
the whole, but Paul was not satisfied with their at- 
tainment. He had a holy dissatisfaction about them 
as shown in his prayer in I : 9 ff. He longed for 
them all to see the possibilities of growth in Christ 
and to be shaken out of a pious complacency. And 
then there were already signs of strife in the church 
at Philippi. Rumours of this contention had come 
to Paul's ears probably through Epaphroditus. Paul 
reveals concern in this whole paragraph, in his plea 
with Euodia and Syntyche (4 : 2), in his words about 
moderation (4 : 5) and the peace of God (4 : 7). He 
had just made a fervent exhortation for unity of ef- 
fort and courage in the face of adversaries (i : 27 1.). 
Paul refers now to this appeal by the use of " there- 
fore," ^ skipping the digression in I : 29 f. He takes 

^ Ouv. Argumentative here, not transitional. Cf. Robert- 
son, " Grammar," pp. 1 191 f. 



up again and presses the exhortation to unity in 
order to fill up his cup of joy. 

I. The Grounds of the Appeal (2 : i). 

There are four grounds given here by Paul for his 
plea for unity. He puts his grounds in the form of 
conditional clauses, but he assumes in each instance 
that the condition is true.' This " if " is simply a 
rhetorical device to get a grip on their attention. 
He places in the form of hypothesis their funda- 
mental experiences of grace in Christ. •' The rapid 
succession and variety of the appeals and the repe- 
tition of * if any ' are peculiarly impressive " (Vincent, 
in loco). The first ground of Paul's appeal is the 
«' stimulus in Christ " (Moffatt). " If there is any 
power of exhortation in your connection with and 
experiences in Christ."^ The Latin vulgate has 
consolatioy but exhortation (cf. Rom. 12:8; Titus 
2 : 1 5),^ not comfort (2 Cor. 1:3; 7 : 4), is the real 
idea. There is comfort in Christ beyond a doubt, all 
the real comfort of life, for God is the God of all 
comfort (2 Cor. i : 3) in Christ Jesus (i : 5). " There 
is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother " 

^The condition here is that of the first class, tl with the in- 
dicative, though the predicate is not expressed. See Robert- 
son, "Grammar," pp. 1007-1012. Cf. Virgil, Aen. i. 603 
for similar rhetorical form {si qua, si quid'). 

^ el' T£9 TtapdKXrjfft^ iv Xptaru). 

^ napd/cXyjcri^ (from napa — /calico, to call to one's side) 
means " exhortation " first, then *' comfort." Cf. double 
meaning o( napdklrjro'^ (Paraclete). 


(Prov. 18:24). "The Lord will even light my 
candle" (Ps. 18:28). But that is not the idea of 
Paul here. Jesus is both Advocate and Comforter, 
but here He is presented by Paul as the Advocate 
who pleads the cause of God to the Philippians. 
The whole case of Christ, His Person and His Work 
and in particular the experience of the Philippians is 
here offered for consideration. " If your life in 
Christ, your knowledge of Christ, speaks to your 
hearts with a persuasive eloquence " (Lightfoot). 
Paul's mystic phrase " in Christ " which he uses so 
often here has all the rich content that he can pour 
into it. Let Christ speak to you in the hush of your 
own hearts. I have seen a physician try to find a 
response to all sorts of stimuli in a victim of apo- 
plexy. He used needles, he touched the ball of the 
foot, he used every known physiological device to 
find signs of life. If Christ makes no appeal to the 
professed Christian, he is not " in Christ." He is 
out of contact with Christ. He is spiritually dead. 
If one's own hfe in Christ does not stimulate the soul 
to the noblest effort, it is useless to go on with the 
appeal. Response to stimuli is the sign of life. The 
absence of it is the proof of death. 

The second ground of Paul's appeal is the " in- 
centive of love." Here again the word means en- 
couragement, not consolation, though the Vulgate 
has solatmm caritatis. Paul uses the two words side 
by side also in i Thessalonians 2 : 1 1. The idea is the 


tender persuasiveness of love. If love has any power 
by its tenderness to stir your hearts, then listen to 
me. It is the incentive that springs from love. He 
does not define whose " love " he has in mind and 
probably leaves it vague on purpose. He may be 
thinking of his own love for the Philippians, but he 
may also be presenting to their contemplation Christ's 
love for them. " Love makes the world go round," 
Love spurs to one last endeavour. Dr. John A. 
Broadus used to close his last lecture to the class in 
Homiletics in the Southern Baptist Theological 
Seminary with a plea for the young ministers to do 
their very best for Jesus* sake. And then, with tears 
in his eyes and in the eyes of his pupils, he begged 
that they would do just a bit better for their old 
teacher's sake. A man who is deaf to love is deaf 
indeed, deaf to the love of mother, of father, of wife, 
of child, of Jesus, of God the Father. Love of man 
may let us go, but not the love of God. We can all 
understand George Matheson's " Oh, love that will 
not let me go," the deathless love of Jesus. 

The third ground of appeal is the participation in 
the Holy Spirit. " If fellowship in the Spirit is a 
reality," Paul means. It is a phrase that meant a 
great deal for Paul (cf. 2 Cor. 13 : 13 ; Rom. 15 : 30). 
People use it glibly and without meaning. The 
Holy Spirit is very vague to many Christians who 
refer to the Third Person in the Godhead by " it." 
The Greek used grammatical gender which has no 


bearing in English.* The word here for " fellow- 
ship"'^ we have had already (i : 5) and means par- 
ticipation or partnership. If we have any part- 
nership in the life and blessings of the Holy Spirit, 
then we are ready to listen to Paul's plea for unity. 
The Holy Spirit is the unifying principle in the local 
church (cf. I Cor. 12:4-11). He alone can bring 
order out of chaos and preserve harmony in the body 
of Christ. Unless the Holy Spirit rules, there is 
mere excitement and confusion (i Cor. 14). In- 
stance to-day the " Holy Rollers " and other fanatics. 
Without the Holy Spirit there is no life and no 

The fourth ground of appeal is compassion in the 
heart. Paul uses two words here. One is the seat 
or organ of the compassion (" tender mercies " ^), the 
other is the pity itself (" compassion " ^). My phy- 
sician, the late Dr. J. B. Marvin, a brilliant scientist 
and earnest Christian, used often to speak of the 

' Tvevfxa is grammatically neuter. But in John 1 4 : 26 iKslvo^ 
skips over Tzveufxa o to T.apdkXriro<i, The Holy Spirit is a 
person and we should say " He." 

* koivwvia. 

^ffTtXayyva. The organ of the higher viscera (the heart, the 
stomach, etc.). 

^ o\/iTipiJ.oL In Col. 3: 12 Paul combines them (77:Aa^;fva 
ol/zTipiwT) as the Vulgate does here viscera miser atmiis. 
There is a difficulty in the Greek text {t1 zi? ffTzXdyxva) that 
has various explanations. Paul may have written et ri in all 
four clauses, the rt. being in the predicate in each instance. 
T£? here may be a scribal error due to the a in the next word. 
There is an early error undoubtedly. 


" stomach-brain " in justification of this ancient 
idiom, a sort of sensitive plate in the stomach that 
corresponded to the brain. If you have a heart and 
if your heart has any compassion, Hsten to me, says 
Paul. If you love me at all, hear me. Could they 
resist that plea ? 

2. The Nature of the Plea (2 : 2). 

Paul's cup of joy will indeed be full if the Philip- 
pians respond to his fourfold appeal. There is, for- 
sooth, real joy in having our own wdcy, but that is not 
Paul's feeling. His word here for " make full " is the 
original meaning of the word' so often translated 
" fulfill." John the Baptist uses the word about his 
joy in the joy of Jesus the Bridegroom : " This my 
joy therefore^ is made full " (John 3 : 29).^ The sub- 
stance or purport ' of Paul's plea is that the Philip- 
pians exhibit the unity of the spirit of which he 
spoke in I : 27 f. Paul cannot rest content while the 
spirit of faction exists in this generous, glorious 
church at Philippi. He uses " the tautology of 
earnestness " (Vaughan), but it is not quite " hyper- 
critical " to see some distinction in the expressions 
employed to emphasize unity. 

There is first the unity of thought (" think the 

* -KX-qpuxTaTe, 

^ aoTfj ()7>v i] y^apa ^ Ifvri izzTzlrjpoiTat. 
' ?va here is not final, but sub-final. Cf. Robertson, 
" Grammar," pp. 991-994. 


same thing " '), even identity of thought (" of one 
mind," " thinking the one thing " 2). Surely this is 
not an easy thing to do, especially where people 
have active minds and independent spirits. It is 
only true where minds are in tune that two minds 
think as one. Then one will say : " I was just 
thinking," and both say the same thing at once. 
There is something in telepathy when mind answers 
to mind like wireless telegraphy with transmitter 
and receiver. To be sure, one can be acquiescent 
without thinking and parrot-like repeat what he 
hears. This is a mechanical echo and not real har- 
mony of thought from conviction and sympathy. 
There should be also unison of affection, " having 
the same love." ^ We have the phrase " two hearts 
that beat as one." If this were true, preachers would 
remain longer in their pastorates, churches would be 
more fruitful in good works, there would be fewer 
losses in the membership. 

There should be also harmony of feeling, " of one 
accord." ^ A common disposition will ensue where 
there is unity of thought and of affection. Our word 

* TO aoTo (ppovTJTE. Dcissmann (" Bible Studies," p. 256) 
quotes an inscription of Rhodes of 2 cent. b. c. which has 
Tfwrd Xiyovreg raora (ppovouvreg i^}.0n/i£v used of a married 

'' TO |y <ppnv()uvT£<f. Sometimes both constructions occur 
together. Cf. Aristides c/e Cone. Rhod., p. 569 IV /?«! rabTov 
<ppovoovT£^, Polybius V. 104, X-yovre? sv nai tuvto. 

* ri/V auTTjv dyaTzrjv eyovT£<;. 

* ffuv<puyot. Soul with soul. 


accord (heart to heart, ad -|- cor) suggests two hearts 
in perfect key, a symphony of the spirit. Certainly 
there would be fewer divorces if husband and wife 
never got out of tune. There is a music of the 
spheres. The same note will respond when in key 
with another instrument. If one note is struck, the 
one in key answers to it. Everything has its note. 
The whole church is a choir and must be kept in 
tune. Musical natures are sensitive and high strung 
and readily get out of tune. But, if each one of us 
keeps his life in tune with God, " in tune with the 
Infinite," it will not be impossible to get in tune with 
each other.' The discord will all be lost in the 
glorious orchestra that blends in common praise to 
God. Such a church will have variety in plenty, but 
it will be the variety of concord, not jarring notes out 
of tune with the rest. 

3. The Preeminent Social Grace (2 : 3 f.). 

What is it ? Elegance of manners ? The gift of 
saying agreeable things ? Courtesy ? These are all 
worth while and courtesy comes very close to Paul's 
idea of humility, if it is courtesy of the heart and not 
of the mere occasion or fashion. " Paul's ethic is 
at least as much a social as an individual ethic." ^ 
Church life is a social fact and humility is a prime 
factor in it. Egotism and party spirit destroy the 

^ Holtzmann, " N. T. Theol," ii., p. 162. 


unity essential to healthy church life. The antidote 
to these evils is humility. It is absolutely essential 
to social harmony. The egotist is a bore in any 
circle. The partisan is tiresome to all save his circle. 
Egotism and partisan pride seem to be the chief perils 
to the Philippian church.* The Jewish element had 
the pride of privilege, the Gentile element the pride 
of culture. The Pharisee was an egotist and a parti- 
san by inheritance of seclusive virtue and grace. The 
cultured Greek or the oriental Gnostic had a profound 
sense of his own superiority over the outside bar- 
barians. So Paul attacks earnestly the sins that lie 
in the way of spiritual unity in Phihppi. Humility 
is essential to concord in the church. 

There is no participle in the first clause in verse 3, 
but we need only repeat the last one in verse 2, 
" thinking 2 nothing by way of ^ faction or vainglory." 
The word for " faction " ^ Paul has used already (l : 17) 
of a party in Rome that loved to trouble him. He is 
reluctant to see that spirit break out in Phihppi. Per- 
haps already the church members are beginning to 
take sides in the dispute between Euodia and Synty- 
che. There is danger of a conflagration if the fire is 
not stamped out at once. Vainglory' is emptiness 

' Vincent, in loco. ^ <ppovoovTe^. 

^ Hard. The standard of measure. Cf. Robertson, 
" Grammar," pp. 608 f. * IpiOia. 

^ /ievodo^ia. See Gal. 5 : 26 for /cevodo^ot where envy is 
also mentioned, Ignatius (^Magn. XI.) has uykiaTpa r^y 
/ievudu^ia£. The Vulgate has itianem gloriam. 


of ideas. The man who is puffed up with conceit is 
regarded as empty headed. Censoriousness and con- 
ceit are the marks of the zealous braggart whose loud 
protestations do not conceal his poverty of ideas. 
Vanity (from vanus) means emptiness. Moody has 
a good word here : " Strife is knocking another down 
— vainglory is setting oneself up." 

The antidote is humility. " But in lowliness of 
mind," ' Paul says. This word is very common in 
the New Testament, but does not appear earlier, 
though it may turn up in the papyri of an earlier 
date any time. Plutarch has an adjective ^ kin to it. 
Epictetus^ uses the very word, but in the ancient 
sense of meanness of spirit : " Where is there still 
room for flattery, for meanness?" The ancients 
meant abjectness of spirit or a grovelling condition 
or rank self-abasement by the adjective. Plato and 
the Platonists do sometimes use it for submission to 
the divine order or modesty of attitude, a preparation 
for the use of the word by Christ. Jesus raised 
humility to the rank of a grace and spoke of Him- 
self as " lowly " (Matt. 1 1 : 29) and often praised the 
humble and condemned the proud and self-seeking. 

' T^ zaizeivoippoauvrj. For the case cf. Robertson, ** Gram- 
mar," p. 530. 

^ raiztvjofpui'j. Cf, Deissmann, " Light From the Ancient 
East," p. 72, n. 3. 

* Bk. Ill, ch. xxiv, § 56 Tzoo k'rt /zokaAreia? totto?, ttoD 
ra7zevjo(ppo(TvvT)<s] see frequent use of Tanet'^6^ by Epictetus 
quoted by Sharp, " Epictetus and the New Testament," pp. 


He made " low " mean ** lowly " and gave dignity to 
this despised word. Once Paul (Col. 2: i8) uses the 
word for " mock humility," an echo of the ancient 
usage. The word has played a large part in Chris- 
tian ethics.' Absolute humihty we learn at the feet 
of Jesus before God. Relative humility we practice 
towards each other. It is the crowning social grace 
and is Christian in origin and spirit. 

" Each counting other better than himself." ^ This 
is a very astonishing clause, to be sure, from the 
standpoint of the natural man. Paul has the same 
idea in Romans 12: lo "in honour preferring one 
another."^ It is the dehberate estimate and prefer- 
ence of others, not a momentary impulse of polite- 
ness. I have heard Paul's principle here pointedly 
challenged by a Christian minister as making too 
great a demand on one's self-esteem. But there is 
no doubt at all as to the meaning of Paul and that he 
is in harmony with the teaching of Jesus on the sub- 
ject. It is difficult to practise this Christian chivalry 
to women, to aged men, to ministers for Christ's 
sake, to all men for humanity's sake. Deference is a 
beautiful word and the absence of it in the family is 
" pig manners," every one for himself. A girl at 
school surprised her friends by a motto on the wall 
of her room which read: " I am willing to be third." 

' Cf. Neander, " Planting of Christianity," I, p. 483. 
' T^ Tt/xfj dXXyjXoug TCfxiTjj'ou/ievoi, 


God was first with her, others second, self third. 
That is the spirit of Christ. This is the secret of the 
hfe of WilHam Booth. Once, when he was unable to 
come to a meeting in New York, he sent the cable- 
gram " Others." That is the key to the life of David 
Livingstone dying in the heart of Africa. 

Proper self-respect does not demand selfishness. 
" Not looking each of you to his own things, but 
each of you also to the things of others." * Paul 
does not mean that a man should not attend to his 
own business. If one does not do his own work, 
no one else will do it for him. Paul is not advocat- 
ing our being busy-bodies in other people's affairs. 
His use of" also"^ shows that he has no such idea. 
But he means that one must not fix his eye ^ (like 
the runner on the goal) upon his own interests to the 
exclusion of those of others. The Christian has no 
right to conduct his life by the law of the jungle. 
He cannot look out simply for " number one." The 
Golden Rule must be applied to business and to 
politics as well as to private life. There is no love 
in the rule of might, in ruthless overriding of the 

' The plural iftaaroi is unusual in the New Testament, 
though common elsewhere. The participle a/zoTzouvrei; is the 
correct text, not ako-Ke'ire, but it is tantamount to an imper- 
ative. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 1132-1135. The 
word here for " others " is iriptuv, not aXXmv, even people of 
another class. The caste spirit is all over the world. " Peo- 
ple like that," we hear in a snifF of contempt. 

"^ alXa fcai. 

^ (T/SonouvTsg, From aaoTz6<i goal, aim. 


rights of others. Might does not make right in the 
state or in the individual. That is the rule of the 
bully and the braggart. The Juggernaut method is 
the spirit of the devil, and rides rough shod over all 
in the way whether men, women, or children. There 
is no surer way to wreck a church than this spirit of 
selfishness, the rule or ruin policy. Social justice is 
impossible without courtesy, love, sympathy. This 
is what Paul pleads for and to enforce it he gives the 
supreme example of the ages. 

4. The Example of Jesus (2 : 5-11). 

(a) For Our Imitation (verse 5). Look at Jesus ; 
" Have this mind in you which was also in Christ 
Jesus." Kennedy {i7i loco) makes a striking sugges- 
tion as to what this sentence means. It is very 
awkward in the Greek.' He takes it to mean : 
" Think this very same thing in yourselves that you 
think in Christ Jesus." That is, apply the same rule 
to yourselves that you see and approve in Jesus our 
Lord and Saviour. It is not always true that Chris- 
tians put religion into their business relations or feel 
the same call for consecration that they love to note 
in Christ. " The keenest zeal may be displayed in 
religious work, accompanied by singular laxity of 
principle in the common concerns of daily business 
and social intercourse " (Kennedy). This is certainly 

' Kennedy would supply (ppovtlre after o instead oUtppoveiTo 
or ^v. The use of v[ilv as a reflexive is common enough. 
Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 680 f., 687 f. 


a possible meaning. Some people are piously hum- 
ble on Sunday, but a terror on Monday. Sheldon's 
" In His Steps " did not quite state the case. We 
are to do what Jesus wishes us to do, not always just 
what He did. Paul cites the example of Jesus (cf. 
verse 8, " humbled himself") with the command that 
the Philippians imitate it. 

(d) The Preincarnate Glory (verse 6). Every 
word in this verse has been the subject of fierce 
controversy. Kennedy makes two very sensible ob- 
servations. One is that Paul is not here giving a 
technical theological discussion. The other is that 
he is not using the language of philosophical meta- 
physics. He is probably familiar with the chief terms 
of Greek philosophy and of rabbinical theology. The 
Gnostics in a way combined both sets of terms. 
But here Paul is making a practical use of the In- 
carnation of Christ to enforce the great lesson of 
humility as essential to unity. Christ was humble. 
Therefore we should be. It is a piece of popular 
theology that Paul gives us in this great passage 
(2 : 6-1 1), but the words are^balanced with rhetorical 
rhythm (two strophes of four lines each). He is not 
formally discussing Christology, but he does hft the 
veil and shows us Jesus Christ in His Preincarnate 
Glory as John's Gospel docs in i : i-io. As there, 
so here Paul shows identity of personality in the two 
states of Christ.' There is no "Jesus or Christ" 
^ By the use of 09 for both spheres of existence. 


controversy for Paul.^ Christ, according to Paul 
here, is divine in nature and glory before the Incar- 
nation. Bacon,^ forsooth, thinks that John's Gospel 
merely copies Paul's Christology here. The preex- 
istence of Christ does not carry with it the preexist- 
ence of others. (See Wordsworth's "Ode on Im- 
mortality.") It is poetical to say " trailing clouds of 
glory do we come," but not necessarily true. 

The definite statement is here made by Paul that 
Christ " existed " ^ before His Incarnation (cf. also 
2 Cor. 8:9^). This Preincarnate state of Christ was 
" in the form of God," ^ a difficult phrase to translate. 
God, of course, has no " form " in the usual sense 
of that term. It is used of Christ's human form in 
Mark 16:12 and of Christ's Incarnation in " the form 
of a servant " here in verse 9. Lightfoot argues that 
the word means here " the essential attributes of 
God " as below in verse 9 " the essential attributes 
of servant." Paul has no notion of a body or form 

* Cf. Hibbert Journal Supplement (January, 1909). 

* " The Fourth Gospel in Research and Debate," 19 10, p. 7. 

^ uTzdpywv. This word denotes prior existence. Cf. iv 
apy^ in John I : i and npturoro/zog in Col. 1:15, 17. But 
dndpyojv comes in the kocvrj to be a mere copula r:= being. 
Cf. Robertson, '* Grammar," p. 394. 

* Here we have cov. 

^ iv p.(>p(pfj Oeoi). Vulgate in forma Dei. The word does 
differ from obaia, <pu(n<s, tido^^ el/^wy, and tryr^ixa, but one 
must not go into psychological or philosophical refinements in 
these words. Sharp (" Epictctus and the New Testament," 
pp. 32f.) shows that Epictetus used ik (/'tXr^g fiop^fj^ = "^ 
i/tTdi nepiypaf-j (Bk. IV, ch. v, §§ 1 9, 20). 


for God, but simply the character of God in His real 
essence. In Colossians 1:15 Paul describes Jesus 
as the Image' of God, as the author of Hebrews 
(i : 3) calls Him "the Radiation ^ of His Glory and 
the Character^ or Stamp of His Substance* or Na- 
ture." We cannot comprehend the nature of God's 
Person. John applied Logos ^ to Christ as the Ex- 
pression of God. Paul means to affirm that Christ 
had not the accidents of the divine glory and environ- 
ment, but the essential attributes of God's nature, 
actual deity, not mere divinity such as is dimly seen 
in all men who were made in God's image. 

This " equality with God " ^ refers only to relation, 
which '• in the form of God " refers only to nature. 
Jesus could not give up His essential character of 
Sonship. He was the Son of God in the Preincar- 
nate state. He was the Son of God during the In- 
carnation after He became also the Son of man. So 
John says that the Logos became flesh (John i : 14). 
Jesus did not consider ' this state of " equality with 
God," His glory at the right hand of the Father, a 
thing to be held on to^ at any cost when, by giv- 

^ eifiwv. ^ anauyafffxa. ^ Xapakr^p. 

* uniKTraaiq. These are all philosophical terms. 
^ I) Xoyo^ TOO deou (John I : i). 

" TO ehac I'ffa dew. It is doubtful if much can be made of 
the distinction between laa and 'laov (cf. John 5:18 laov Tip 
0s(p). Lightfoot makes taov refer to the person, \aa to the 
attributes. ^ ou'^ rjyyjfTaro. 

* dpTzayixo^. Words in /zoy express the action of the verb 
as a rule, but they often come to mean the result of the action 


ing up the glory and holding on to the nature of 
God, He could enter upon His redemptive work for 
mankind. This is my view of this crux intcrpretnm. 
The notion of " robbery " is not the idea of Paul in 
spite of the Vulgate " rapina " which itself is ambigu- 
ous and may mean only a highly-prized possession. 
Kennedy argues cleverly for the interpretation that 
Jesus was not willing to compel men by a display of 
His Godhood to recognize His deity, but preferred 
that men acknowledge Him by gradual conviction. 
This is a possible interpretation, but nothing like so 
probable as the one just given. 

(c) The Humiliation ' (verses 7 f.). These two 
verses give a wonderful portrayal of what was in- 
like those in fia. Cf. in the New Testament Ma(T/zo?= 
propitiation, not the act of propitiating ; dytaff/iui^, not the act 
of consecration, but sanctification. Other words so used are 
0epi(Tfi6{, (/j.arcfTfi6(^, <pak/i6<}^ U7:oypaiJL!i6(^. 

^ One thinks at once of Bruce's great book on " The Hu- 
miliation of Our Lord" (1902). Many other books are 
worth consulting like Bruce, " St. Paul's Conception of Chris- 
tianity " (1898) ; Denney's " Jesus and His Gospel " (1908) ; 
Dorner, " History of the Development of the Person ot 
Christ" (5 vols., 1B78) ; Fairbairn, "The Place of Christ in 
Modern Theology" (1893); Forsyth, "The Person and 
Place of Jesus Christ" (1909); GifFord, "The Incarnation" 
(1897); Gore, "The Incarnation of the Son of God" 
(1891); Liddon, " Our Lord's Divinity " (1889); Mackin- 
tosh, "The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ" (19 12); 
Sanday, " Christologies Ancient and Modern" (1910); 
Schweitzer, "The Quest of the Historical Jesus" (1910); 
Somerville, "St. Paul's Conception of Christ" (1897); 
Stalker, "The Christology of Jesus " (1901); Warfield, 
«* The Lord of Glory " (1907). 


volved in Christ's Incarnation. Bacon ^ says that the 
key-note of the synoptic story of Jesus " is not incar- 
nation, but apotheosis," while in Paul's Epistles and 
John's Gospel it is incarnation. There is undoubt- 
edly in the Synoptic Gospels the account of the slow 
recognition of Jesus as the Son of God, but that 
appears in the Fourth Gospel also. Besides, the 
Synoptic Gospels present Jesus at first as the Son of 
God (Luke i : 32-35 ; Matt, i : 18, 23 ; Luke 2:11; 
Mark i:ii; Matt. 3:17; Luke 3:22). The Bap- 
tism of Jesus by John and the recognition of Jesus as 
the Son of God by the Father occurs in each of the 
Synoptics, and belongs therefore to Q or the Logia 
of criticism, the oldest form of the tradition. From 
the first Jesus is presented as both the Son of God 
and the Son of man. He was the Son of God before 
He was the Son of man. He continued to be the 
Son of God after He became the Son of man. 

He did give up much in order to become the Son 
of man. That was inevitable and foreseen by Christ. 
Paul has said in verse 6 that Christ did not cling to 
" the equality with God " when He faced the redemp- 
tive work for man, but " he emptied himself " * of the 
visible glories and the manifest prerogatives of deity. 
We may pass by the various Kenosis theories which 
seek to explain of what Christ emptied Himself and 
confine ourselves to the details of the humihation 

^ " The Fourth Gospel in Research and Debate," p. 1 1. 

^ iaoTov ikivuiatv. Vulgate semetipsum exinanivit. 


mentioned in these two verses. We can feel certain 
that He did not empty Himself of His divine nature 
(" the form of God " of verse 6), which He could 
not do in the nature of the case (no son can change 
the fact of his sonship), but only " of the insignia of 
His majesty " (Lightfoot), the outward manifestation 
of His deity. Jesus did not appear to men in the 
likeness of God, but of man. He suffered in so 
doing in ways that are beyond our comprehension. 
" We may do well to cherish the impression that this 
self-emptying on the part of the eternal Son of God, 
for our salvation, involves realities which we cannot 
conceive or put into words. There was more in this 
emptying of Himself than we can think or say " (Rainy, 
Philippians, p. 119). We catch glimpses of the 
yearning of Christ for the glory which He had with 
the Father before the Incarnation and even before 
the world was by the Father's side* (John 17: 5). 
There is a fullness of knowledge^ between the Son 
and the Father not true of others and Jesus often 
goes alone ^ to pray with the Father. How the Son 
missed the glories of heaven we can only imagine. 
How the sin and desolation of earth jarred upon His 
sensitive soul we do have some comprehension, but 
only a little after all, for we have become used to the 
dullness and the hardness of our world. Perhaps, it 
was in mercy to Jesus that there was some humilia- 

' T.apd aoi. '^ i-iyivwafiei (Matt. 1 1 : 27). 

^ auro? n6vo<i (John 6:15). 


tion in His Incarnation, else He could not have en- 
dured His earthly estate. We are expressly told here 
that the emptying was voluntary on Christ's part. 
The emphasis is on the act (the verb). It applied to 
the state of glory, to some extent to His knowledge, 
and to His power. Into that subject I do not here 
enter. I do not believe that Jesus subjected Him- 
self to error of any kind. He mentions His lack of 
knowledge about the time of His second coming 
(Matt. 24 : 36). He shows surprise and weariness. 
He was a real man, free from sin and from errors of 
ignorance, I believe. No effort to explain the com- 
bination of deity and humanity has succeeded. We 
do not understand the nature of God. We do not 
understand our own human nature (spirit and matter 
in combination). It is not surprising that we fail in 
the union of the divine and the human. Certainly 
Dr. William Sanday's excursion ' with the " sublimi- 
nal consciousness " does not explain it. But let us 
turn from merely speculative theology to Paul's 
interpretation of the details involved in the Incarna- 

" Taking the form of a servant," ^ Paul says, by 
way of explanation of " emptied himself." Here Paul 
employs the same term for " form " that he did 
in verse 6. As Christ possessed the real attrib- 

' " Christologies Ancient and Modern," 19 10. 

^ IJ.opipTj-f donlnu Xa^Uiv. Cf. iJ.op(f^ deob in verse 6. The 
aorist participle is here simultaneous with the verb kaivtuasv 
and explanatory (Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 860 f., 1127). 


utes of deity, so He took upon Himself the real at- 
tributes of servantship. Here there is a change in the 
condition of Christ. He was ' in the form of God, but 
He took^ upon Himself the form of a servant. How- 
ever, we must not understand that Christ lost " the 
form of God " in so doing. He lost only the appear- 
ance as God, not His essential nature as God. It is 
the reality of Christ's humanity that is here affirmed 
by the side of the reality of His deity. He did not 
become an actual " slave "^ of any single man, but 
was an actual " servant " (or slave) of mankind. 
Paul thus " describes the humility to which He con- 
descended " (Kennedy, in loco). The Master ^ of all 
became the slave of all (Matt. 20: 27 f.; Mark 10 : 
44 f.). Jesus entered upon the condition of service 
as He had before the condition of equality with God 
(Vincent, in loco ). 

" Becoming in the likeness of men," ^ a further ex- 
planation of the self-emptying of Christ. Here again 
Paul states that Jesus entered'' upon the state of His 
humanity as we have it in John i : 14. But the word 
here is " likeness," ' not " form " as in verse 6. It is 
a real likeness, but not identity that is meant. All 
of Jesus is not human. Hence Paul could not use the 

* undp^wv. ^ Xa^<l)v. ^ douXo<i. 

* Kbpio<i. Cf. John I 5 : 20 ouk ecTTtv SouXo^ /lei^wv rou 
kupiou aoTov. 

^ iv 6fiot(Ofj.aTt dvOpcoTzwv yevofievoi;. 

^yevdfievoi, not U7:dp^ujv. So Oeu'S rjv and ffdp^ ej'iveTo in 
John 1:1,14. ' 6pucwp.aTi. 


word for " form." ' Christ " was no mere phantom, 
no mere incomplete copy of humanity " (Kennedy, 
in loco). " To affirm hkeness is at once to assert 
similarity and to deny sameness " (Dickson, Baird Lec- 
tures, 1883). The humanity of Jesus, though thor- 
oughly real and not merely apparent as the Docetic 
Gnostics held, yet did not express the whole of 
Christ's self. He was still " in the form of God " in 
His essential nature in spite of His Incarnation. He 
still has the essential nature of God while in the 
similitude 2 of man. The pluraP here shows 
Christ's relation to the race. Christ no longer 
wore His " Godlike majesty and visible glories " 
(Ellicott), but appeared as a man and to most only 
as a man. 

" And being found in fashion as a man." * Here 
the word for " fashion " ^ refers more to the outward 
appearance of Christ. It is like the word " habit " ^ 
as applied to dress. The *' form of a bondservant " 
expressed the essential nature of the servantship of 
Christ and the " likeness of men " showed the reality 
of His humanity (Vincent, in loco). This word 

"^ hi similitudinem hominum f actus (Vulgate). 

^ a\>dpu)Tzu)v. 

* /cat ff^yjfxari e6p£0£\<; w? avOpwKo?. ^ ff^tj/iaTC. 

^ Vulgate has i» habitus inventus ut homo. Habitus is 
from habeo as a-puxa from e^'"- The word ff/^/^a is used of 
God in Test. XII Patr. Zab. 9 oil'^adz Oeuv iv <T)(yjfiaTt 
avdpumuo. In Benj. 10 note km yr^is (pavivza iv p-opfyj 


" fashion " expresses the appeal that Christ made to 
the senses, to human observation. " His outward 
guise was altogether human " (Kennedy, in loco). 
The words for " form " and " fashion " are contrasted 
by Paul in Romans 12:2: " And be not fashioned ' 
according to this world," the outward expression in 
conduct and manners, " but be ye transformed ' by 
the renewing of your mind," the inward spiritual 
change. Jesus was discovered' or recognized as ^ 
a man, though He was more than man, and in His 
very humanity revealed God to men if they had eyes 
to see (cf. John 14 : 7-9 ; Matt. 1 1 : 27). 

" He humbled himself" ^ This is not a mere 
repetition of " emptied himself " in verse 7. This 
verb expresses plainly' and simply the fact of the 
Humiliation^ of Christ. "The depth of the self- 
renunciation " (Kennedy) is brought out by the fol- 
lowing phrases. The great act was voluntary on 
Christ's part and hence has moral value. This idea 
is set forth clearly in Hebrews 9: 12 " having found 
by himself eternal redemption " ^ (the middle voice) 

^ /xerafiop^ouffOs. Cf. also Phil. 3:10 (TUfx/JLop^t^ofievo^ 
and I Pet. 1:14 (Tuva^rjuariZofievoi. In Phil. 3:21 we 
have fjLezatT^rj/iaTcffsc and aufi/iop^ov. 

^ £L)pe0e\<i. 

* ctf?. Implying that he was more than man. 

^ iTaneivuxrev kaurov. The emphasis is here on the verb as 
in verse 7 on iauruv. 

^ The Vulgate has humiliavit semetipsum. 

' aiwviav kuTpwaiv eupd/ievog. 


and in 9 114 "he offered himself,"' a construction 
like the one in PhiHppians 2 : 8. 

" Becoming obedient unto death." ^ Jesus followed 
the Father's will obediently in the path that led 
straight to death. The hate and guilt of His ene- 
mies do not at all remove the dignity and the glory 
of Christ's death for sinners. Paul speaks of the 
obedience^ of Christ also in Romans 5 : 19. It was 
an obedience that Jesus had to learn from suffering 
as is true of all sons (Heb. 5 : 8) and won Jesus the 
right and the power to offer eternal life to all those 
who obey Him (Heb. 5 : 9). There were moments 
when Jesus was tempted to turn back from the road 
that led to death, moments of anguish that rent His 
very soul with a cry to the Father (John I2:2y{.; 
Matt. 26:39; Mark I4:35f. ; Luke 22:42), times 
that brought sweat like blood from His forehead 
(Luke 22 : 44) and tears to His eyes (Heb. 5 : 7). 
Jesus saw the end from the beginning, saw His 
" hour " coming, saw the gathering cloud about to 
break upon His head, but resolutely set His face to 
go on to Jerusalem to meet it. The very reality of 
His humanity made Him flinch as He saw that He 
was to be regarded as sin by the Father while He 
bore the sin of the world in His death, and made 

' iauTov Tzpoarjvsy/zev with the emphasis on iaorov. 
^ ysvofi^voii oTTTJ/zooi} f^^XP^ Oavdrou. The Vulgate has 
/actus obediens usque ad mortem. 

^ unaJioy,^. Note force of ut:6 (luF) under. 


Him cry aloud when the Father's presence left Him 
in the dread darkness and lonehness (Matt. 2/ : 46). 
But Jesus held on His way " unto death " ' and was 
able to look on His death as a "glorification" 
(John 13 : 31 f. ; 17 : 2). He went as far as death in 
His humiliation. "Yea, the death of the cross," ^ 
Paul adds, as the lowest rung in this Jacob's Ladder 
of Christ's humanity of which Jesus had spoken to 
Nathanael (John 1:51). Christ left His place in 
glory and majesty by the Father's side with all the 
Father's wealth of grandeur and became a poor man 
on earth (2 Cor. 8 : 9). He took the estate of a serv- 
ant and bore the likeness of men and no longer 
seemed to be God to the multitudes. He Himself 
was like a bondservant and served others on earth. 
He humbled Himself to the end and met death as a 
condemned criminal with all the shame of the Cross. 
Down, down Christ went to the bottom of darkness, 
the very depth of humiliation and shame. The body 
of one that hung on a tree was accursed according 
to the Mosaic law (Deut. 21 : 23) and Paul knew this 
well (Gal. 3:13). Cicero spoke of crucifixion as the 
most cruel of punishments (Verr. V. 64). The Ro- 
man boasted of his right to die a freeman, free from 

^ lii^pt Oavdrou. Cf. fxi^pt? o.1fiaro<i (Heb. 12:4) ot 
those who had not yet resisted unto blood and iJ-e^pt difffiwv 
(2 Tim. 2:9)" unto bonds." 

^ Oavdrou 8i: aTaupou, Note this use of Si as addition. 
Cf. Rom. 3:22; 9 : 30c Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 


the very name of cross.' Paul, as a Roman citizen, 
was free from this shame. He was beheaded, though 
the tradition is that Peter was crucified head down- 
ward. The Jews stumbled ^ at the cross of Christ and 
the Greeks thought it foolishness,^ but Paul came to 
see in it the wisdom and the power of God (i Cor. 
1:23 f.). Jesus saw the shame of the Cross and felt 
it keenly, but He endured it for the sake of the joy 
that would be His when He reached the goal and 
finished His atoning death (Heb. 12:2). Therefore 
Jesus despised the shame.^ The Cross of Christ has 
come to be His Crown of Glory. 

{d) The Exaltation (verses 9-1 1). Paul has 
taken us down to the bottom of the Valley of Death 
into which Jesus went, the valley of darkness and 
shame. He has not forgotten his purpose in appeal- 
ing to the example of Christ. It is to enforce the 
lesson of humility, " lowliness of mind " (2 : 3), the 
mind of Christ Jesus (2 : 5). Jesus Himself is the 
supreme illustration of His own saying : *« He that 
humbleth himself shall be exalted " ^ (Luke 14 : 11 ; 
18: 14). Paul seems to know this Logion of Jesus 
for he says : " Wherefore also God highly exalted 

' Cf. Cicero /r(7 Rabir., V. 10 Nomen ipsum cruets absit non 
mo do a cor pore civ turn Romanorum sed etiam a cogitationet 
oculis, auribus. 

''■ (T/idvdaXov, 

* unifisivtv axaopov alff^uvT^? Arara^povrjffa^, 
^6 Taneivuiv kaurov U(puj0vj<TeTai, 


him." * The " wherefore " is not reason, but conse- 
quence (cf. Heb. 2:9; 12 ; 2). The exaltation is the 
result of the humiliation. " The idea of Christ's re- 
ceiving His exaltation as a reward was repugnant to 
the Reformed theologians " (Vincent, in loco), but 
there is no objection certainly to regarding it as the 
natural result of His service. " Christ's saying in 
Matthew 23: 12 was gloriously fulfilled in His own 
case " (Meyer, in loco). It is not clear whether Paul 
means to say that Jesus had a higher state of glory 
than before His Incarnation or not. That is the 
natural way to take the verb ^ here. He had not lost 
" the form of God," but He had " emptied himself " 
of the majesty and dignity in His Pre- incarnate state. 
This He received again and sat in transcendent glory 
at the right hand of God on high (cf. Rom. i : 3f. ; 
8 : 34 ; Col. 3 : i ; i Cor. 14 : 25). Paul does not 
here say in what the " superior " dignity consists 
which Christ did not have before His Incarnation. I 
agree with Ellicott that it is His Humanity which 
was permanently added to His Divinity. He is the 
Son of man now as well as the Son of God which 
He was before. The argument in Hebrews 2: 5-18 
illustrates the point which comes out also in Paul's 
own argument here. 

" And gave unto him the name which is above 

* 8io ual 6 ^eo? avrdv 6nepu</iiij(T£v. Vulgate exaltavit. 

^ bn£pu(j)u»(T£v. Cf. Psalm 97 (96) : 9 aipoSpa UT:£pu4'<J^d'>]9 


every name." ' The obvious implication of this lan- 
guage is that the gracious bestowal of this name 
upon Christ as the prerogative of the Father was be- 
cause of the Incarnation. The Son had voluntarily 
given up His position of " equality with the Father " 
and taken a subordinate one on earth (cf. John 
14 : 28, " for the Father is greater than I "). " Christ 
obtained as a gift what He renounced as a prize " 
(Vincent, in loco). But what is " the name which is 
above every name " ? There is great diversity of 
opinion. Lightfoot and Haupt make it simply 
" tjile " or " dignity " as " name " ^ often represents 
"^'j " " authority." Vincent takes it to be 
" Jesus Christ," " combining the human name, which 
points to the conquest won in the flesh, and the 
Messianic name, ' The Anointed of God.' The two 
factors of the name are successively taken up in verses 
10, II." EUicott makes it Jesus, " the name of His 
humiliation, and henceforth that of His exaltation 
and glory." Kennedy {in loco) considers it " amaz- 
ing " how one can hold this view, but the very next 
verse (" in the name of Jesus ") certainly lends colour 
to this interpretation. Besides, it strengthens greatly 
the point of Paul's use of the example of Jesus if the 
added glory after Christ's Ascension is precisely the 
human nature of Jesus which was His state of hu- 
miliation. This point appeals to me, I confess, in 

* flai iy^apiaazo aoril) ro ovofia to UTzep irav 6vo[ia. 
^ 6vo[xa. So in the papyri as in the Septuagint. 


spite of the fact that the name " Jesus " was already 
(Matt. I : 21) given to Christ before His Ascension. 
Still, there is force in the argument for " Lord " ' as 
the word meant by Paul in lieu of the Tetragramma- 
ton (the unpronounceable name of Jehovah). The 
Jews often used " the Name " when referring to this 
word.^ Jeremy Taylor so interpreted it : " He hath 
changed the ineffable name into a name utterable by 
man, and desirable by all the world ; the majesty is 
arrayed in robes of mercy, the tetragrammaton or 
adorable mystery of the patriarchs is made fit for 
pronunciation and expression when it becometh the 
name of the Lord's Christ." The confession of Jesus 
as " Lord " in verse 1 1 gives colour to this view. 
But even so, we must not forget that it is Jesus who 
still preserves His human nature who is termed 
Lord. He is our Elder Brother at the right hand of 

*' That in the name of Jesus every knee should 
bow."^ It is not " at" the name of Jesus, not mere 
genuflection. There is no essential merit in that atti- 
tude every time the name of Jesus is pronounced or 
heard. It is reverent worship that is here presented. 
Jesus is the object of worship. Surely it is worth while 
to note that Paul makes a point to use the name for 
Christ's human life, the name Jesus. Many had this 

' Kt')ptn<s. Used in the Septuagint for Jehovah (Jahwe). 
* Cf. C. Taylor, " Sayings of the Jewish Fathers," iv., 7. 


name, the Greek form of Joshua,* but they were not 
saviours from sin (Matt. 1:21). Jesus was wor- 
shiped while in the flesh and He is still the Son of 
man. The Epistle to the Hebrews uses constantly 
the name Jesus and defends gloriously the dignity 
of Christ's humanity. Jesus purchased the right to 
this universal adoration with the price of His blood. 
It is interesting to compare Revelation 5, where 
Jesus is pictured as receiving worship in heaven from 
all created things, with this verse. This idea of the 
mystic sympathy of the whole universe with the 
Cosmic Christ occurs also in Romans 8 : 21 f. ; i Cor. 
15:24; Ephesians 5 : 20-22 ; Hebrews 2:8. Paul's 
language in Philippians 2: lof. seems to reflect the 
Gnostic terminology so freely condemned in Colos- 
sians and Ephesians. " And that every tongue should 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." ^ The Lordship 
of Jesus came to be the test of loyalty. The pass- 
word in the dark days of persecution came to be 
" Jesus as Lord." This was the Shibboleth of the 
faithful. It is so yet. Vain is the praise of those 
who refuse to bow the knee to Jesus and to confess 
Him as Lord. One is reminded of Charles Lamb 
saying that, if Shakespeare appeared in the company 
of literati, they would all rise, but, if Jesus came, 
they would all kneel. This word for " Lord " does 

' kai Tzaaa yXmaaa i^ofioXoyyjaTjzai ozt Kupio<s Vrjffous 


not in itself imply divinity. It was used for Mas- 
ter as opposed to slave (Eph. 6 : 9), and even for 
"sir" in address (Matt. 13 : 27). But in the Septu- 
agint it was a common translation for the Hebrew 
words for God. It was used also for Caesar. " Lord 
Caesar " was a common term in the papyri and in- 
scriptions. The Emperor cult was the chief religion 
of the Roman world in the time of Paul. Life was 
offered to Polycarp if he would only say " Lord 
Caesar." ^ " No one is able to say * Lord Jesus ' ex- 
cept by the Holy Spirit " (i Cor. 12:3). To confess 
Jesus as Lord was the mark of a true believer, a 
Christian in reality (Rom. 10 : 9). " God made this 
Jesus both Lord and Christ " (Acts 2 : 36). " Christ 
the Lord" the angels said (Luke 2:11) the Saviour 
would be. It is not apotheosis or deification of Jesus 
that we here see, but the taking up of the humanity 
of Jesus into His deity with new glory, the glory of 
the humihation, the glory of the accomplished re- 
demption, the glory of the battle-scarred hero whose 
scars are his crown. It is all " to the glory of God 
the Father." The confession is for the glory of God. 
It is all of the Father's will and for His glory and 
gives Him joy. The glory of Jesus gives glory to 
the Father. 

' Ti y/ip nakov iffTiv. Kupio^ Kalaap ; Martyrium Poly- 
carpi, viii. 2. 


(2: 12-18) 

PAUL is eminently practical as well as really 
profound. He is equally at home in the dis- 
cussion of the great problems of theology and 
in the details of the Christian life. He is a practical 
mystic who does not leave his mysticism in the clouds, 
but applies it to the problem in hand. There is in 
Paul no divorce between learning and life. Specula- 
tive theology as philosophy he knows and uses as a 
servant to convey his highest ideas, but he never for- 
gets the ethics of the man in the street or at the 
desk. He has just written a marvellous passage on 
the Humiliation and Exaltation of Christ Jesus, scal- 
ing the heights of Christ's equality with God and 
sounding the depths of the human experience of 
Jesus, from the throne of God to the death on the 
Cross and back again. But Paul has no idea of leav- 
ing this great doctrinal passage thus, " So then,* 
my beloved," ^ he goes on with an exhortation based 
on the experience of Christ. He returns to the 

* w(rTE. On the use of wars, at the beginning of principal 
clauses (paratactic use) see Robertson, " Grammar," p. 999. 
^ dyanrjTut finv. Vulgate has carissimi met. 


practical note of 2:5. God has a plan in each of 
our lives as in that of Jesus. It is worth a great 
deal for us to recognize this blessed fact. Lightfoot 
puts it that as you have the example of Christ's humil- 
iation to guide you and His exaltation to encour- 
age you, so continue. 

I. Two Kinds of Obedience (verses 12^). 

Paul picks out the obedience of Christ in verse 8 
(" obedient unto death " ') as the point of contact for 
his exhortation. This sort of obedience is the result 
of listening or hearkening and not absolute obedience 
to authority.^ The obedience that Paul commends 
in the Philippians is obedience to God, though he 
uses the word here absolutely. Certainly it is a re- 
markable compliment that Paul pays the church at 
Philippi. Technically here the structure' of the 
sentence shows that the clause about presence and 
absence belongs to " work out." Still, the idea 
covers obedience also. The energy which Paul 
commands is a form of the obedience. So then we 
may apply the picture to that. Vincent objects 
that in such case Paul would say that the Philipjiiatis 
did better in his absence than in his presence. By 
implication he does say that. He directly affirms 

* vTT-qkoo<;. Here br^r^kobaart. The use of br.o {suV) sug- 
gests reverent hearkening. 

^ fiTJ goes with the imperative xarepyd^effOe. 


that they " always " * obeyed God. He exhorts 
energetic action " not as in my presence only," ^ not 
mere " eye-service," when the master (or mistress) is 
present. They are not like children who obey till 
the mother's back is turned. Spurgeon tells of a 
servant girl who gave as the proof of her conversion 
that now she swept under the mats and behind the 
door. It is poor obedience that only does what will 
be noticed, as little as possible. Paul is not regarded 
as a mere moral policeman. The pastor is not a man 
simply to watch over the church and keep it in line. 
There are people who go to church only when the 
pastor is present and will notice their absence. The 
preacher is surely more than a spiritual watch-dog to 
bark at the sheep and keep them together. Obedi- 
ence like that is very shallow and superficial. 

" But now much more is my absence." ^ This is 
real obedience of the heart. It is the spirit of the 
workman who does his best work on the high ceihng 
where no one will see it save God. Paul urges this 
highest form of spiritual energy at the time when he 
is away. There are men who do their best work 
when left to their own initiative. This is true only 
of the choice spirits who listen to the voice of con- 
science. These are the salt of the earth who savour 

* ndvTOT£, 

^ [j.7j u)<; iv Tjj TrapnoiTia fiovov. Note napouffta the word 
used of the Second Coming. 

^ d).Xd vuv TtolXip (idXXuv iv tjj aTzouaia. Note the pun 
Tcapouaia^ dnouaia. 


the whole lump. There are men and women in our 
churches who remain true when pastors come and go 
and when others fall away. 

2. \Vorking In and Working Out (verses 12^ i.). 

In Paul's absence he desires that the Philippians 
shall press right on with the work of their own sal- 
vation in so far as the development is committed to 
their hands. The eye should rest upon the final goal 
and so Paul uses a verb * that puts the emphasis on 
the final result. Salvation ^ is used either of the en- 
trance into the service of God, the whole process, or 
the consummation at the end. The Philippians are 
to carry into effect and carry on to the end the work 
of grace already begun. Peter (2 Pet. I : 10) like- 
wise exhorted his readers to make their calling and 
election sure. They must not look to Paul to do 
their part in the work of their salvation. His ab- 
sence cuts no figure in the matter of their personal 
responsibility. It is " your own ^ salvation." It is 
the aim of all to win this goal at last. If so, each 
must look to his own task and do his own work. 
The social aspect of religion is true beyond a doubt. 
We are our brother's keeper and we do owe a debt 
of love and service to one another that we can never 

' kaT-epydS^etrOs, The perfective use of /fard. 

"^ fjujzrjf/cav. Used also of safety. Cf. I : 18. 

' iaunuv. Not = d^.^rjhov, though grammatically possible. 
It is reflexive here, not reciprocal. Cf. Robertson, " Gram- 
mar," pp. 689 f. 


fully discharge (Rom. 13:8). But it is also true that 
each of us is his own keeper and stands or falls to 
God. Kipling has it thus : " For the race is run by- 
one and one and never by two and two." 

Work it out " with fear and trembling," * Paul 
urges ; *• with a nervous and trembling anxiety to 
do right " (Lightfoot). People to-day do not tremble 
much in the presence of God and most have little sense 
of fear. Jonathan Edwards' great sermon on " Sinners 
in the Hands of an Angry God" finds httle echo 
to-day. We live in a light-hearted and complacent 
age. The Puritans went too far to one extreme, but 
we are going too much to the other. We all need 
afresh a sense of solemn responsibility to Almighty 
God. Paul did not feel blindly complacent about 
himself (i Cor. 9 : 27). Religion is both hfe and 
creed. The creed without the life amounts to little. 
We touch a hard problem here, to be sure, but Paul 
feels no incompatibility between the most genuine 
trust and the most energetic work. The two supple- 
ment or rather complement each other, though we 
cannot divide them. Divine sovereignty is the fun- 
damental fact in religion with Paul. He starts with 
that. But human free agency is the inevitable corol- 
lary, as Paul sees it. The two are not inconsistent 
in his theology. Hence Paul is not a fatalist like 
the Essenes and the modern Hyper-Calvinists nor is 

' [xsra (fo^uu ndX rpoixou. The rp6ixo<s strengthens the 


he a mere Socinian like the Sadducees. The Phari- 
sees held to both divine sovereignty and human free 
agency as most modern Christians do in varying 
degrees, to be sure. Paul seems to see no contra- 
diction between them as Jesus did not (cf. Matt. 
1 1 : 27 f.). All our modern efforts to explain the 
harmony between these two necessary doctrines fail, 
but we must hold them both true nevertheless, God 
must be supreme to be God at all. Man must be 
free to be man at all. The difficulty probably lies in 
our imperfect processes of reasoning for two such 
far-reaching truths. But Paul gives the divine sov- 
ereignty as the reason' or ground for the human 
free agency. He exhorts the Philippians to work 
out their own salvation with fear and trembling pre- 
cisely because God works in them both the willing 
and the doing ^ and for His good pleasure. We can 
at least feel that the working of God's will has pro- 
vided the whole plan of salvation in which we are 
included and at which we are at work. We toil in 
the sphere of God's will. But far more is true than 
that, though we are conscious also that our own 
wills have free play in this sphere. God presses His 
will upon ours. We feel the impact of the divine 

^ ytiip. Not so close and formal as vri. Paratactic, not 

'^ /2ai TO diXetv Hoi to ivepyelv. The articular infinitive 
singles out more sharply both activities. We need not press 
the difference between Oi?.io and ^ovXofiat. 


energy upon our wills which are quickened into ac- 
tivity thereby. A child can grasp this, and rest upon 
it. A boy of four said joyfully to his mother, " When 
we do anything, it's really God doing it." So then 
in one sense God does it all. God is the one who 
energizes ' in you both the impulse and the energy 
to carry out the impulse. No one knows what 
energy is. It is the scientific name for God. It is 
ceaseless as the sea, restless as the rapids of Niagara. 
One of the theories of matter is that all matter is in 
a vortex of inconceivable velocity, whirling round 
and round these bombarding electrons. What makes 
them whirl so ? The particles of radium can be seen 
darting violently into space. We were dead in tres- 
passes and sins till God's Spirit touched us and we 
leaped to life in Christ. This is the mystery of grace. 
They that are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 
8 : 7 f.). God plants in our souls the germ of spiri- 
tual life and He does not let it die. His Spirit broods 
over us and energizes us to grow and work out what 
God has worked in us. This is the ground of hope 
and joy that makes Romans 8 so different from 
Romans 7. We are in league with God. God's 
grace is not an excuse for doing nothing. It is 
rather the reason for doing all. In religion as in 
nature we are co-workers with God. We plant the 

' 6 ivepywv. Works in or inworks. Note James' mention 
of energetic prayer (Jas. 5 : 16). Cf. 'EvepyzlcrOai in the 
New Testament by John Ross (^Expositor, Jan., 1909). 


seed and plan the plant and hoe it and harvest it. 
But God gave us the seed and the soil and sends the 
rain and the sunshine and supplies that wondrous 
thing that we call life and makes it grow to perfec- 
tion. " God has more life than anybody," said a 
child. It is idle to split hairs over our part and 
God's part. We must respond to the touch of God's 
Spirit else we remain dead in sin. Jesus is the 
author and the finisher of faith (Heb, 12: 2), of our 
faith, but we must believe all the same and keep on 
looking to Him, the goal of faith and endeavour. 
There is no higher standard of rectitude than God's 
good pleasure* by which He regulates our lives. 
Happy is the man who finds God's plan for his life 
and falls in with it. 

3. Cheerfulness Under Orders (verse 14). 

Having committed our lives to the control of God's 
will we are under orders. It is unmilitary and peev- 
ish to fret at God's commands. " Do all things ^ 
without murmurings." ' The allusion may be to the 
conduct of Israel in the wilderness (cf. Ex. l6:7ff. ; 

' euSo/cta. Picture of serenity and power, common to the 
will of God. 

^ -ctvra TTocslTe. Linear action. Habit. 

' Xwp)? yoyyufffiufv, Onomatopoetic word like murmur. 
Ionic word as is the verb y(iy)'i>!^(u. The Athenians used 
■rov0upi(7ii6<i. Cf. Thumb, " Hellenismus," p. 215. The 
verb occurs fairly often in the vernacular kuiviq. Moulton and 
Milligan, " Vocabulary," p. I 30. 


Num. 16:5, 10)- The Israelites murmured bitterly 
against Moses and against God repeatedly and with 
dire results. " Neither murmur ye, as some of them 
murmured,' and perished by the destroyer" (i Cor. 
10: 10). These inward murmurings against God's 
will would easily turn to grumblings towards each 
other. People do not usually stop with resentment 
against God, but wish to blame somebody. Dis- 
union had already manifested itself in the church 
at Philippi. If God is supreme and does all 
things why did He allow this thing to happen ? 
It is easier to ask than to answer that question. 
The next step is to become sour towards one an- 

" Without disputings." ^ This word is used for 
questionings, then doubtings, then disputings. This 
is the usual course of our intellectual revolt against 
God. Probably the moral revolt (murmurings) comes 
first. The sceptical spirit follows resentment against 
some crossing of our will by God's will. The final 
result is " intellectual rebellion " (Lightfoot). 
Thoughts of hesitation 2 or doubt turn to distrust. 
Distrust ripens into open disputes when a public 
stand is taken with others against God (cf. Hatch, 
" Essays in Biblical Greek," p. 8). Doubt leads to dis- 
pute even over trifles (Kennedy). So then, as good 

^ /ji>j5e yoyyu^zTS, /zaddnep Tivk<i auTwv iyoyyuffav. 

^ 3ia?.oy:(Tiid)v. 

* The Vulgate has hasitationibus. 


soldiers, Christians are to carry out the orders of the 
Captain of their salvation. Explanations, if they 
come at all, come after obedience, not before. Into 
the Valley of Death rode the Six Hundred. 

" Theirs not to make reply, 
Theirs not to reason why, 
Theirs but to do and die." 

Soldiers go to the charge with a smile on their faces. 

4. Perfection in the Midst of Imperfection 

(verses 15-16^). 

Paul here expresses his purpose ' about the Philip- 
pians. It is a double purpose, their own highest 
development and the greatest service to others. The 
first is a prerequisite to the other, though they can- 
not be wholly separated. They are to " become " ^ 
"blameless and harmless."^ They are not so in the 
state of nature and do not easily become so in a state 
of grace. Certainly none are absolutely free from 
blame in the eye of God and men can usually find 
some fault with most of us. But, at any rate, we can 
give men as little ground as possible to pick flaws in 
our character. Whimsical critics cannot be satisfied, 
but we do have to regard the sober judgment of God's 
people in ethical matters. Lightfoot takes " harm- 
less " to refer to the intrinsic character as in Matthew 

* 'iva. '^ yivTjffde, not ^te. 

•' ajxeiJ-Tzrot r<a\ anipaioi. Vulgate sine querula et simplices. 


10: 16 " harmless as doves." The word means Hter- 
ally " unmixed," ' " unadulterated " like pure milk or 
pure wine or unalloyed metal. In Romans 16:19 
Paul says : " I would have you wise unto that which 
is good, and simple^ unto that which is evil," a noble 
motto for young and old. It is a great mistake to 
feel that one must know evil by experience in order 
to appreciate good. An unsullied character a man 
wants in his wife and the wife equally so in her hus- 
band. It is this sheer simplicity of character that is 
so delightful in children and, /?ar excellence, in the 
" children of God "^ in the full spiritual import of this 
term. The children of Israel, when they murmured, 
were not acting like children of God. Paul here 
quotes * Deuteronomy 32 : 5 and applies it to the 
Philippians. The children of Israel were full of 
blemish, while the Philippians are to be " without 
blemish"^ like the freewill offering (Lev. 22: 21). 
The Israelites had themselves become " a crooked 
and perverse generation." But the Philippians must 
not fall to that low level, as they will if they give 
way to inward discontent. They must exhibit marks 

^ a privative and Kepdwufti. The word occurs in the 

^ dirispai()o<s 8e el? to kaRd'j. 

^ rifzva dsnu. Both ri/ivov and olog *' signify a relation 
based on parentage " (Vincent). Both are used also in the 
ethical sense of the spiritual relation to God. Cf. Vincent, in 

* ouK abrm ri/iva (KDp.y^Ta, yevea trkoXia Kai Sisffrpa/xfxivi^. 

^ap.ujpLa. Cf. Eph. 1:4; 5 : 27 ; Col. I : 22. 


of perfection " in the midst ' of a crooked and per- 
verse generation." It is an indocile or froward and 
so *♦ crooked " ^ (cf. Acts 2 : 40 ; i Pet. 2:18) genera- 
tion. The word was used of crooked paths (Luke 
3 : 5) and so of crooked steps and crooked ways. 
The word " perverse " ^ means twisted or distorted 
and is a bolder word like the Scotch " thrawn," with 
a twist in the inner nature (Kennedy). Surely our 
own generation is not without its moral twist and 
means many straight men when so many are crooked 
(" crooks "), twisted out of shape. 

Paul changes his figure, but goes on with the same 
idea, " among whom ye are seen as lights in the 
world." * These are the very people, the twisted and 
blinded by the darkness of sin, who need the light. 
Jesus is the real light of the world (John 8: 12), but 
the followers of Christ also pass on the torch and so 
bear light to others (Matt. 5 : 14). Here the Philip- 
pians are pictured as " luminaries " * rather than as 
lights^ in the world of darkness. As the moon and 

^ !j.iaov. Used as a preposition like so many other adverbs 
in the koivij. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 644. See 
Epictetus, Bk. II, ch. xxii, ^ 10 for similar use of fiiffov. 

^ (T/cohdg. The opposite of opOo'i, 

' 3c£ffTpapL,aivrj^. Perfect passive participle from ^laarpiipio. 
Cf. Epictetus III, 6, 8 ol fxij -Kavrd-affi dceffrpa/xfiivut tu)v 

* iv <H<i <paiv£ffOt 6)<; (pioari^psis ev R6aiiu). 

^ ^loarr^psii. Cf. Gen. 1:14, 16; Dan. 12:3; Rev. 
21 : II. 

^ (pSixa. Cf. ipwq in Matt. 5:14. 


the stars " appear " ' in the night, so the Christians 
come out to give light in the darkness. In the dark 
night of sin the church of Phihppi is a hghthouse in 
the breakers, " holding forth the word of life." ^ The 
gospel has the principle of life in it. John's Gospel 
unites light and life as descriptive of the Logos 
(1:4) and Christ offers to men " the light of hfe " 
(John 8:12). Paul naturally blends the two figures 
here. Vincent rightly calls it "hypercritical" to 
change the figure in " holding forth." ^ " It is common 
to personify a luminary as a lightbearer." The figure 
can be either holding on to the word of life or pre- 
senting the word of life. In this latter sense one 
naturally thinks of the Statue of Liberty in New York 
Harbour, holding forth the torch of freedom. Every 
church is a hghthouse in a dark place. The darker 
the place the more the light is needed. It is sad to 
see so many churches deserting the down-town dis- 
tricts where they are so much needed. Rescue work 
must be carried on where sin has done its worst. 
It is like fighting the plague. Thank God for the 
men and women who do take the light into the dark 
corners of our cities. What would our modern cities 
be like without our churches ? The answer is the 
cities of Japan, of China, of India to-day. The word 

^ (paivtffOe, not (faivers (shine). 

^ i:7z^^uvTe<}. Literally to hold upon or apply to and so 
fasten attention (Luke 14:7; Acts 3:5; 19 : 22). 


of life quickens to life and brings light to the dark- 
ened soul. 

5. Paul's Pride (verse 16''), 

" For a ground of glorying in the day of Christ." ' 
This clause is related to all of verse 15 and the pre- 
ceding part of 16. It is epexegetical or further 
purpose. The day of accounts comes to figure more 
largely in Paul's mind as he grows older (Kennedy). 
The writer of Hebrews speaks of the sleepless watch 
of the shepherds of souls •' as they that shall give ac- 
count ; that they may do this with joy, and not with 
grief; for this were unprofitable for you " (Heb. 13: 17). 
Paul longs 2 to have " whereof to glory ^ in the day 
of Christ." The success of the Philippians will give 
Paul something tangible to present to Christ. They 
will be stars in his crown. He means by " day of 
Christ " the judgment day, commonly termed the day 
of the Lord outside of this Epistle. Paul does not 
wish to be saved " so as by fire " with all his works 
gone (i Cor. 3:15). When that day comes and 
Paul looks back upon his work in Philippi, he does 
wish to feel " that I did not run in vain neither labour 
in vain." He has the metaphor^ of the stadium be- 
fore him as in Galatians 2 : 2 when he expresses the 

' eiV rzabyy]iLa iiun e;? ijiiipav yptffrou. Note both uses of 
£??. No reason for saying " until " the day. 

" iiuil is the ethical dative. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," 

PP- 536, 539- 

'Arauj^rj/xa is result. * edpa/iov. The race. 


same dread about the Galatians. He does not wish 
it all to come to nothingness. The word for labour ' 
here means the weariness of labour. Toil and sweat 
and weariness were all for naught. It is a pitiful case 
when the preacher has to see the people go back to 
the flesh-pots of Egypt and leave his work null and 
void. The Philippians will be Paul's jewels in the 
presence of Christ as the mother of the Gracchi 
boasted of her boys. 

6. Paul's Sacrifice (verse 17^). 

" Yea, though ^ I am offered upon the sacrifice and 
service of your faith, " Paul adds. He will not shrink 
from death in order to be of service to them and to 
help them in their efforts to press on in the Christian 
life. He hopes to live, but he stands in the constant 
presence of death, and he is not afraid. He had 
faced death at Philippi and often since. It will come 
some day. He is ready now. It is not his apostolic 
office, but his very life that he offers. The picture 
here is of their faith ^ in the sense of their Christian 
life as a sacrifice * and priestly service.^ The Philip- 

^ Ino-Kiaaa. From //otto? exhausting toil (i Cor. 15 : 10; 
Gal. 4:11). In Rev. 14 : 13 see distinction drawn between 
^ipya. (works) and koniov (toils). 

^ £1 Kau " Even if" would be fcai d as some manuscripts 
have it. 

' -KiaTstoq. * dunia. 

^ XeiToupyia. From Xa6<i and epyov, work for the people. 
Cf. our " liturgy." 


plans as priests lay down upon the altar their Chris- 
tian lives (faith and fidelity). Upon' this Paul is 
ready to pour out ^ his own life as an additional sac- 
rifice in their service. It is not necessary to press 
the point whether Paul has in mind the Jewish cus- 
tom of pouring the drink offering around the altar 
or the heathen of pouring the libation upon the altar. 
The latter would be more familiar to the Philippians, 
but the point holds good in either case. Paul is 
wilHng to spend and be spent in the service of the 
Phihppians (cf, 2 Cor. 12 : 15^). One thinks of the 
student volunteers who offer their lives for mission 
service and challenge the churches to furnish the 
money for their support. One thinks of David Liv- 
ingstone who gave his life gladly for the healing of 
the open sore of the world in Africa. 

7. Mutual Joy (verses 1 7^-18). 

" I joy and rejoice^ with you all," says Paul. He 
is glad by himself to make the offering of his life, if 
this supreme sacrifice is demanded. He will not 
shrink back, but will meet it gladly, and all the more 
readily since he can share his joy with them. Fel- 

^ ( The verb is used in the /iie//i (certificates of 
pagan worship). Those who poured out libations to the gods 
obtained immunity. Cf. Milligan, " Selections from the Greek 
Papyri," pp. 11 4- 1 16. 

^ daTTavyjffiu Ka\ In daT^avr^Or^fyoiiai. 

* Xaipm fcai auy^aipu). The point in the repetition is 



lowship is a blessed reality. Paul is glad on his own 
account that he has been the instrument in their sal- 
vation (Kennedy). He is still more joyful at the ex- 
periences of grace which they have in Christ. Joy 
is not selfish, but wishes company. The woman in 
Luke 15:9 who found her lost piece of money 
called in her women friends and said : " Rejoice with 
me, for I have found the piece which I had lost." 
So the shepherd who found the one lost sheep said 
to his friends : " Rejoice with me, for I have found 
my sheep which was lost" (Luke 15:6). So the 
father says : '• Make merry, for this my son was 
dead, and is alive again ; he was lost, and is found '' 
(Luke 15 : 24). The child all aglow with his Christ- 
mas toys wishes other children to come and share 
his joys. " And in the same manner ' do ye also joy, 
and rejoice with me." Play up to your part of the 
joy. Plutarch ^ tells of the messenger from Marathon 
who expired on the first threshold in Athens with 
these words on his lips : " Rejoice and we rejoice." ^ 
Nowhere in the Epistle is Paul so insistent about joy 
as here. The Christian is rich in his joy in Christ. 
What joy it will be in heaven to tell the story of the 
triumph of Christ over sin in your life and in mine. 

* TO de aoTo. Adverbial accusative (of general reference). 
Cf. Robertson, *• Grammar," p. 487. 
^ Mor., p. 347 C. 


(2 : 19-30) 

MUCH as Paul loved doctrine, he also 
greatly loved people. He had a passion 
for folks and had hosts of friends wher- 
ever he laboured and even where he had not been as 
Romans 16 shows. Dan Crawford, the remarkable 
missionary of Central Africa and author of " Think- 
ing Black," speaks quaintly of fishing in the eyes of 
his friends. Paul knew how to do that and dearly 
loved the fellowship of the saints. We have many 
glimpses of his personal relationships in the Acts 
and in his Epistles. Paul had the most delightful 
ties with his fellow-workers. He had foes in plenty, 
but he also made friends fast and true. In the midst 
of this Epistle Paul talks in a charming way about 
his plans for communicating with the Philippians, a 
human touch that breaks the strain of theological ar- 
gument. This Epistle seems to have no formal or 
logical order.' It flows along in the most easy and 

^Clemen (" Einheitlichkeit der paulin. Briefe," p. 138) 
thinks that verses 19-21 do not belong here, but that is 
hypercriticism in a letter like this. 



natural way and treats the weightiest topics and the 
most incidental with equal ease and grace. 

I. Paul's Plans for Timothy (verses 19-23). 

He writes as the Master about the disciple. 
Timothy has evidently placed himself wholly at 
Paul's service in the matter of going or not going to 
Philippi. Perhaps the Philippians had wondered 
why Paul had not sent them more frequent messages. 
So then he writes in an apologetic vein about his 
conduct in the matter. 

(a) Timothy s Interest in the Philippians (verses 
19-21). The possibility of Paul's martyrdom (Phil. 
2:17) was only a remote one and did not interfere with 
his plans for sending word to Philippi. Paul has a 
very definite hope to send Timothy " shortly " ' to 
them, though how soon he cannot tell. His hope is 
centered " in the Lord Jesus." ^ This favourite Paul- 
ine idiom is not a mere pious phrase, but represents 
the very core of Paul's philosophy of life. Jesus is 
the circumference of all his thoughts and activities. 
Christ is both the center and the circumference of 
the circle of life for Paul. Christ is the key to the 
universe and to Paul's own life. He has no life out- 
side of Christ (cf. i : 8, 14 ; 2 : 24 ; 3:1; Rom. 

* Taii(ii<;. The use of the aorlst infinitive Tzi[i4>ai after 
iX-KiZiu rather than the future is in accord with fcoivq usage. 
Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 1081 f. 

'' iv Kupiui ^Ir}ffou. 


9:i; 14:14, etc.). Evidently Paul had tried to 
send messengers to Philippi, but had been unable to 
do so. Epaphroditus had been here in Rome a good 
while and Paul had grown anxious about the Philip- 
plans, " that I also may be of good cheer, when I 
know your state." * He himself will be of good spirit, 
good heart, good courage. He needed the good 
cheer that would come from good news about them. 
His reason for wishing to send Timothy in par- 
ticular is plainly given : •' For I have no man like- 
minded, who will care truly for your state." He 
means, of course, one like-minded ^ with Timothy. 
This is high tribute to the fidelity and disinterested- 
ness of Timothy who richly deserved it. He was 
such a friend that^ he would be genuinely* anxious* 
about the Philippians. He was Paul's companion 
and helper in the establishment of the Philippian 
church. Besides, Hke Paul, he had the shepherd 
heart and knew what anxiety for all the churches 
was (2 Cor. 1 1 : 28), a daily pressure ^ upon Paul's 

' "\>a kayu) etxj'u^dj yvnhis rri Tzep] 'up.ajv. This verb is rare 
(but cf. Josephus, Ant. XI, 6, 8), save that evcpu^ei is com- 
mon in epitaphs. But eui/'u^m^ is in i Mace. 9 : 14; 2 Mace. 
7 : 20 ; 14:18. Fvohii here is ingressive aorist, come to know. 

^ i(To(l'u^()v. It is a rare word. Cf. ^schylus, Agam. 
1470 and Psalm 54 (55): 14 (13). Vulgate has unanimem. 

^ orrrf? almost consecutive (certainly sub-final) here. Cf. 
Robertson, *' Grammar," p. 996. 

* Yvrjaiw<s. By birth relation, naturally, sincerely. 

^ /jL£ptjxvijff£t. Common word for anxiety (cf. Matt. 6 : 25). 

* iitiazaat<s. A load standing or staying upon Paul's soul. 


heart. No other preacher is really worth while. 
The minister who is out for money will not win souls 
and feed them. The man who puts his own selfish 
interests before the Kingdom of God will not have 
the sacrificial spirit. Paul has a hard word to add : 
" For they all seek their own, not the things of 
Christ."^ "This is a very severe indictment of the 
rest of Paul's friends in Rome. We do not know all 
the circumstances. Perhaps Paul is only speaking of 
those who were in a position to make the long (for 
that time) trip from Rome to Philippi and back. It 
is possible that Luke and Aristarchus were absent 
from the city at this time. Paul is a man of quick 
impulses and we may have here a pessimistic note in 
this optimistic letter. The very exceptional conse- 
cration of Timothy set in relief the hesitation of the 
rest. But there is small wonder (Kennedy) that Paul 
should feel hurt at the lack of inclination on the part 
of any of his friends save Timothy to make the sac- 
rifice of time and energy necessary for the journey. 
" The whole number," says Paul, put their own inter- 
ests before the interests of Christ. Augustine says 
that Paul's companions here in Rome were merce- 
nary. Paul certainly loved Luke, the beloved physi- 
cian (Col. 4: 14), and it is hard to think of him as 
mercenary and selfish. He was, as already suggested, 
probably out of town. It may be urged by some 
that Paul allowed himself to go too far in interpreting 
' ol ndvTS? yap tol kauruiv ^rjzoufftv, 00 rd ^ptcrrou ^Irjffou, 


his own eagerness to hear from Philippi as the clear 
will of God. Certainly the interpretation of Provi- 
dence is not always easy. More than one angle of 
vision is often possible. But, after all, it is amazing 
what good excuses men can find for doing their own 
way, the easy way, in a crisis rather than the hard 
way which may be God's way. If the duty seems 
unpleasant, we often seek reasons for thinking that it 
is not duty at all. At any rate, one is not wide of 
the mark if he says that nothing so hinders the ef- 
fectiveness of our churches as just this tendency to 
put our own interests before those of the Kingdom 
of God. Many a pastor is dreary and despondent 
as he faces progressive enterprises in the church 
work because so many ask to be excused. They 
say that they really do not have time. These stern 
words of Paul come to one's mind, if not his lips, at 
a time like that. But Paul is not a man to be 
blocked by the refusal of men to do the work that 
is called for. If one way fails, there is always an- 
other way open. 

{b) Timothy's Devotion to Paul (verse 22). Paul 
has no need to tell the Phihppians about Timothy, 
whose character is in such contrast ' to " the all " 
who put their own interests first. " Ye know (by 
experience^ as seen in Acts i6 and 17) the proof 

' <?£. Adversative here, not continuative. Cf. Robertson, 
** Grammar," p. 1186. 
"^ycvdiff/cere, not ol'daze. 


(approved character') of him." When put to the 
test in Philippi, Timothy proved true. His love and 
loyalty they well know and they need only a reminder 
to bring it all back to them. Paul starts to say that, 
as a child served a father ,2 so Timothy served^ me, 
but his refined feehng and instinctive humility (Ken- 
nedy) and delicacy lead Paul to change the structure 
of the sentence. He is checked also by the thought 
(Vincent) that both he and Timothy are servants of 
Christ (Phil. I : i). So he says : " served with me " * 
as father and son in the common cause, side by side, 
" in the gospel " or " for the gospel " ^ however we 
take it. Either is possible and either sphere or pur- 
pose makes sense. The feeling of camaraderie and 
companionship is uppermost in Paul's mind. Timo- 
thy and Paul have served together in the trenches 
as comrades in the army of Christ. Paul elsewhere 
bears hearty testimony to the service of Timothy as 
" my beloved child and faithful in the Lord " (i Cor. 
4 : 17), " for he does the work of the Lord as I also " 
(i Cor. 16 : 10). Cf. also i Tim. i : 2 ; 2 Tim. i : 2. 
This devotion was all the more appreciated by Paul 
if we admit that Timothy was not vigorous in health 

^ SofitfXTjv. Used for process of trial (2 Cor. 8 : 2) and re- 
sult of trial (2 Cor. 2 : 9) and here (Vincent). Vulgate has 

^ w? Tzarpl riftvov. 

^ idouXsuffev. Figure of slave (^douXog) and master. 

* cbv ifio}. 

^££9 TO euayyiXtov. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 591 f. 


and had a natural timidity of disposition. His loyalty 
was unimpeachable. He stood ready to serve Christ 

(c) PauVs Need of TiviotJiy (verse 23). As things 
are with Paul now in Rome, he cannot spare Timo- 
thy till the cloud has vanished and Paul is free again. 
Then he will dispatch Timothy iiistauter, for he 
knows that the Philippians will wish to know how it 
goes with Paul.' Paul here resumes the standpoint 
of verse 19. Meanwhile Paul needs Timothy by his 
side and can only cherish the hope of sending him 
soon. Then he can tell about the outcome of the 

2. Paul's Trust About Himself (verse 24). 

He has a hope' of sending Timothy, a trust' 
in the Lord (cf. i : 14; 2 : 19) of coming himself 
soon.* There is a curious parallel in Paul's lan- 
guage about his proposed visit to Corinth after he 
had sent Timothy thither : " But I shall come to you 
shortly, if the Lord wiH"(i Cor. 4 : 19). If Paul 

* TO. TTEpt ifiif the things concerning me. The use of wp uv 
as a temporal conjunction occurs also in Rom. 15 : 24 ; i Cor. 
11:34. It occurs in the papyri. Cf. Robertson, " Gram- 
mar," p. 974. The aspirated form a<fi8u) is here correct and 
is amply supported in the papyri. Cf. Robertson, " Gram- 
mar," p. 224, and Lightfoot, in loco. 'E^auTrji^ occurs chiefly 
in Acts. The Vulgate has mox. 

^ TiiTzotOa. Second perfect, state of confidence. 

* ra^iiu^. Shortly or swiftly. 


wrote Philippians before Colossians, Ephesians and 
Philemon, he was not able to come right away, but 
only after a year or so. We do not know precisely 
what Paul's expectations were about this " shortly." 
The whim of a Nero was an elusive thing to count 
upon. But he no longer thinks of going on to Spain 
first as he had once planned (Rom. 15:28). His 
heart now turns to the east (Phile. 22). His long 
imprisonment in Caesarea and Rome has made it 
necessary for Paul to set things in order in the east. 
The Gnostic disturbers had already appeared on the 
horizon before Paul left Asia (Acts 20 : 29 f.). These 
" grievous wolves " had taken full advantage of Paul's 
absence to play havoc with the flock in various parts 
of Asia. Philippi also tugs at Paul's heart which 
now definitely turns eastward. When he was re- 
leased, it seems probable that he did go east at once. 
We catch traces of Paul's tracks at Miletus (2 Tim. 
4: 20), Ephesus(iTim. i : 3), Macedonia and so prob- 
ably Philippi (i Tim. 1:3), Troas (2 Tim. 4:13), 
Nicopolis (Titus 3: 12). We may believe therefore 
that in time the Philippians did see Paul again as well 
as Timothy who was certainly in the east (l Tim. i : 3). 

3. The Immediate Return of Epaphroditus 
(verses 25-30). 

The way is clear for this at any rate and now at 
last. For long this boon seemed remote if not im- 
possible. But God has been good to Epaphroditus, to 


Paul, and to the Philippians in sparing the life of this 
good man. So Epaphroditus is to go at once as the 
bearer of this Epistle and of Paul's love and blessing. 
(a) His Return Necessary (verses 25 f.). His 
" hopes " aside, Paul faces ' the immediate necessity ^ 
of sending Epaphroditus at once. It is important for 
Paul to keep in vital touch with the work lest it lan- 
guish and die, but the special reason for the urgency 
is the anxiety of Epaphroditus and theirs about him 
as Paul explains. There is no reason for confusing 
this Epaphroditus of Philippi with Epaphras of 
Colossae (Col. 1:7; 4: 12; Phile. 23), even if the 
latter is a shortened form of the other name,^ for the 
name in both forms is common enough all over the 
empire. There is nothing in the tradition that this 
Epaphroditus was Nero's secretary, due to allusions in 
Suetonius (Nero, 49; Domitian, 14). Paul describes 
him as his brother^ in the Christian brotherhood, as 
his fellow-worker ° in the cause of Christ, as his fellow- 
soldier^ in the conflict with Christ's enemies. He is 

' rjYrj(TdiJ.-qv is epistolary aorist like e-izsfKl'a in verse 28. 
Proof also that Epaphroditus bore the Epistle. 
^ avayUaTov, Cf. 2 Cor. 9 : 5 for same idiom. 
^ Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 172 ; Lightfoot, in loco. 

* aSeXcpov, ^ auvepyov. 

* au'^(7TpaTi(ozrjv. Cf. Philemon 2. Very common meta- 
phor with Paul. Moulton and Milligan (" Lexical Notes," 
Expositor, Sept., 1911) quote from BU 814*7 (iii, a. d.) 
ni^'priixai yaXnov n^a^pa Ourrrpartiurou when a soldier in a 
letter to his mother says : " I have borrowed money from a 
fellow soldier." 


Paul's comrade in love, in work, and in peril, •' common 
sympathy, common work, common danger " (Light- 
foot). But the Philippians regard him as their 
" apostle " ' or " messenger " to Paul as he was in 
truth and also their " minister," ^ " sacrificial minis- 
ter " it almost turned out to be, to Paul's need. He 
rendered a priestly service at any rate. Epaphroditus 
brought their gifts (Phil. 4: 18) which Paul there calls 
a " sacrifice " ^ as in 2 : 30 a " service," ^ an oblation 
to God.^ The qualifications of Epaphroditus for 
service to both Paul and the Philippians are thus 
excellent. He was not the equal in gifts to Timothy, 
but Paul used gladly the services of less gifted men. 
Not all men can be leaders and pioneers. Moses had 
Aaron, Luther had Melancthon (cf. Baskerville, in 

But Paul had a specific reason^ for sending Epaph- 
roditus now. The simple truth was that Epaphro- 
ditus was intensely homesick. " He longed after you 
all " ^ with yearning pothos and pathos. He " was 

* d.izoaro'kov. Here in the original and general sense of the 
word, not one of the Twelve or like Paul (cf. 2 Cor. 8 : 23). 

"^ XeiToupybv. * duaiav. 

* }.£iToupy{ag. 

^ On Paul's use of pagan terms see Ramsay, Exp. Times, 
X, 1-5. 

® inetdij. Only in three other places in Paul's Epistles. 
Cf. Robertson, ** Grammar," p. 965. 

' iizcnodciv -qv. Periphrastic imperfect adds to the notion of 

continuance. Note Itzi Cf. Phil. 1:8. It is a strong 



sore troubled " ' in anguish of heart, either from dis- 
gust at the situation or from a real case of homesick- 
ness. At any rate he was sick at heart now " because 
ye had heard that he was sick," ^ It is a common 
feeling for the sick to conceal the serious nature of 
the illness from their loved ones so as to avoid giving 
pain. Perhaps the Philippians on hearing of the ill- 
ness of Epaphroditus had written Paul a letter about 
it. If so, Paul was now replying to that letter. As 
it was, the heart of Epaphroditus was pierced to the 
quick with anxiety. This touch of human sympathy 
is hfe itself. 

{p) The Recent Peril of Epaphroditus {y^rsQ 27). 
Paul has put the thing too mildly, " for indeed " ^ 
(really) " he was sick nigh unto death." ^ What this 
sickness was we do not know. Epaphroditus may 
have run great risk on his way to Rome. He may 
have come in the hot season and have caught the 
terrible Roman fever, a plague yet in spite of our 
knowledge of the mosquito. Some have suggested 
that Paul was more closely confined after the arrival 

' ddrjfiuJv. The etymology is wholly conjectural whether 
from ad-qiiois (away from home) or from ddrj/xiuv (distressed). 

* dtoTt rj/<i){>(Tars art TJaOivrjnev. Note diori (causal) and 
liTt (declarative) and the two aorists. He " fell sick " (in- 
gressive aorist). 

•' Kai yrifK Ascensive force of kai. Cf. Robertson, 
** Grammar," p. 1 181. 

* nafxxTzXrjfTiov Oavdroo. Most MSS. read Oavdrw, but W 
H follow B P here. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 646. 
Cf. also p. 203 for change of w and ou. 


of Epaphroditus who had more exposure. But, 
whatever the cause, God took pity ' on Epaphro- 
ditus and, Paul adds with deUcacy of feehng, " on me 
also," ^ and in particular, " that I might not have 
sorrow upon sorrow " ^ as if wave upon wave of woe 
would overwhelm Paul with a flood, Epaphroditus' 
death piled upon Paul's imprisonment. That would 
be more than Paul could stand. Isaiah spoke of 
*« tribulation upon tribulation," ^ the Psalms of Solo- 
mon of" sin. upon sin," ''and Jesus of "stone upon 
stone." ^ We have a proverb about trouble : " It never 
rains, but it pours." But that is the philosophy of 
pessimism. The waves did stop rolHng over Paul 
and Epaphroditus was spared. 

{c) Welcome for Epaphroditus (verses 28 f.). The 
final recovery of Epaphroditus, added to the anxiety of 
the Philippians, led Paul to speed ^ in sending^ him to 
the Philippians, to more ^ eagerness on Paul's part 

^ aXXa 6 deo? ijXirjaev. ^ oun aurov fj.6vov, dXXd fiai kfii. 
^ 'iva ij.rj XunrjV in\ X^tttjv ff^cb, 

* 28 : 10 dXi4nv in] OXiipcv. 

* 3 : 7 ajiapTta iizi diiapriav. 

^ Matt. 24 : 2 XiOo^ in) Xtdov. The MSS. vary here in 
Phil. 2 : 27 between Xun^ and Xunrjv with int. Either makes 
good sense. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 602, 604. 
Note punctiliar idea in rrj/oi, get. 

' ou>. Therefore, because of the circumstance. 

^ k'ne/K/m. Epistolary aorist, 

^ (ynnudacoripoj?. There is no reason for taking this com- 
parative as a positive or even as a superlative. Cf. Robert- 
son, " Grammar," pp. 664 f. The object of comparison is 


than he would have had. He has lost no time in 
getting Epaphroditus off, " that, when ye see him 
again, ye may rejoice." ' Paul is anxious for the 
Philippians to recover their cheerfulness which had 
been clouded by the sickness of Epaphroditus. Their 
joy will react on .Paul and make him happy. The 
best way to be happy is to make others happy. 
" And that I may be less sorrowful " ^ than I have 
been. Paul states his own joy euphemistically. He 
understands the yearning of Epaphroditus and the 
anxiety of the Philippians. " Who is weak, and I 
am not weak? Who is caused to stumble and I 
burn not ? " (2 Cor. 1 1 : 29). 

♦' Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy." ^ 
Give him a royal welcome. The command seems 
superfluous, but none the less Paul makes it. He 
only wishes he could have a share in it. We may 
be sure that the Philippians did this thing and took 
Epaphroditus to their hearts. He had come back 
from the very grave and deserved a conqueror's 
welcome. He had been a hero of faith. " Hold 
such in honour." ^ This plea for the proper esteem 
and treatment of soldiers of the cross is not without 
point to-day. Certainly preachers get their share 

' Iva idovreg auTuv ndXtv ^apr^re. 

* /idyw dXuTtoTepoii u>. 

' Tzpocrdiytfrde oov auzov fitrd ndffTjg yapd<;. A continuous 
welcome (present tense). 

* Tobg ToiouTou^ ivTifxui)^ eyere. Keep on doing so (pres- 
ent tense). 


of public esteem and criticism. They are outstand- 
ing targets and cannot escape a certain amount of 
rough handling which is not wholly bad. As a rule 
preachers get what love they deserve and often more. 
It is well to insist that ministers deserve due appre- 
ciation because of the high and holy task committed 
to them, particularly if they do their duty steadily 
and faithfully. But, as a rule, preachers are paid a 
pitiful salary and are expected to live on less than 
most other people with economy and good appear- 
ances. There is something better than monuments 
and that is right treatment while they live. In par- 
ticular, one may note with pleasure the endowment 
funds for aged ministers now under way in most 
of the denominations. That is the least that can be 
done and it ought to be done. Any decent nation 
takes care of its old soldiers. 

{d) Risking All for the Work of Christ (verse 30). 
Epaphroditus deserves the welcome of a hero " be- 
cause for the work of Christ he came nigh unto 
death." ' Already " the work " was getting a tech- 
nical meaning like '• the way," " the name." It sig- 
nified " the cause " of Christ ^ and Paul used it 
absolutely^ in Acts 15:38 about John Mark who 
*♦ went not with them to the work." The courage 

^ OTi did TO k'pyov Xptaroo iJ-iypt OavaTuo ijyyiff&v. Note 
causal conjunction Stc and preposition did. 
^ Many MSS. have Kupiou. 
*As Ignatius does in Eph. 14, Rom. 3. 


of Epaphroditus stands over against the timidity of 
John Mark. Witness the heroes of faith in Revela- 
tion 12: II who "loved not their life even unto 
death." It is possible to be too careful of one's own 
life at the cost of real usefulness. One does not wish 
to be foolhardy, but soldiers dare danger as do doc- 
tors and drummers and all sorts of men. So Epaph- 
roditus really hazarded ' his life for the work of 
Christ. Paul uses here a gambler's phrase. Epaph- 
roditus gambled with his life in the risk that he ran 
in coming to Rome, either from the Roman fever 
or Nero's wrath or some unknown peril. The early 
Christians called those who risked their lives for 
Christ " Parabolani " or " the Riskers," the brother- 
hood of those who dared all for Christ as Aquila and 
Priscilla risked their necks for Paul (Rom. 16:4). 
Charles Kingsley pictures these "Riskers" for the 
souls of men in Hypatia. Epaphroditus did this to 
fill up 2 what was lacking^ in the service^ of the Phi- 
lippians for Paul. They could not come themselves 
in person and could only send their love by proxy. 

^ TrapajSoXeufrdjxsvo? r^ 4"^xfi' The verb Ttapa/SoXeOofxat 
is from the adjective -napd^uh)^ rash, reckless, gambling. Cf. 
Tzapa^aXi(70ai rat? (,''u-(ali} in Diod. 3, 36, 4. In Roman 
law the appellant deposited a stake (jcapdiSuXov') which he for- 
feited if he lost his case. Deissmann (" Light from Ancient 
East," p. 84) cites the verb from an inscription of II cent. 
A. D. in sense of exposing oneself. 

"^ dvanXTjpwarj. Cf. Col. I : 24. Fill up to the brim. 

^ ixTTiprjiia. No reproach in this term. 

* XsiToupyia's. Sacrificial service. 


But Epaphroditus dared all and did this sacrificial 
service which Paul would never forget. " For that 
which was lacking on your part they supplied " (i Cor. 
16: 17; cf. 2 Cor. 11:9). Paul's feeling towards the 
Corinthians is repeated in the case of the Philippians, 



THIS paragraph challenges comparison with 
the great one in 2:1-11 concerning the 
Person of Christ. Here the Passion of 
Paul for Hkeness to Christ is expressed with the 
utmost energy and yearning of his soul. Nowhere 
does his mysticism find a nobler statement. Paul is 
greatest when his intellect is set on fire with love for 
Christ. No Knight in search of the Holy Grail ever 
had such elevation of feeling as Paul here reveals. 
This is the true chivalry, the Passion for Christ. 

I. Repetition of the Commonplace (verses 1-3). 

It is possible that Paul at first meant to conclude 
his letter at this point, when he wrote " finally,' 
brethren," though that is by no means the necessary 
meaning of his language. The phrase literally means 
" what is left," " the rest " as in i Thessalonians 4:1; 
2 Thessalonians 3:1. It may mean "henceforth" 

^ ru Xoi-Kov. The case is accusative of extent of time. Cf. 
Robertson, " Grammar," p. 470. For the use of Xoikov like 
oov see p. 1146. For a similar use in Epictetus see Class. 
Review, III, p. 71. 



as in Mark 14:41 ; i Corinthians 7: 29; 2 Timothy 
4:8. It may mean only " now " {jani) or " there- 
fore " as in Matthew 26:45; Acts 27:20. The 
meaning " finally " is also correct as in 2 Corinthians 
13 : II. On the whole I incline to the view that Paul 
did not mean to close the Epistle, but simply turns 
to the remaining topics before him with the repetition 
of " rejoice." ' Lightfoot translates by " farewell," 
a possible, though not probable rendering. Joy is the 
dominant note in the Epistle so far and it rings on 
to the end. But the refrain is joy " in the Lord " as 
Paul so often says about all his experiences. 

The next sentence puzzles the commentators no 
little : " To write the same things to you,^ to me in- 
deed is not irksome, but for you it is safe." To what 
does Paul refer ? Is it the repetition of " rejoice " in 
this same Epistle ? To keep on writing this message 
is not tedious' to me, " but for you it is safe." * It 
makes you steadfast, or stable, able to stand. Does 
Paul refer to a previous letter in which he gave warn- 
ings which he^now repeats ? That is possible, though 
not certain.^ Paul did write letters which we do not 

^ y^aipSTS. Cf. 2:18; 4:4. 

^ TO. aura ypdipstv vixlv. Note linear action (present infin- 

^ oKvrjpov. From 6/iviu), to hesitate. Means sluggish, 
slothful, " poky," tiresome. Does not make me tired. Cf. 
Matt. 25 : z6 ; Rom. 12: 1 1 . 

* dfffaXi^. Not to trip or to fall. 

^ Polycarp's use of kTziffroXai {ad Phil, iii.) does not prove 
it as the plural was sometimes applied to single letters. 


now possess (i Cor. 5 :9; 2 Cor. 10: lof. ; 2 Thess. 
2: 15 ; 3: 17). Whatever it is, Paul repeats it with 
a slight apology. Every speaker has a certain 
hesitancy in repeating things to the same audience, 
though it is more or less necessary if one is to be 
effective. Particularly do teachers find repetition 
necessary. Some people are almost immune to new 
ideas. They must be taught line upon line, precept 
upon precept. It is not pleasant to speak to people 
who do not care to hear. It is easier to write, but 
even so the edge of expectancy is dulled. But Paul 
is sustained by the great need of his warning on the 
part of the Philippians and goes right on. 

It is quite possible that the tendency to dissension 
in the Philippians to which he has already several 
times alluded was complicated with the Judaizing 
heresy since Paul proceeds to warn his readers 
against the Judaizers in very pointed language. If 
so, it was eminently "safe" for the Phihppians for 
Paul to repeat his warnings against these subtle and 
dangerous teachers. Three times with striking repeti- 
tion " in the intense energy of his invective " (Ken- 
nedy) Paul makes his warning : " Beware, beware, 
beware." ' It is more exactly " look out for," ^ rather 
than " beware of," though that idea naturally follows. 

' iSlinere, (Hinere, (iXiTzsre. 

'^ With accusative roog ftuva? (as in 2 John 8) rather than 
with uKo (as in Mark 8 : 15). Cf. 2 Chron. 10 : 16 and 
Robertson, " Grammar," p. 471. 


He is not describing three classes of opponents, but 
only one by the use of " the dogs, the evil workers, 
the concision." There can only be one group whom 
Paul would so picture and that is the Judaizers whom 
Paul had already termed " false apostles, deceitful 
workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of 
Christ " (2 Cor. 11:13). If one is shocked at Paul's 
use of the word dogs' for the Judaizers, he may be 
reminded that this was the common description of 
the Gentiles by the Jews. A Jew was forbidden to 
bring the price of a dog into the house of God to pay 
a vow (Deut. 23: 18). Jesus Himself, though in a 
more or less playful vein, employed the word for 
" little dogs," ^ of the Gentiles in speaking to the 
Syro-Phcenician woman (Matt. 1 5 : 26) and she took 
no offence at it, but took it up as a pleasantry with 
the retort about " the little dogs " eating the crumbs 
under their masters' table (15 : 27). So then Paul is 
here but retorting to the Judaizers who are the real 
spiritual dogs while the Gentiles have understood 
the truth about Christ. Dogs were the common 
scavengers in the Oriental cities and were considered 
very unclean by Jews for obvious reasons. In Revela- 
tion 22:15 the term " dogs " is applied to those 
" whose impurity excludes them from the heavenly 
city " (Vincent). We need not split hairs over the 
precise point in the impurity that Paul means to bring 
out, whether shamelessness, insolence, cunning, 

* Tob'i k\jva<i, ^ TOL ffuvdpta. 


greediness, roving tendencies and howling, snappish- 
ness. Certainly these Judaizing dogs had dogged 
Paul's steps all over the empire, snapping at his heels 
and barking after him at a distance. At any rate 
the moral impurity of the Judaizers is the subject of 
Paul's contempt. Look out for these dogs, for they 
will bite. Cave canem. That sign appears at the 
gate where dangerous dogs are to be found. These 
" dogs " are also " evil workers." ' They are actively 
at work, but in the wrong direction. They are busy 
doing wrong, fine specimens of wasted energy. Paul 
calls them " hucksters " ^ in 2 Corinthians 2:17 with 
the implication of corruption and fraud so often true of 
those who put the best apples on the top of the barrel, 
the prettiest strawberries on the top of the basket. 
These Judaizers, like the Pharisees before them, com- 
passed sea and land to make one proselyte and 
made him twofold more a son of hell than they were 
(Matt. 23:15). Once more Paul speaks of the 
Judaizers as " the concision."^ They had mutilated 
the ordinance of circumcision in making it essential 

^ TOW? Kavohq ipyaTa?. Cf. ipydrat duXiot in 2 Cor. 
II : 13. Crooked sticks at best. 

* /zanrjXe6ovTt<s. 

" T^v Rararofi-^v. The word in the LXX is used only of mu- 
tilations as in Lev. 21 : 5 ; l Kings 18: 28. The annominatio 
here of kararoiiij, Treptroiitj, is a common figure with Paul 
(cf. Rom. 12:3; 2 Thess. 3:11). Cf. Robertson, 
•' Grammar," p. 1201. These plays on words are common. 
An ambassador to Spain said he was sent not to Spain, but to 
Pain. Coleridge called French philosophy " psilosophy." 


to salvation. Christians are the true circumcision as 
Paul states elsewhere (Rom. 2: 25-29; Eph. 2: 11 ; 
Col. 2:11), the circumcision of the heart which was 
symbohzed by that of the flesh. 

Paul gives three reasons for holding that Christians 
are the real circumcision. We " worship by the Spirit 
of God." This is the probable translation. The 
word ' is the one used for ritual worship, but it means 
here the true worship of God who is spirit (John 
4 : 24) with our spirits by the help of the Spirit of 
God. Then again true Christians " glory in Christ 
Jesus." ^ This word glory or exult " expresses with 
great vividness the high level of Christian life " 
(Kennedy) and belongs to Paul's " triumphant 
mood." Once more, " we do not put our trust in 
the flesh." ^ By " flesh " here Paul means the unre- 
newed human nature, not in the state of grace, even 
if one is observing ritual ceremonies. It is a vivid 
picture of the mere ceremonialist who is unsaved. 
This use of " flesh " is common in Galatians and 
Romans (cf. Rom. 8 : 4-8). In Galatians 5 : 2-6 
Paul places the mere ceremonialist outside of 

2. Religious Pride (verses 4-6). 

This pride of religion was at bottom the cause of the 

* XaTpiuovTe^. 

"^ /iau)^(Iilxevo(. iv y^piaru) ''I-qaov. Cf. Rom. 2 : 17; I Cor. 
1:31; 2 Cor. 10 : 17 ; Gal. 6 : 14. 
^ kai ou/c kv aapf{\ Tter^oid6Tt<i. 


hatred of Paul by the Jews and the Judaizers. There 
is much of it to-day, alas. John the Baptist smote 
it hip and thigh when the proud Pharisees and Sad- 
ducees came to hear him down by the Jordan. 
" Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abra- 
ham to our father " (Matt. 3 : 9). Instead of being 
the spiritual children of Abraham by reason of 
ecclesiastical privileges John called them a brood of 
vipers as did Jesus later (Matt. 12: 34) and also chil- 
dren of the devil (John 8:44). Paul understands 
perfectly the standpoint of these Pharisaic disciples. 
He had been there himself and once gloried in all 
the things on which they now pride themselves. He 
had once before made out an ironical bill of particulars 
in ridicule of their carnal religious pride (2 Cor. 
II : 16-30), once v^rhen he played the fool for Christ's 
sake, " that I also may glory a little." So now he 
has as much right to boast of his Jewish prerogatives 
as the Judaizers, " though I myself might have confi- 
dence even in the flesh." ' Paul appreciates to the 
full the dignity of being a Jew (Rom. 3 : i f.). He 
places himself for the moment at the Jewish stand- 
point. " Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I 
will glory also" (2 Cor. 11 : 18). He is here speak- 
ing " foolishly " and " not after the Lord." " If any 
other man thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I 

' rzaiizsp lyw k'^iov ne-rotOrjm'^ izoa l\> aapfzi. Concessive 
clause with nair^zp and the participle. Cf. Robertson, 
♦* Grammar," p. i \ 29. 


yet more." ' " If they arrogate to themselves these 
carnal privileges, I also arrogate them to myself" 
(Lightfoot). I have as much right to do it as the 

Paul now proceeds to prove the point of his argu- 
mentiim ad hominein. There is here the same depth 
of feehng on Paul's part as in 2 Corinthians ii : 21, 
but less tumultuous eagerness and a more subdued 
tone (Lightfoot). There is undoubtedly " a certain 
natural pride in recounting his hereditary privileges " ?*" ' 
(Kennedy), a(pride^^xhibited even in the sadness of (jcc-o*^"^ '^ 
heart with which they are recounted in Romans 
9:3-5. «« In circumcision eight days old."^ This 
was according to Jewish custom and Paul was thus 
an orthodox Israelite (Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3). 
Circumcision was practiced in Egypt and the papyri 
give instances of it. Ishmaelites postponed it till the 
thirteenth year (Gen. 17:25). He was also " of the 
stock of Israel." ^ He was not a proselyte (Vincent), 
but belonged to the original stock of Jacob whose 

* £? T£?. do/te~i aXXog Trenocdivat iv aapkij kyu) fiaXXov. 
Condition of the first class, determined as fulfilled. Cf. Rob- 
ertson, " Grammar," pp. 1007 fF. Cf. [xri do^rjzs in Matt. 


^ TTzpiTopifi o^Tarjfiepog. For the locative with adjectives 
see Robertson, " Grammar," p. 523. For this use of the 
temporal adjective like TerapTdlo's (John 1 1 : 39) see Robert- 
son, " Grammar," p. 657. 

* ^k yi'^uu<i ^Iffpay^k. The use 0^ hk for class or country is 
common (cf. John 3:1). 'I<rpaijX is appositive genitive. Cf. 
Robertson, " Grammar," p. 498. 


covenant name was Israel (Gen. 32 : 28). The Edom- 
ites were descended from Isaac through Esau and 
the Ishmaehtes also from Abraham. Paul was a 
genuine Israelite in the covenant of grace (Rom. 
9:4; 2 Cor. 1 1 : 22). Once more Paul was " of the 
tribe of Benjamin." * Benjamin was the son of 
Rachel, Jacob's beloved wife (Gen. 35:i7f.), and 
alone of the sons of Jacob was born in Palestine. 
The tribe of Benjamin gave the first king whose 
name (Saul) Paul also bore (i Sam. 9: if.). This 
tribe also had the post of honour in battle. " After 
thee Benjamin " (Judg. 5 : 14). Mordecai was a Ben- 
jaminite. Benjamin alone remained faithful to Judah 
when the kingdom was divided ( I Kings 12: 21). After 
the exile it was merged with Judah (Ezra 4: 1). Paul 
was evidently proud of his descent from this httle tribe 
(cf. Rom. 1 1 : 1 ; Acts 13:21). Paul was a true Ben- 
jaminite as a persecutor before his conversion : *• In 
the morning he shall devour the prey and at night he 
shall divide the spoil " (Gen. 49 : 27). Paul was also 
" a Hebrew of the Hebrews." ^ By this phrase Paul 
means that he is a Hebrew sprung from Hebrews. 
The word Hebrew originally meant " passed over " 
in reference to Abram the Hebrew, as designated by 
foreigners. It was first used then to distinguish 
Abraham's descendants from other nations or 
peoples. They themselves preferred the term Israel 
or children of Israel. After the return from the ex- 
* <poXfi<i Bevtafieiv. ' ^E^paio^ i^ ^EjSpaitov. 


ile " Jew " ' came to be the common term in contrast 
with Greek (cf. Rom. i : 16), " we being Jews by na- 
ture, and not sinners of the Gentiles " (Gal. 2 : 15). 
Hebrew was now used chiefly for the language and 
customs of the Jews rather than for the race. It 
served to distinguish between two kinds of Jews. 
Those that spoke only the Greek language and fol- 
lowed some of the Greek customs were termed 
Hellenists,^ while those who spoke Aramaic (He- 
brew as in Acts 21 : 40; 22 : 2) were called Hebrews. 
This distinction is drawn in Acts 6 : i between the 
Hebrew and Hellenistic widows, both classes being 
Jewish Christians. Paul lived in Tarsus, a great 
Greek city of Cilicia, and spoke Greek, but he also 
spoke Aramaic and was loyal to the Hebrew tra- 
ditions of the fathers. He comes of the Aramaean 
line, not the Hellenistic. He belonged to the purest 
and most loyal type of Jews, the Hebrews. He was 
both Hellenist and Hebrew. 

But this is not all. In his own personal character- 
istics the same fidelity is found, " as touching the 
law, a Pharisee."' Besides the inherited privileges he 
made his choice along the same line. He was in 
truth the son of a Pharisee (Acts 23 : 6). But he was 
a loyal and zealous Pharisee as opposed to the Sad- 
ducees. He was a diligent student of Pharisaism 
(Gal. I : 14) at the feet of Gamaliel in Jerusalem 

* ^louSalo? — "EX^Tjv. ^ 'EXXTjviaryj'i. 

^ KaTo. voixov 4>apiffaTog. Cf. Acts 22 : 3 ; 23 : 6 ; 26 : 5. 


(Acts 22 : 3) and he lived a Pharisee " after thestrait- 
est sect of our reHgion " (Acts 26 : 5), Indeed, in some 
points Paul was always a Pharisee (Acts 23 : 6). They 
were not wrong in everything (cf. Matt. 23 : 3). Paul 
undoubtedly received a deep impress from the school 
of Hillel and he always revered the law of Moses as 
the law of God (Rom. 7: 12, 14, etc.). The Phari- 
sees in reality struck down the law of God by their 
tradition (Mark 15:2, 3, 6). " As touching zeal, per- 
secuting the church." ' Vincent takes this language 
as ironical. " I was so very zealous that I became a 
persecutor of the church." Certainly the early Chris- 
tians knew full well how true it was. One of the out- 
growths of Pharisaism was the Zealot party which 
brought on the war with Rome and the destruction 
of Jerusalem. Paul calls himself a Pharisaic zealot in 
Galatians i : 14. The story in Acts 8 : i ff. amply 
justifies Paul's ironical claim. Once Paul did ex- 
actly what the Judaizers are now doing to Paul, 
" As touching the righteousness which is in the law 
blameless." ^ He means ceremonially blameless, of 
course, for that was righteousness to the Pharisee. 
This doing of righteousness was denounced by Jesus 
in Matthew 6 ; 1-18 as punctilious performance of out- 
ward rules " to be seen of men " (cf. also Matt. 
23 : 5). This righteousness was tested by the stand- 

^ /card C^-^of dtcoA'wv ttjv i/c/c^rjfft'av. Note neuter form 
of !^r/?.og here. 

^ /lard ducaioffuvTjv zr^v iv vofit^ yevofievoi afie/xnTO^, 


ard ' of the law (cf. Ps. Sol. 9 : 9). Jewish thought 
gave unusual prominence to righteousness? In 
Romans 7 Paul describes his own fruitless efforts to 
satisfy his own conscience when once disturbed out 
of its complacent attitude. The rich young ruler 
(Mark 10 : 17-22) shows the self-satisfaction of the 
average Jewish moralist whose religion consisted in 
doing ritual and legal requirements. He felt himself 
" blameless " though he loved self more than God. 

Paul has made out such a good case for himself 
that one may half-way believe that Paul regrets his 
charge or at least thinks it useless. But he is simply 
making good his claim of " I yet more " in verse 4. 
He is trying to shame, if possible, those who, though 
nominal Christians, still set up their own claims to 
religious aristocracy. It is quite possible to-day for 
Christians to have pride, forsooth, not in Christ, but 
in themselves, in their social prestige, in the church to 
which they belong, in their denomination, in the pas- 
tor, in the music, in the church architecture. Each 
denomination may develop a special kind of pride 
on a par with Paul's pride as a Pharisee. Certainly 
each denomination has developed a special type of 
piety and Christian life. ■'' 

3. Change of Values (verses 7 f.). 

This category of religious prerogatives which Paul 

* izaxa. 

* Cf. Weber, " Lehren des Talmud," pp. 209 f. 


has made in verses 5 and 6 once satisfied Paul's 
ideals. They were such things as ' " I used to count 
up with a miserly greed and reckon to my credit" 
(Lightfoot). Like a miser he took peculiar delight 
in the clink of each piece of gold. They were 
" gains," ^ indeed, " profits " of race and religion and 
personal zeal, each item in the old credit side of the 
ledger once gave Paul peculiar zest as he counted 
them up to his own spiritual delectation. These 
items were, indeed, usually considered the greatest 
blessings of life. Sir W. Robertson Nicoll has dis- 
cussed in The Bntish Weekly (191 3) the " Greatest 
Joys of Life " with his readers. They do not all 
agree, though most find joy in the spiritual values of 
life. It is a sum in profit and loss. 

Now Paul has undergone an intellectual and spiri- 
tual revolution. ♦' Howbeit," ^ he says, in sharp con- 
trast to the old standpoint, " what things were gains 
to me," " these have I counted loss for Christ." •* His 
words are measured and deliberate. He has come to 
count and still counts (the present perfect tense, 
punctiliar-linear), but not as he used to count. Now 
he counts " for Christ's sake," the new factor in the 
situation, the new standard of values, the new reason 

' aVfva almost rr: o\a. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 727. 

^ Kipfi-q. The plural was usually used of money. Jcbb, 
Soph. Antig., 1326. 

^ akXa a real adversative here. Cf. Robertson, "Gram- 
mar," pp. 1 1 86 f. 

* TaDra ijyij^iai. dcd tuv ^ptaTuv Zyjfiiav. 



for life. Because of Christ, who has thus stepped in^ 
between * Paul and his old ideals, Paul has reversed 
his entire outlook on life. He has changed the head- 
ing at the top of the ledger. He has erased" gains " 
(credit) and written " loss " (debit). They are minus 
in the sum of hfe and plus no more. This word loss 
ends the sentence with a duh thud, but Paul is not 
done with the subject. 

He starts all over again with glowing eagerness 
and passion, dropping the tone of irony above. He 
piles up particles in the effort to express his vehement 
emotion on the subject. The " yea, verily, and " very 
imperfectly renders the Greek original^ which is more 
precisely, " But indeed therefore at least and." So 
Paul repeats his verb in the present tense, " I do 
count " ^ by the new standard of values, not merely 
the religious prerogatives named above, but " all 
things " ^ literally and emphatically as " " " for the 
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my 
Lord."' This is no mome ntary impulse, no spias- ^^J^'2') 
modic rhapsody on Paul's part. Here he takes his r=i=:::=^" 
stand. This is his choice in life. Paul has weighed 
the whole world (" all things ") beside Christ. He 
has come to the same conclusion that Jesus an- 

* dXkd fiev oZv ye kat. Ellicott notes that aXXd contrasts, 
{ikv confirms, o5v epitomizes, ye intensifies, fioi proceeds with 
addition. ^ ijyouiiai. * Ttdvra. 

° did TO uizepi^ov Tr/<i yvuxTzwisAptaTou ^Irjffou Tou Kupiou 



nounced as wisdom when He said : " For what shall 
a man be profited if he shall gain * the whole world, 
and forfeit 2 his life?" (Matt. 16:26). "For what 
shall a man give in exchange ^ for his soul ? " In 
spiritual barter what is the price of a soul ? Mr. 
John D. Rockefeller is credited with wealth to the 
amount of a billion dollars. But what is that by the 
side of his soul ? The Czar of Russia was said to be 
worth many biUions of dollars with an incredible in- 
come. But what is that beside the worth of his 
soul ? And the Czar has had to abdicate his throne 
before the wrath of his people. The knowledge * of 
Jesus, " the most excellent of the sciences," overtops ' 
all else, rising sheer above all else in hfe like the 
highest mountain peak, dwarfing all other knowledge 
and all of everything else on earth. Christ is king 
of the intellect as of the heart. No other knowledge 
is so exalting and so uplifting as that of Jesus the 
Lord of life. Christians ought to be the noblest of 
men with such a commanding intellectual atmosphere 
in Christ. Theology is still the queen of the sciences 
in subject and object of research. 

Life is a mystery at best, full of change and sur- 

* /lepSTJiTTj. Cf. kip8-q. * ZrjfinoO^. Cf. ^fjiiia. 
' avTakXayita. 

* yvuxnii experimental knowledge. 

* TO VTTSfii^iiv. The articular participle here, like the ar- 
ticular adjective, used as a substantive. Cf. Robertson, 
'♦Grammar," pp. iio8f. Cf. I Cor. 4: 17 for to iXa<pp6v 


prises. Relative values in life change with the years. 
The child is happy with his Christmas toys. " When 
I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I 
thought as a child ; now that I am become a man, I 
have put away childish things " (i Cor. 13:11). Paul 
is now a man in Christ Jesus who dominates the 
world of manhood for him, " Christ Jesus my Lord." 
For Christ's sake ' Paul did suffer loss,^ yea, the loss 
of "the all things," 3 the sum-total of his old Ufe's 
values. His own family probably regarded him as a 
disgrace to Judaism. His Pharisaic confreres con- 
sidered him a deserter from the cause. The Jews in 
general treated him as a renegade and a turn-coat. 
He had paid the price for Christ's sake. But it is 
worth the price. He has no regrets. " I do count 
(the third use of this verb) but refuse " ^ beneath my 
feet, not as diadems for my head. These " pearls " 
Paul deliberately flings to the dogs, if not to the 
swine, as trash. It is sad to see the poor picking for 
treasures in the piles of refuse. Paul is not a mad- 
man in reckless disregard of all values. It is the 
greatest bargain of life. He does it " that I may 
gain Christ." ^ The new " gain " is Christ. He lost 
the Jewish world to gain Christ the Lord of all. 

» dt' 8v. 

2 iZrjficwdjjv. Aorist ind. Definite period of his conver- 
sion. ^ zd TzdvTa. 

* GkufiaXa. Cf. Sirach 27:4. Either from eiV Rma<i 
^aXkui I fling to the dogs or from akmp dung. 

* 'iva y^piaxw icepd-Qauj. Cf. kipdrj. 


4. Gaining Christ (verses 9-1 1). 

What is it to " gain Christ " ? Paul gave up all to 
win more in Christ. Lightfoot ^ properly notes that 
" the earnest reiteration of St. Paul's language here 
expresses the earnestness of his desire." Paul knows 
the power of repetition on the mind. It is a pity- 
that verse 9 begins right in the middle of a subordi- 
nate clause, separating two verbs ^ (" gain," " be 
found") used with the same final particle ("that"^. 
As a matter of fact the thought in verses 9-1 1 is 
simply the expansion of that in the last words of 
verse 8, " that I may gain Christ." To be sure, Paul 
had gained Christ at once when he surrendered his 
Jewish prerogatives as sources of gain and pride. But 
he had not exhausted the unsearchable riches in 
Christ (Eph, 3 : 8). All the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge are in Christ who is the mystery of God 
(Col. 2 : 2 f.). There are riches untold still ahead of 
Paul which beckon him on. These he can only 
enjoy when he has appropriated them and has made 
them his own. These verses are so rich in ideas that 
they overlap and overflow. 

" And be found in him." '' Dying is gaining ** 
Christ, Paul has already told us (i : 21), gaining Christ 

' Thus /2ip8rj, /cepSyjffu) — yjyrjfiat, ijyoufiai, ^yoofiat — 
^Tjfxiav, l^rjiiiav, i!^7)fitcu0i^v — dtd, dcd, 8id — Trdvra, to navra 
—yvwtrecji, yvibvai — Xpiaxbv, Apiarou, Xpiarov. 

' uspdrjffu), eupsOu). ^ Iva. 

* nai eupeOut iv aurip. '^ fiipSo^, 


in full, though life is Christ to Paul. Paul is already 
" in Christ " in the real mystic union. But Christ 
had new riches for Paul each day. The word " be 
found " has a semitechnical sense of •' turn out 
actually to be" (Kennedy) as in Galatians 2:17 
(" we ourselves also were found sinners " '). This 
complete identification of the believer with Christ is 
" the central fact in Paul's religious life and thought " 
(Kennedy). He probably here is thinking of the 
consummation when we shall all stand before the 
judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5 : 10). Then in 
reality Paul wishes it to be manifest to all that he is 
in Christ. When death overtakes Paul he wishes to 
be found by death in Christ. James Mofifatt {Ex- 
pository Times, October, 191 2, p. 46) cites Epictetus^ 
as using •' found " of death : " I want to be found in 
right thoughts of God." It is a not uncommon 
thought with people as to what they should like to 
be doing when death finds them. Preachers are 
sometimes stricken v/ith death in the pulpit. Paul's 
desire is that all shall know that then he is actually 
in Christ. In particular he is clear that then he will 
not have ^ a righteousness of his own,^ that which is 
of the lavv,^ the sort that he once gloried in, the 
Pharisaic righteousness of rules and ceremonial 

^£L>pidrj/j.£> kai auTo) d/iaprcoXoi. 

^ eupsd^vat. Cf. also Epictetus 4:10-12. Cf. Gen. 
5 : 24 kai 00^ 7)>jpiffk£Te diort fiETiOrj/csv auzov 6 Oe6<i. 
^ p.ri ly^wv. 
* ip.T]v^ dckacoauvTjv. ^ ttjv in vofiou. 


punctilios, " but that which is through faith in 
Christ," * in a word, " the righteousness which is from 
God by faith," ^ upon the basis ^ of faith and issuing 
from * God, the God-kind of righteousness (Rom. 
I : 17), the only real righteousness in Gentile or 
Jew (Rom. I : 18-3:20). Thus alone can one gain 
a right relation (righteousness) with God. It is not 
found outside of Christ. Only thus is God's stand- 
ard met. This is God's gracious way of treating 
those as righteous who have no righteousness of 
their own. We may call it " forensic " if we wish, 
but that description in no way nullifies the fact. It 
is also ethical, for only thus is it possible for us to 
become righteous ourselves. God's love and forgive- 
ness start us on a new plane and guide us in the new 
path. It is not a bald legal transaction, but " for- 
giveness with the Forgiver in it " (Rainy, Exp. Bible 
on Phil., p. 231). " The only way of entering on new 
relations with God, or ourselves becoming new men, 
is the way of faith" (Rainy, p. 233). 
>> Paul repeats the passion of his soul, " that I may 
know him,"® that I may come to know him by 

^ dXXa rijv dtd Tziarecoi; Xpirrroo. Note the article here 
which is almost demonstrative, Cf. Robertson, " Gram- 
mar," p. 780. The genitive Ay>ijoTof) is objective. Q\. ibid., 
pp. 499 fF. 

^ T)jv ifi dsoT) bifiawahvr^v km tj^ iriaret. 

' km. The medium is expressed by did. 

^ TOO yvibvai auTuv. The infinitive of purpose (with rou) 
is common enough. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 1088. 


richer experience.' He takes up the word " knowl- 
edge " from verse 8 and presses the idea home. Paul 
longs to •' go in deeper " and to learn more of Christ 
by inner experience. He explains this knowledge as 
the natural result of winning Christ and being found 
in Him. " For with Paul this Christian Gnosis is the 
highest reach of Christian experience " (Kennedy). 
Paul takes up some of the items in the higher 
knowledge of Christ. " The power of his resur- 
rection." 2 Paul is here thinking not of the his- 
torical fact of Christ's resurrection nor of his own 
resurrection after death. It is rather Paul's ex- 
perimental knowledge of the power or force in 
Christ's resurrection in its influence on Paul's own 
inner life (Vincent). Cf. Romans 6:4-11; Colossians 
3 : 1 ff. Lightfoot notes various aspects of this power 
as the assurance of immortality (Rom. 8 : 1 1 ; i Cor. 
15 : 14 f.), as the triumph over sin and the pledge of 
justification (Rom. 4 : 24 f.), as showing the dignity 
of the human body (i Cor. 6 : 13-15 ; Phil, 3:21), as 
stimulating the whole moral and spiritual being 
(Rom. 6:4; Gal. 2:20; Col. 2:12: Eph. 2 : 5).^ 
There is the dynamic of the Cross because of the 
Resurrection of Jesus. Paul felt the grip of this 
truth in its appeal to holy living. He adds *' the 

^ yivwaku) is common in this sense. Cf. i Cor. 13: 12. 
Cf. Eph. I : 17-20 ; John 17:3. 

^ T/yV SOva/itv r?^9 d'^aardffeojg auzou. Cf. our dynamite. 

' Cf. Westcott's " Gospel of the Resurrection," ii. §31 f. 
Cf. Ellicott, in loco. 


fellowship of his sufferings."' It is " participation " 
in the sufferings of Christ, Certainly Paul is here 
reveahng " the deepest secrets " (Kennedy) of his own 
Christian experience. " Being in Christ involves 
fellowship with Christ at all points — His obedient life, 
His spirit, His sufferings, His death, and His glory " 
(Vincent). Paul is not thinking of martyrdom for 
himself, but of the " spiritual process which is carried 
on in the soul of him who is united to Christ " 
(Kennedy). As Paul understands the power of 
Christ's death and resurrection, he is able to under- 
stand His sufferings and to enter into them with sym- 
pathy and spiritual blessing as we drink from the cup 
that Christ drank (2 Cor, 4: 10 ; I Pet. 4 : 13). The 
climax is reached by Paul in the words " becoming 
conformed unto his death." ^ One thinks at once of 
Romans 6:3" baptized into his death " and 5 
" united with him in the likeness of his death " and 
then also Galatians 2 : 20 : "I have been crucified 
with Christ." We are in Paul's Holy of Holies in his 
relations with Christ. He suffers when Christ suffers. 
He dies when Christ dies. He lives when Christ 
lives. The language is symbolic, to be sure, but 
represents the deepest and highest things in life for 
Paul. This likeness to Christ is our destiny (Rom, 
8 : 29), but the process begins here. If we are to 

' Roivioviav naOTjfidriov ahroo. 

* aufi-tiixxpt'^oiisvo^ T^> Oavdru} aoTOu. Cf. adfifiopfpo^ in 
Rom. 8 : 29. 


share in the glory of Jesus, we must also share in the 
suffering (Rom. 8: 17 f., 28 f.). So Paul rejoices to 
fill up on his part the sufferings of Christ left over 
for him (Col. i : 24). In dying on the Cross Christ 
was regarded as sin (2 Cor. 5 : 21) and identified Him- 
self with the sin of the world. So now we are 
identified with Christ's sufferings and death. 

Paul closes with the modest hope, not at all in 
doubt, expressed in conditional form, " if by any 
means I may attain unto the resurrection from the 
dead." ' Paul does not here deny the general resur- 
rection of the dead which he teaches in i Corinthians 
15 : 42. He is apparently here thinking only of the 
glorious resurrection of the pious dead and expresses 
the devout hope of sharing in that without throwing 
doubt at all upon his confidence in the matter. At 
any rate this passage makes it perfectly clear that 
Paul had no positive conviction that Jesus would 
come for him while ahve before death. His language 
in I Thessalonians 4 : 15 "we that are alive " does 
not mean that. He simply groups himself with the 

' e? nu)^ fiaravTTJffu) eiq tyjv i^avd<7rrj(riv ttjv i/c ve/^pcHv. 
The verb /zaTavrrjffw may be either future ind. or aorist subj. 
The use of etTtw; expresses a half purpose also. The use of 
l^avdaz-Qffiv rather than dvaffx-qaiv has not been explained. 
Lightfoot takes it to be because of ik with vsKpihv and to em- 
phasize the resurrection of the righteous out from the dead. 
Ellicott takes it to be the first resurrection as in Rev. 20 : 5, 
P and so interprets i Thess. 4: 16 where, however, the con- 
(_trast is between Christians living and dead. The point is not 
made out (V^incent). 


living for he is alive when he writes (cf. I Thess. 
5 : 2 ; 2 Thess. 2 : 2). He hoped that Christ would 
come soon, but he has nowhere said that He would 
do so. 

5. The Single Chase (verses 12-14). 

Paul does not lose the sense of proportion in the 
midst of his rhapsody. He is keenly conscious of a 
possible misunderstanding of his language. He 
seems to be thinking of " some at Philippi who were 
claiming high sanctity and so affecting superior airs 
towards their brethren " (Kennedy) with inevitable 
irritations and jealousies. The reaction from Jewish 
formalism easily went from liberty to license. It 
was not a mere rhetorical question that Paul raised 
when he said : " Shall we continue in sin that grace 
may abound ? " (Rom. 6 : i). The antinomian spirit 
was a live thing then and now. One wing of the 
Gnostics boldly argued that they were free from guilt 
in sins of the body so long as the spirit communed 
with the Lord. The so-called Christian Scientists 
to-day deny the reality of and guilt for sin. Some 
evolutionists treat sin not as a moral problem at all, 
but simply as an animal inheritance, " nature red in 
tooth and claw," not yet shaken off. Professional 
perfectionists likewise to-day minimize their own 
faults with all the skill of the Pharisees who " say 
and do not " (Matt. 23 : 3). So Paul says pointedly : 
" Not that I have already obtained, or am already 


perfect." ' Paul thus disclaims absolute perfection in 
unequivocal language. He gathers up in the verb 
" obtained " ^ or " attained " all his experiences and 
achievements thus far ,3 all that he has described in 
verses 8-11. He then explains more literally his 
figure by the simpler " or am already made perfect." 
The change of tense ^ is not accidental or a confusion 
of tenses. He means to express his present state of 
imperfection. Absolute perfection he expressly de- 
nies. By the present perfect tense he gathers up the 
whole past in its relation to the present. He has not 
yet reached the goal. He is here discussing moral 
and spiritual perfection in Christ. There is a rela- 
tive perfection which was true of Paul and of all who 
grow in grace at all and are no longer babes in 
Christ (cf. 3 : 15). Paul is not speaking of that. 
This holy dissatisfaction with his spiritual attain- 
ments and eager longing for loftier heights in Christ 
we often see in Paul's writings (cf. Eph. 3: 17-19 J 
4:13-16; Col. 1:28). Ignatius (Eph. iii) says: 
" I do not command you as though I were some- 

^ ou^ ore r/d-/j sXal^ov rj rjdrj reTsletoJfiat. In New Testa- 
ment ou^ ore is used to prevent misunderstanding, not as in 
classic Greek = not only, but. zshcdco is as common in He- 
brews and means to bring to an end. 

2 Ua^ov. Constative aorist. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," 
pp. 831-834. Cf. John 17:4 iSo^aaa. 

* rereXetcDfiai. Present perfect. This tense is kept distinct 
from the aorist in the New Testament. Cf. Robertson, 
** Grammar," pp. 898-902. 


what, for even though I am in bonds for the Name's 
sake, I am not yet perfected in Christ." * 

" But I press on," ^ The verb is used of the chase 
and of the race. ElHcott renders it : " But I am 
pressing onwards." The verb means hterally " I 
pursue" or " I follow after" (A. V.). " The pursuit 
is no groping after something undefined, nor is it 
prosecuted with any feeling of doubt as to the attain- 
ment of its end " (Vincent). It is the eager pursuit 
of a definite goal.' Not every pursuit wins its ob- 
ject, but Paul is not doubtful about the outcome of 
this chase or race. " I press on," Paul says, " if so 
be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was 
laid hold on by Christ Jesus." ^ This is his definite 
object. This is his real goal. He points to his con- 
version as the event in his life which explains every- 
thing. That is the moving power in Paul's growth. 

' 00 diaTfiffiTufiac Vfi'tv^ J»9 Sv rt e? yap /Zai didefia: ^v rip 
ovotiart, ooTZiu dTzyjprnTfiai iv ^Irjffoo JipiffTW. 

''■ diw/zu) 8i. Paul is fond of dtiunio (cf. Rom. 9 : 30 f. ; 
12:13; H-'9J " ^°^- H = ^ ; ' Thess. 5:15). A pat- 
ricide fled into the desert and was pursued by a lion idiokatro 
{idi6k£To) 61:0 XiujvTO'i. P. Grenf. II, 847 (cf. Moulton & 
Milligan, " Vocabulary," for other exx.). 

^ Lucian {Hermot,, JJ) has w/sorepot izapanoXh did)/:ovT£<i 
00 /iaziXaiHov. Cf. Ex. 15:9. In Rom. 9 : 30 both verbs 
occur together. Cf. i Cor. 9 : 24; Eccl. 11 : 10. 

* ei kai KazaXd^uj, itp u) fiai kaTsXTJ[x(p0jjv uno XpiOToo 
'IrjfToTj. Note the subjunctive here with ei (without «V), the 
deliberative subj., a sort of indirect question also, and a sort of 
correction to e? ;r<y? above (Kennedy). Cf. Robertson, 
" Grammar," pp. 934, 1017, 1044. 


Christ changed him from persecutor to apostle. His 
goal now is to fulfill the ideal that Christ had for him 
in doing that (Vincent). " He desires to grasp that 
for which he was grasped by Christ " {ibid.). He 
has come far since that day on the Damascus road 
when Jesus stopped his course and turned him right 
about. The goal is still ahead, but Paul breathlessly 
follows after. The word " grasp " ' is a strong word 
and is the one used of Christ's grasping Paul. He 
means to seize and hold.^ Christ holds Paul fast and 
will not let him go. Hence Paul has confidence in 
the success of his own pursuit of this goal. Christ 
leads him on, ever beckoning as the fleeing goal moves 
on ahead, but never so far ahead as to make Paul 
lose heart and give up the chase. He is not chasinga 
bag of gold at the end of a rainbow or a will-o'-the- 
wisp in the bog. He is pressing on as Christ leads 
himjyi and up towards full manhood in Christ Jesus. 
Once more Paul pauses to explain that he has not 
reached the top of this mountain. " Brethren, I 
count not myself yet to have laid hold."^^ Success is 

* karald^io. Milligan (" Greek Papyri," p. 5) quotes Ex. 
Vol. Hercul. 176^ (iii. b. c.) Ka.\ ifiel /iaTs.O^-q<paix£v in sense 
of " finding " a friend. 

^ Note perfective use of fiara — The if ui either means 
rouro icp' vj that with a view to which or in), toutu) otc for 
this reason that either makes good sense without much dif- 

' adsXipoi, iyuj ifxaurov oorto Xoyi^oiiai kaT^iXrjcpivat. The 
word XoyiZonai (common in Paul's Epistles) counts up calmly 
the results of a process of reasoning. Cf. our "reckon." 




certain, but still ahead of him. This is the third time 
he uses this word " lay hold " and he employs it here 
in the perfect tense. He disclaims the state of com- 
pletion of his holy quest The chase is not over. 
He has no delusions about that. '♦ I do not count 
myself" at the end of the course. Later Paul did 
feel that way (i Tim. 4 : 7 f.) when he faces death. 
Not yet has he grasped this flying goal. But does 
he stop ? Not he. Does he change his interest to 
something else ? Not Paul. " But one thing." ^ 
There is power in concentration. The mark of an 
educated man is just this power of concentration. 
The one thing worth while for Paul is to win the 
ideal set up for him by Christ, to grasp that goal. 
He will not be diverted to anything else. He will 
not be a quitter. He will not run off on side-issues 
like a dog that jumps every trail and holds to none, 
starting with a deer and ending the day barking at a 
rat hole. He has no time for lesser interests. He 
has " the expulsive power of a new affection " that 
drives out all else. Paul vividly pictures his tension 
in the chase, *' forgetting the things which are be- 
hind."^ He is not here thinking of his surrendered. 
Jewish prerogatives, but of that part of the Christian 

' fv tli. Ellipsis and a common one. Can supply tzouo or 
any one of a number of verbs. Power in the ellipsis. Cf. 
Robertson, " Grammar," p. 391. 

^ zd fiev oniauj ^Tzi^anOavo/ievix^. Both gen. and ace. occur 
with this verb. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 509. Ace. 
very common in the /zoivrj. 



* .— — —^ 

course_already_nHi_(Ellicott). The precise phrase is 
used of the pre-Christian hfe as in Luke 9 : 62 ; John 
6 : 66, but it does not follow that Paul so employs it 
here. The_ point is not that Paul is ashamed of his , ]^ 
past career as a Christian, but simply that he does not 
lull himself to ease and relaxation of effort because 
of past achievements. These attainmeuts.are not to 
serve as a spiritual soporific, but as a stimulus to 
greater endeavour (cf. I Cor. 4:11-16; 9:19-27; 
2 Cor. II : 23-12 : 6). Paul runs on " stretching for- 
ward to the things which are before." ' He has no 
time to look backward. The rather he reaches out 
with a runner's eagerness, leaning forward to grasp 
the goal with the forward pressing of his body. It is 
the graphic word from the arena. The metaphor 
applies naturally to the tension of the runner in the 
foot race as he leans forward in his eagerness. " The 
eye outstrips and draws onward the hand, and the 
hand the foot " (Bengel). In sporting language he is 
on " the home-stretch." Lightfoot notes that not 
looking is fatal in the chariot race, Kennedy quotes 
Jeremiah 7 : 24 of the stubborn disobedience of those 
who " went backward and not forward." ^ Lucian ^ 
describes " the good runner as only aiming at what 
is before and concentrating his attention on the goal." 

^ TO?? be efiTtpoffdev iinefCTetvo/jLevo?. Note dative case. 
Cf. Vulgate exteridens meipsum. 

^ iyevvjOvjffav sig rd onKrOev Kai ou/z elg to. k'/jLTtpoffffev. 
Calunin. I 2 fidifieJ yap 6 [j.kv dyaddis dpopeb? — fiovov rou 
itp6<T(o i<pcip.evoi kai rijv dtdvoiav dnozeiva'i npug to rippa. 


Once more Paul gathers up his feelings on this 
great subject in a succinct repetition of the whole 
discussion : " I press on towards the goal unto the 
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," 
•' I press on towards the goal," ' he says. I rush on 
bearing down upon the mark set before me, keeping 
my eye fixed on that and not turning aside to look 
at anything else. " He who pursues sees nothing 
but that towards which he is hastening, and passes 
by all things, the dearest and the most necessary " 
(Theophylact, in loco). He presses on " unto the 
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 
The prize belongs to the calling. Paul uses 
the same word for prize ^ in i Corinthians 9:24, 
«' know ye not that they that run in a race run all, 
but one obtaineth the prize? Even so run, that ye 
may attain." Paul is thinking of the crown of right- 
eousness (2 Tim. 2 : 10 f. ; 4:8), not the garland of 
leaves for the victor in the games. He calls this 
" the upward calling." ^ Paul speaks of " the hope 

* aara akoizov bi(hfna. Cf. anoTtomzzq in Phil. 2 : 4 and 
d.(popu)vTS<; in Heb. 12:2. 2!A:oTZ(')<i was used for the archer's 
mark (Job 16: 13 ; Lam. 3: 12). Cf. KaTaan6r.oi)<i for 
spies or scouts (Heb. li : 31) and naraanomi<yai for spying 
out (Gal. 2 : 4). 

''■ Tu ^pa^z'iov. The technical word is aOXov, but j3f)aj3suu} 
is used of umpire in Col. 2:18; 3:15. But jSpafielov in 
sense of" prize " occurs in Vettius Valens 174^', 288^ and in 
Priene Inscriptions iiS^ (II b. c). Cf. Moulton & Milli- 
gan, " Vocabulary." 

't^? clvw kXTJa£u}<s. Cf. John II 141 ; Heb. 12 : 15. 


of the calling" (Eph. I : 18; 4:4) and in Hebrews 
3 : I we have " the heavenly calling." It is still the 
act ' of calling. God is calling and beckoning us on 
and up towards Himself (cf. Eph. i : 18). It is God's 
calHng in Christ Jesus (Heb. 12: i f.). Chrysostom 
{in loco) says the specially honoured among the ath- 
letes were not crowned " below in the stadium," ^ 
" but the king calling them up crowns them there." ' 
That crown is laid up for all who run the race with 
patience and love Christ's appearing (2 Tim. 4 : 8). 
I have seen the English skylark leap up from the 
meadow and have heard him sing his glorious way 
upward out of sight into the empyrean. 

' fiXrjai?. ^ ev rc5 ffvadiu) kdrut, 

* d.kX avu) /:akiaa<i 6 fiaffiXeui i/^el azecpavo'i. 


(3: 15-21) 

THE skylark comes down to earth again. 
Jesus brought Peter, James, and John down 
from the Mount of Transfiguration to the 
valley of sorrow and struggle where there was work 
to do. Even the aeroplane has to come back to earth 
to replenish its supplies. Paul does not work a fig- 
ure to death. He still has in mind the question of 
Christian perfection which he discusses with less pas- 
sion, but with equal force. His very calmness after 
the whirl of words adds vigour to the ending. The 
Holy Quest has its monotonous moments when one 
is tempted to give it up or is in danger of losing his 
way. Mysticism is in peril of becoming only a mist 
or fog. 

I. Getting the Right Point of View (verse 15). 

" Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus 
minded." ' This simple sentence fairly bristles with 
difficulties. It «' shows the effect of the strong emo- 
tion which pervades the preceding passage " (Vin- 
cent), Paul had just categorically and repeatedly 

* "Oaot ouv riXecoi, tuuto ^poyw/iev, 


denied the attainment of " perfection " in his own 
case (verses I2f.). And yet here he includes himself 
among the "perfect" in "let us be thus minded." 
Evidently it is not a matter of courtesy simply, but 
of sincerity. It does " seem strange " (Rainy, in loco). 
Besides, the very form of the expression " as many 
as are perfect" implies that some are perfect and 
some are not. But the explanation is not far to seek 
and one in harmony with Paul's disclaimer of abso- 
lute perfection above. The Greek word for " perfect " 
is here used in the sense of relative perfection, as 
is common in the New Testament, contrasting the 
mature Christians with the babes in Christ who lack 
the experience and development which others have 
obtained. By this word " grown men " in Christ are 
described as in I Corinthians 14 : 20 where " chil- 
dren " and " men " are contrasted * by the word " per- 
fect" for " men." In Ephesians 4: 13 we have the 
phrase " unto a full-grown man " ^ with the same 
word for " perfect." So in Hebrews 5:13 the writer 
contrasts " babes " ^ in Christ and " full-grown men " ^ 
who can stand strong meat. Once more in I Corin- 
thians 13: I of. Paul uses "the perfect" for absolute 
perfection and illustrates it by the other sense of 
relative perfection, the contrast between child and 
man. The case is made out therefore and the idiom 
is in accord with Paul's other descriptions of the 

* 7:aidia — riXstoi. ^ si? av8pa riXetov. 


relatively advanced Christians, " the spiritual " (Gal. 
6 : i), " the strong " (Rom. 15:1). The absolute use 
of perfect is further seen in Matthew 5 : 48 ; James 
I : 4 ; 3 : 2. It is the desire of Paul to present every 
man " perfect in Christ " (Col. i : 28) at last. It is 
here the ideal not yet realized in the full sense, 
though there is a sense in which it is relatively true 
of all those who have been initiated into the mystery 
of Christ and have made progress in the knowledge of 
Christ. It is not necessary to insist that Paul is 
using the word " perfect " in the sense of the " mys- 
teries " (cf. Kennedy, " St. Paul and the Mystery- 
Religions "), though it is quite possible that his use 
of the term is suggested by that common terminology. 
There is at any rate a touch of irony in Paul's em- 
ployment of " perfect " in the double sense (absolute 
in verse 12, relative in verse 15). Those, like himself, 
who claim relative perfection, he exhorts to think ' 
" this." What is " this " or '• thus minded " ? It is 
what he has just been saying in the preceding verses, 
viz. : that they have not yet attained to absolute per- 
fection. The " full-grown men " in Christ are the 
very ones who are tempted to think that they have 
reached the goal of absolute perfection. There wi re 
probably some of them in Philippi who needed this 
delicate hint not to be satisfied with their present 
attainments in grace and goodness, who need the 
lesson of humility that Paul has enforced by the 
' <ppovu>[iev. Hortatory subjunctive. Linear action. 


example of Christ and now by Paul's own attitude 
of mind. Spiritual pride is very subtle and creeps 
into the hearts of the most gifted saints if they are 
not on the watch. Paul does not wish his readers to 
think that they have already reached the goal be- 
cause in one sense they belong to the ranks of the 
mature. It is almost a pity that we have " perfect " 
as the translation in verse 15. Cf. I Corinthians 
14 : 20 where it is " men." 

" And if in anything ye are otherwise minded," ' 
Paul goes on. He assumes that the Philippians will 
agree with him in his general statement on the sub- 
ject of Christian perfection. He adds, however, a 
possible detail as exception. If you think otherwise 
on any particular point that Paul has not mentioned 
and so claim absolute perfection on that, then what ? 
Well, then, •' this also shall God reveal unto you." ^ 
If they have followed Paul thus far, there is hope for 
the rest of the way, even if it takes time. Paul trusts 
God to " unveil " the particular problem, untie that 
knot, unravel that mystery as He has done the rest. 
Paul has patience with the merely inept and surely 
we need it. Sanity on the subject of Christian per- 
fection is sorely needed when we have one extreme 
of antinomian license and the other of professional 
perfectionism. A story is told by Spurgeon that one 

* izai el' T£ iripiDi; {ppnvslre. 

^ /zai TouTo 6 dedi 6[i1v aTzokaXuipsi. It could be rendered 
" even this." 


Sunday morning a crank stepped into his study with 
the remark that the Lord had revealed to him that 
he was to preach for Spurgeon that morning. Quick 
as a flash Spurgeon rephed that he had just received a 
later revelation to show him the door, which he did. 
The point of this often misunderstood verse is, 
therefore, that we must get and keep the right stand- 
point. We must read the sign-board aright and take 
the right turn of the road. We must not lose our 
way in a bog of self-satisfaction and smug compla- 
cency or of cold indifference. We must keep up the 
struggle. We may stick a peg here and there as we 
go provided we do not stop with the peg. We must 
go on. That is the main thing. 

2. Keeping On in the Path (verse i6). 

Here we have an echo of "one thing I do " in 
verse 14. Paul is not impatient of minor differences 
of opinion (verse 15) which are more or less inevitable 
in men, provided the Philippians will stick to the main 
road and go ahead. " Only, whereunto we have at- 
tained let us keep on in the same path." ^ The word 
for "only "2 is common in introducing a parenthesis 
(Kennedy) or at the end of an argument to single out 
the main point.^ " Just one thing more." In opposing 
the claim of absolute perfection Paul wishes no mis- 

' TtXijv £('9 o ifOdfTafiev, rib aurw (TTot^elv, 

' 7:?.r/v. Probably from 7t)Jov more. 

' Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 1 187. 


understanding. They must not give up the struggle 
in despair any more than they must stop because they 
think that they have aheady reached the end in view. 
Either were mockery. Weizsacker hits it off cor- 
rectly : " Only one thing. So far as we have come, 
keep the path." The translation " by the same rule " 
misses the point. We have come thus far on the 
way to the goal which is still ahead. What are we 
to do ? There is but one thing to do, just go right 
on in the same path by which we have come * thus 
far. The word for " walk " ^ means to " walk in file," 
to " keep the step." This is hard to do. It is climb- 
ing a sandy mountain often. We slip back almost as 
much as we go on and up. The notion of row ^ or 
alphabet appears in Galatians 4 : 3, 9. The tramp, 
tramp of the soldier is fine for a while, but in time one 
is weary and it is hard not to lag behind. One comes 

^ i<pdd(Tatisv is a dramatic aorist for present attainment. Cf. 
Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 841-843. This verb originally 
meant to arrive " before " some one else (as in i Tliess. 
4: 15), but here it has lost all idea of anticipation and means 
simply "come" as in 2 Cor. 10: 14. Cf. Robertson, 
** Grammar," p. 551. 

^ aror/stv. For infinitive as imperative see Robertson, 
*' Grammar," pp. 943 f. Cf. y^aipeiv in James i : I and in 
the papyri. Kennedy notes that " to work " in English may 
be originally dative case, then exclamatory imperative, and 
then infinitive like the Greek absolute infinitive here. 

^ Cf. auvaror/^el in Gal. 4: 25. The verb o-TOf;^^:^ occurs 
in Syll. 325*^ (ii. b. c.) in sense of walking in the steps of 
one's fathers (Moulton & Milligan, " Lexical Notes from the 
Papyri," Expositor, June, 191 1). 


to the jog-trot of the Christian hfe. The dull mon- 
otony of religious routine palls on one. But there 
is but one thing to do and that is to keep on going ' 
in the same path.^ This is the way the dog went to 
Dover, leg over leg, step by step. " It's dogging as 
does it." There is monotony in work, the tedium 
of household cares, the grind of church services, the 
petty details of pastoral life, the minutiae of scholar- 
ship and all forms of Bible study, the treadmill of 
spiritual exercises (prayer, reading the Scriptures, 
singing, church attendance, work for Christ), the 
humdrum of things like three meals a day and 
going to bed every night — these things tend to pall 
on the sensitive spirit. But we shall die if we do not 
eat, sleep, walk, work, breathe. We shall die with- 
out the common details in the spiritual life. The 
lesson for our time is precisely this, to keep at it. I 
love to hear a boy whistle at his work or play. He 
loves then to keep at it. Thus we can put new spirit 
into the same old tasks, the same old church, the 
same old preacher. Victory lies along the path by 
which we have come. We must not merely " think " 
right (verse 1 5). We must also keep up the practice 
and keep on in the same path that leads to the goal. 
Let us not forget that. Fidgetiness is not spiritual 
activity. We are not to be restless spiritual " hobos," 
always on the jump and never getting on. It is the 

' ffTot^elv is linear action (pres. inf.). 
' Tyi auTw locative case. 


steady tread in the right path with the eye fixed on 
Christ that tells the story of final achievement. 

3. Keeping the Eye On the Guide (verse 17). 

Paul had urged that they keep step * in the Chris- 
tian walk. He carries that idea further in his charge : 
•• Brethren, be ye imitators together of me." ^ Light- 
foot puts it better thus : " Vie with each other in im- 
itating me." In i Corinthians n : i Paul says : " Be 
ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ." 
That is precisely the point. " Paul is compelled to 
make his own example a norm of the new life " 
(Kennedy). Paul knows wherein he imitates Christ 
who is the real standard of orthodoxy and ortho- 
praxy (cf. 2 John 9). But Jesus is no longer visible 
in the flesh and people need an objective standard, 
a secondary standard. We copy the copy of the 
original in most cases. The preacher cannot escape 
this side of his responsibility if he would. He must 
show the way by his walk as well as by his talk. 
Paul made his own living in Thessalonica " to make 
ourselves an ensample ^ unto you, that ye should im- 
itate us " (2 Thess. 3 : 9). He did it for that purpose. 
Besides, says Paul, ye " yourselves know how ye 
ought to imitate us " (2 Thess. 3 : 7). Paul begs the 
Corinthians to imitate him (i Cor. 4: 16). The 
pastor must lead and the people are to follow. Paul 

* ffTOt}(£Tv. 

^ ffuvfitfiTjzai (100 yivsade, adeXfoi. The word fiifxvjTTJis is 
our mimic. ^ tOtiov, 


wishes not merely sporadic following, but ** a whole 
company " of imitators * (Ellicott). There is no self- 
conceit in Paul's demand that they all follow him. 
It is like the Captain who says : " Follow me." 
Imitation plays a large part in all life. Most that 
the child learns at home is unconscious imitation. 
The preacher is an object lesson to the church. Like 
priest like people. Children copy the preacher and 
the church members copy his shortcomings and often 
criticize his virtues. 

" And mark them that so walk." ^ Paul is not the 
only one who follows Christ. There were many in 
Philippi who did so. Keep your eye on those who 
keep to the same path by which you have come. 
The word here for" mark "^ is sometimes used for 
watching and avoiding as in Romans 16:17: " Mark 
them that are causing the divisions and occasions of 
stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned ; 
and turn away from them." But it may also be used 
for keeping the eye on good things as in 2 Corin- 
thians 4: 18 where it is employed for the spiritual vision 
of the unseen as the guide of life. It is dangerous to 
take the eye off of the guide in perilous mountain 
climbing or in tangled jungles. Once lost, one is 
helpless. Keep your eye on the goal if you can see 

^ (ruv/xip.rjTa{. Co-imitores. Paul is fond of the preposition 
auv — in composition. Cf. aovKukJrai in Eph. 2 : 19. Plato 
{J'olit., p. 274D) has auiiixiiit'iaOai. 

"^ kaX a/COTZslTe rou? oStw? irSpnzarouvTa'i. Cf. ffA'oTzd^ 
goal. ^ ff/io-elrs. Cf. " Mark Twain." 


it. If not, keep your eye on one who knows the way 
to the goal and who is going there. This is the only 
way to walk straight. Signs are useless if erased or 
doubtful. Many an accident is due to misreading of 
the signals by the engineer. It is still worse to fol- 
low false signs. Lights are used by wreckers to lure 
vessels on the breakers, false hghts that point the 
v/ay to death. 

" Even as ye have us for an ensample." ' Paul 
changes from " me " to " us " on purpose. Timothy 
and Epaphroditus were two certainly that we can 
name who besides Paul were ensamples to the Philip- 
pians. The word for " ensample " ^ was originally 
the impression left by a blow, the mark of the blow 
as in John 20 : 25 " the print of the nails." Then it 
was used of the thing that caused the mark as a type 
or mould or pattern (cf. our use of type in printing). 
Paul is fond of this word (cf. Rom. 5 : 14; 6: 17; i Cor. 
10: 6, II ; I Thess. i : 7). There is the mould of 
doctrine (Rom. 6: 17) and the mould of life as here. 
It is sad when a church is afraid to follow the 
preacher, still sadder when the church ought to re- 
fuse to follow his bad example, when he does not 
follow Christ. Blind guide he is then and those that 
follow him will fall with him into the pit. 

4. Missing the Path (verses i8f.). 

" For many walk " evilly,^ Paul means, though he 

' /zaOu)^ ejsre totzov vjfxai;. ^ runov. From xuTzxm strike. 
^Tzokloi yap iteptnarouaiv. Vg. ambulant. 


does not use the word. One is reminded of Psalm i. 
Perhaps Paul is even thinking of walking hypo- 
critically, for he is hardly referring to the heathen. 
He either has in mind the Judaizers, the •' dogs " of 
verse 2, or lackadaisical Christians, nominal church 
members, who bring reproach on Christ by their 
conduct, antinomian hbertines, incipient Gnostics, 
immoral men with Epicurean philosophy. Something 
can be said for both of these views, though probably 
the latter suits the context more exactly. Action 
and reaction follow each other. The lax age of 
Charles the Second followed the age of the Puritans 
under Cromwell. Perhaps both extremes were repre- 
sented in the church of Philippi. At any rate they 
had been warned by Paul of one of these classes, 
" of whom I told you often." * Paul had done his 
duty to them either when with them or in letters 
which we do not now possess (cf. 3 : i). " And now 
tell you even weeping." ^ Once more Paul repeats 
his warning and it brings tears to his eyes to have to 
use such plain language about professed followers of 
Christ. Paul was a man of great heart and his emo- 
tional nature is often profoundly stirred. It was so 
once when he had to write with severity to the Cor- 
inthians (2 Cor. 2 : 4). He admonished the Ephesians 
with tears many times (Acts 20 : 31). It is a serious 
situation in Philippi and it stirs Paul's heart to the 
bottom. He is cut to the quick over the disgrace in 

* 0S9 TtuXXakfi ^ikeyov Ufxiv. '^ vuv 8k Ra\ fcXaitov Xiyu), 


this noble church to the name of Christ. It is enough 
to break a preacher's heart to see so many Chris- 
tians recreant and disloyal. They are " the enemies 
of the cross of Christ." ' Both the Judaizers (Gal. 
5:11; 6:i2f.) and the antinomian Gnostics (Col. 
3 : 5 f. ; cf. 2 Cor. i :5 f.) were hostile to the cross of 
Christ as were the Jews and Greeks generally (i Cor. 
1:17 f.). But these persons took it as a personal af- 
front and made themselves personal enemies of the 
cross of Christ which reflected on their hves of self- 
indulgence. Polycarp (Phil. 7) speaks of " whoever 
does not confess the witness of the cross." Rainy 
(Phil., p. 286) speaks of hangers-on who love " the 
suburban life of Zion," but who wish none of the 
limitations and responsibilities of the yoke of service. 
But Paul is pitiless in his picture of these men 
" whose end is destruction." ^ End with them is 
both consummation and culmination. It is more 
than mere termination (cf. Rom. 6: 21; 2 Cor. 
II ; 15). The word for destruction does not neces- 
sarily mean annihilation. It is rather a state of 
moral ruin. It is used of the lost though physically 
alive (cf. Luke 19: 10). " Whose god is the belly," ^ 

^ Tou^ i)(dpohg Tou araopou too ^ptaTou. The accusative 
here is in apposition to the relative 089 (cf. I John 2 : 25) 
unless Uyu) be taken as " call " (Kennedy) when it is predi- 
cate accus. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 416, 480. 

^ u>v TO riXo<i diTz(t)Xeia. Paul gives ffcDTTjpia as the end of 
the redeemed and dnmXeta of the lost (l Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 
2 : 1^5 f.). 

^ a>v 6 dedi ij kodia, Vg. quorum Deus Center est. 


Paul adds. In Romans i6 : i8 we have : " For they 
that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but 
their own belly." ' The comic poet Eupolis de- 
scribes one as " a devotee of the belly," ^ who 
makes a god of his belly. The glutton or gour- 
mand is on the road to this low estate. Cicero tells 
it on himself that once at a feast he took an emetic 
that he might enjoy more of the dinner. Perhaps 
more people make a god of their stomachs than will 
admit it. We have a proverb to the effect that we 
dig our graves with our teeth. Paul says : " The 
Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking " (Rom. 
14: 17), a truism about sticklers for certain kinds of 
food, but equally true in this context. The word for 
belly is used for all sorts of sensual indulgence and 
applies to drink and immorality also (wine and 
women). Once more Paul says, " whose glory is in 
their shame." ^ These moral perverts turn liberty 
into license. They throw moral pride to the winds 
and became unmoral degenerates. They revel in 
the mire and mud like the hog, and rejoice in their 
debasement. The life of the underworld is a terrible 
reality in all our large cities to-day, but Paul pictures 
some persons in the church at Philippi as in the 
grip of the same form of vice, which has mastered 

* Seneca has : ^/ius abdomini servit. 

* uotkiodaiixwv. In his hdXaAreg Xenophon (Mem. I : 6, 
8, etc.) has douXeuetv yatrrpi. Cf. 2 Pet. 2:13. 

* /foi i) Sd^a ^v tj] alff^ovrj aurajv. Cf. Prov. 26:11; 
Sirach 4 : 21. It was apparently a current proverb. 


them and bound them hand and foot, slaves of 
sin. The last word that Paul has about these spir- 
itual perverts is " who mind earthly things." * These 
are just the opposite of Paul in his passion for the 
upward calling (verse 14). They hear no call to fly 
like the eagle in the cage, but, like Bunyan's man 
with the muckrake, grovel in the dirt and glory in 
the drivel and dust of earth. They have their minds 
set on things of time and sense and on the lowest 
plane of things here below. What do modern peo- 
ple care most about ? Face the facts. Statistics 
tell some things rightly. On any Sunday in our 
modern cities the moving picture-shows will be 
crowded when the churches are thinly attended. On 
a pretty Sunday in the summer the baseball park 
will be full. The horse races where still allowed have 
no lack of crowds. People complain of hard times, 
but have plenty of money for dress and for food and 
for travel. The public talk is much more about these 
things than about the Kingdom of God and righteous- 
ness upon earth. But there are " forward-looking 
men," to use President Woodrow Wilson's striking 
phrase, who do look up instead of down, onward in- 
stead of backward, inward instead of merely outward. 

' oi rd iniyeta <ppovouvr£<s. The use of the nominative 
here after go's and u>v is not unknown. In fact such an inde- 
pendent nominative in apposition is a rather common anaco- 
luthon. Cf. ol kariffOovre? in Mark 1 2 : 40. So also Mark 
7:19; Acts 10:37; Rev. 1:5; 7:4; 20:2. Cf. 
Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 414 f. 


5. A Colony of Heaven (verse ao^). 

" For our citizenship is in heaven." * This Paul 
says in contrast with those who " mind earthly 
things " (verse 19). The emphatic word is " our " in 
opposition to the mundane and grovelhng spirit of 
the recreant Christians who make a god of the belly. 
In I : 27 Paul had urged the duty of worthy conduct 
as citizens.^ The Vulgate here has convcrsatio 
(A. V. conversation) which properly rendered one 
aspect of the Greek word' as manner of life. Our 
modern use of conversation for talk is simply one 
phase (possibly the main one in some cases) of con- 
duct. But it probably here means the common- 
wealth or state as in 2 Mace. 12:7; Philo, de Jos. ii. 
p. 5 1 M and in the inscriptions. The Jews therefore 
had adopted this word from the Greeks a good while 
before Paul wrote (Kennedy).^ Jesus told Pilate that 
His kingdom was not of this world (John 1 8 : 36). The 
heavenly Jerusalem (or that which is above) appears 
in Galatians 4 : 26 and Mt. Zion is contrasted with 
Mt. Sinai in Hebrews 12 : 20 ff. The New Jerusalem 
is heaven in Revelation 21. The point with Paul 
here is that we are now citizens of heaven even while 

^ rjixCo'^ yap tw TzoXirtoiia iv oopavolg undpy^si. The Vul- 
gate has autem, but enim is more exact for yap. 

^ a^iU)<i TZoXtTEUEffffe. 

* noXirsu/ia. Used practically in same sense as rroXiTeca by 
Aristotle. Cf. r.nXizeia in Acts 22 : 28. 

* Cf. Hicks, " Political Terms in the New Testament " 
(^Classical Review, i., i, pp. 6-7). 


living on earth. We are fellow-citizens " with the 
saints and the household of God (Eph. 2 : 19). Our 
Hfe is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3 : 3). We like 
the patriarchs look for a city which hath founda- 
tions whose builder and maker is God (Heb. Ii : 10), 
a better country, that is an heavenly (11 : 16), being 
" strangers and pilgrims on the earth " (11 : 13). In 
other words, our real citizenship is in the common- 
wealth of heaven, the Kingdom of God. We are a 
colony of heaven here on earth (Moffatt), a pattern 
of the heavenly for earthly citizens. Philippi was 
itself a colony of Rome and would understand per- 
fectly^ this local touch in Paul's figure. Paul him- 
self was proud of his Roman citizenship and had 
found it an advantage in Philippi (Acts 16 : 37-39) 
and in Jerusalem (Acts 21 and 22). Paul is not 
speaking of an impossible Utopia or a vague ideal 
like Plato's Republic or even as impractical a thing 
as Augustine's City of God. Paul means that Chris- 
tians must live now on earth as citizens of the 
heavenly commonwealth, not merely that we shall be 
heavenly citizens after death. The Christian com- 
monwealth is a present reality in the world.^ It 
partly fulfills the prayer which Jesus taught the dis- 

' ffuvTroXtrat. 

* They knew what the jus Italicum meant. Cf. Mar- 
quardt, " Romische Staatsverwaltung," Bd. I, pp. 363 fF. 

^ In the Epistle to Diognetus we read of Christians this : 
liti yrj^ dcarpc^ouffiv dkX' iv obpavm TtoXtreuoi/rac. Cf. Plato 
" Republic," 592. 


ciples to pray : " Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be 
done, as in heaven, so on earth " (Matt. 6 : lo). The 
full consummation is to come at the end, but Chris- 
tianity is the most powerful factor in the life that now 
is. We are in the world, but not of its spirit. We 
live under the principles, ideals, and laws of heaven. 
We must apply them to the life in this world. In a 
word we are a patch of heaven on earth to help make 
earth like heaven. The roar of the guns in the 
World's Great War only accentuates the words of 
Paul. We must drive war out of this world and 
make men turn their swords into ploughshares. The 
war on war is long, but the Kingdom of God is 
coming, always coming in power, and is here in the 
hearts of those who feel themselves more citizens of 
heaven than of earth. The true patriotism is the 
hunger for and loyalty to the real Fatherland, for 
heaven is our home. 

6. Looking for the King (verse 20^). 

Meanwhile we all know that earth is not yet 
heaven. There are colonies of heaven scattered here 
and there over the world. These are the joy and 
hope of men. The attitude of these colonies of 
heaven is one of expectation. At best earth still has 
its sorrows. Our eyes turn heavenward " whence 
also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." ' 

' ic 00 ka\ amri^pa anziz8v/^6iit0a, hbpinv ^Irjtrouv Xptardv. 
Here i^ 00 is probably adverbial and refers to oupavoii. 


The Lord Jesus Christ (note all three words) is the 
King in the heavenly commonwealth or kingdom. 
He is coming back to complete His glorious work. 
Meanwhile we wait for Him " as Saviour." ' He is 
needed as Saviour and He will come. He will com- 
plete the work of salvation and rescue men from suf- 
ferings and infirmities of the flesh (Rom. 8 : iQff. ; 
2 Cor. 5 : 4). The inscriptions often speak of the 
Roman Emperor as God and Saviour in fulsome 
flattery. But Paul's word " wait for " or " tarry for " ^ 
reveals the note of eager expectancy as if a wife steps 
out of the door in the evening and looks away down 
the lane for the husband who is late in coming. The 
King is coming. The tiptoe of anticipation is like 
that of the crowds at Delhi during the Durbar who 
waited for the appearance of their king from England. 
Christians have Christ's own promise that He will 
come back. As a colony of heaven they have a 
right to look for Him. This blessed hope exerted a 
powerful influence for holy living and Christian 
activity among the early Christians. Some of them 
misunderstood the promise as definitely made for 
their own time. The centuries have dimmed for 
many the brightness of this star of hope, but without 

^ Predicate accusative. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 
480. The word aiur-qp is common in 2 Peter and the Pas- 
toral Epistles for God. 

^ d7:£/zdex6fj.£da (common with Paul as in Gal. 5:5; 
I Thess. I : 10; Rom. 8 : 19, 23, 25. Cf. Heb. 9 : 28 j 
I Pet. 3 : 20). Cf. ar^oiiapabonia in Phil. I : 20. 


reason, for a day with the Lord is as a thousand years 
and a thousand years as one day (2 Pet. 3 : 8). The 
promise of the first coming of the Messiah seemed 
long in reahzation, but Christ did come in the fullness 
of time. Christ's own word is that we be ready : 
"Watch" (Matt. 25:13). This is the attitude of 
which Paul speaks. We are still watching and wait- 
ing for the King. 

7. The Body of Glory (verse 21). 

The King will come and will finish His work. He 
" will fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that 
it may be conformed to the body of his glory."' 
Christ will '• change the fashion " (cf. Rom. 1 2 : 2 ; 
I Cor. 4:6; 2 Cor. 11 : 13-15) of our body from 
corruption to incorruption (i Cor. 15:44, 51). We 
shall be clothed upon (2 Cor. 5 : 4) with a spiritual 
body connected with this body which belongs to our 
state of humiliation (not " vile body ") as seed-corn 
with harvest and yet not this same body of flesh and 
blood which cannot enter the Kingdom of God 
(i Cor. 15:50). It is all a mystery, but modern 
science by no means discredits the kind of a resurrec- 
tion of the body which Paul pictures here and in 
I Corinthians 15. Paul does not consider the body 
in which our spirit dwells as itself evil and only vile 
as the Gnostics held. On the contrary Paul urged 

^ 09 (j.£Taff^-qfiaTi(T£i to (rcbjia tt^^ Tanecvwffeu}^ ijfxwv 
auti[iop<puv T<^ atuixart t^9 do^rj^ auTuu. Vg, has corpus hu- 


the dignity of the body as the abode of the redeemed 
soul (i Cor. 6: 12-20) and the temple of God (i Cor. 
3: 16). Hence Paul urged that we must glorify God 
in the body (i Cor. 6: 20). But though our bodies 
are subject to infirmity, weakness, disease and death, 
yet they have a glorious destiny as well as a high 
honour now. This body of our humiliation is to be 
" conformed " ' to the body of Christ's glory. Our 
renewed (refashioned) body will be like in essential 
form that of Jesus. We shall be made fit for the 
family of God in heaven (cf. Rom. 8 : 29 f.). We 
shall have on the wedding garment of glory. We 
shall have a spiritual body suitable for the new 
environment in heaven. Peter, James, and John saw 
the glory of Jesus on the majestic mount of trans- 
figuration. The process of transformation of our 
spirits has already begun here and we are transformed 
from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18). This word 
" glory " was used for the Shekinah. Jesus is the 
Glory (J as. 2 : i) and we shall be like Him for we 
shall see Him as He is (i John 3:2). If one hesi- 
tates at the stupendous claim that Paul makes 
about the body he must recall the power at Christ's 
disposal, " according to the working whereby he is 
able even to subject all things into himself," ^ accord- 

* Predicate accusative. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," p. 
480. Cf. ffunfiopcpov here and iieraa^rjiiaTiffsi. 

^ Rara tyjv kvipysiav too duvaadat aurov kal uizord^at auTm 
rdi -KavTa, 


ing to " the energy of his power." He not merely 
possesses inherent (latent) power, but He exercises * 
this dynamic energy (Col. 1:29; 7:12; 2 Thess. 
2:9) as Creator and Preserver of the Universe (Col. 
i:i6f.). The glorious destiny of all things is to 
come fully under the sway of Christ's will. The 
Crowning Day is coming when God will sum up all 
things in Christ. 

^ *' The power or virtue which was in Christ when the 
woman touched the hem of his garment (Mark 5 : 30 ; Luke 
8 : 46) was dova/jLCi}. In the healing of the woman it became 
hipyeta " (Vincent). In the New Testament ivipyeca is 
limited to superhuman activity (cf, Robinson, Eph., p. 242). 
Cf. nep} r^9 Ivspyeca? Oeou Jjo? (OGIS 2624 iii. a. d.), Moul- 
ton & Milligan, " Lexical Notes from the Papyri," Expositor, 
March, 1909. 


(4 : 1-9) 

PEACE is one of the greatest of blessings. The 
peace that Christ gives is better than any 
" King's Peace " of the feudal times : " Peace 
I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you : not as 
the world giveth, give I unto you " (John 14 : 27). 
This peace of Christ cannot be taken from us by our 
environment or by earthly circumstance. And yet 
peace in itself is not the first blessing. " But the wisdom 
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable " (J as. 
3: 17). Righteousness, not peace, exalteth a nation. 
It IS sometimes necessary to fight in order to have 
peace, a peace that rests on the triumph of right over 
wrong. The devil offered Jesus the copartnership 
of the world as a compromise on condition that Jesus 
recognize the devil's sovereignty and power. But 
Jesus chose war, eternal war, the path to the Cross. 
Thus He won the right and the power to bring peace 
to the sinner. Paul exhorted us all to live peaceably 
with all men, if possible, as far as it depends on us 
(Rom. 12:18). But we are not to be silent on great 
moral issues for the sake of a complacent peace with 
the powers of evil. Christ does not require us to 



make peace at any price. The rather He challenges 
to victorious conquest of the forces of evil. But we 
are to fight even evil in the spirit of Christ and with 
the weapons of righteousness and truth. A dead 
church can find no consolation in the peace of God. 

1. Standing Fast (verse i). 

Paul applies his message about the heavenly citi- 
zenship (3:17-21) to the situation in Philippi. 
" Wherefore," ' he pleads, because you are citizens of 
heaven, have courage here on earth, " So stand fast 
in the Lord." ^ " So " stand as becomes citizens of 
heaven and as Paul has exhorted them. Paul has 
used the figures of running, of pursuing,' of walking,* 
and now he adds that of standing. It is often very 
hard to stand still. Attack is said to be much easier 
than defense. It is difficult to stand still and be shot 
at. In Ephesians 6*. 11, 13, 14 Paul repeats the com- 
mand to " stand " as soldiers of Christ. When oth- 
ers run away, it is hard to stand one's ground. It is 
not easy to stand against the flood-tide. Paul makes 
a tender plea for stabihty. " My brethren beloved 

^ to(TT£. Common as inferential particle at beginning of 
sentence with no effect on structure of the sentence. Cf. 
Robertson, *• Grammar," pp. 999 f. 

^ ouTOJ^ arrjfitxs. iv Rupko. Paul uses iv nupiu> more than 
forty times and it occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, 
save in Rev. 14: 13. The form (rrrjA'eTs belongs to the col- 
loquial aotvTJ, a present made on a perfect stem. Cf Phil. 
1 : 27. ^ diiuUuj. * CTot^iu}. 


and longed for." ' Here we see " a hint of the pain 
caused by his separation from them" (Vincent). 
" My joy and crown." ^ They are now his joy and 
they will be his crown of victory in the day of Christ, 
showing that he did not labour in vain (Phil. 2 ; 16). 
The word here used for crown is that for the chaplet 
of victory in the games, not the diadem ^ worn by 
kings. Paul spoke of the Thessalonians as his hope, 
joy, crown (i Thess. 2 : 19). He repeats his affection- 
ate appeal after the exhortation to steadfastness by 
saying once more, " Beloved." He is not ashamed 
to show his love for the saints. He is very much in 
earnest that the Philippians shall be loyal to Christ in 
this time of trial. His words are enough to melt a 
heart of stone and must have had a powerful effect on 
the church. 

2. Helping These Women (verses 2 f.). 

" I exhort Euodia, and I exhort Syntyche, to be of 
the same mind in the Lord." Paul makes specific* 
the general exhortation in 2:2, Clearly these two 
women were prominent in the church in Philippi and 
may have been deaconesses like Phoebe of Cenchreae 

^ d-deXipoi fjLou d/am/jTot Koi ^TTtTroOrjTot. Vulgate has 
fratres met carissimi, et desideratissimi. The Latin super- 
latives bring out the passion in the Greek adjectives. 

' ^apa Ka.\ aTi<pav6<s fiou. Vg. has gaudium meum et corona 

^ diddrjfxa (Rev. 12:3). The verb (Treyavoo} is used in 
the /201V1J for obtaining reward (Deissmann, " Bible Studies," 
p. 261). * TO auTo (fpovelv. 


(Rom, i6:i). They have beautiful names, Euodia' 
means " Prosperous Journey " (or " Sweet Fragrance " 
if another text is followed) and Syntyche " Good 
Luck," He mentions the names with safety in pub- 
lic because he is in Rome and because the matter 
was probably now a topic of public talk though not 
advanced to open breach. Klopper thinks that sep- 
arate factions of the church were meeting in the 
homes of these two women as the church originally 
met in the home of Lydia (Acts i6 : 40). Women 
were prominent in the foundation of the church in 
Phihppi (Acts 16 : 1 3 f.) and had special honour in this 
Roman colony (cf, Lightfoot, in loco) as in Rome it- 
self (Rom, i6).2 The activity of other Macedonian 
women in Paul's work is seen in Acts 17:4, 12. 
We do not know what the trouble was between these 
women. It may have been on the subject of perfec- 
tion (cf. 3:13-16). It may have been the very 
question of woman's rights or it may have been a 
matter of personal taste. The cause may have been 
trivial enough, for slight bickerings are easily magni- 
fied into great issues by the hypersensitive. " It may 
have been accidental friction between two energetic 
Christian women " (Kennedy). A slight breeze 
would cause trouble in so noble a church. I know 

* EuoSca. Some MSS. read F.noi^iav fcf. OfTfir^v euwdia'i in 
4 : 18), Both of these names occur in the inscriptions, 

■^ Cf. Ferrero, " The Women of the Ca-sars " and his " Char- 
acters and Events of Roman History." 


of a lovely woman who took umbrage because a dear 
friend refused to speak on meeting her in the street. 
But the guilty woman was near-sighted and did not 
see her friend ! Paul is perfectly impartial in his ex- 
hortation and repeats the verb^ with each name. 
Perhaps each was to blame in part. They can come 
together in the Lord at any rate. They expect to be 
one in Christ in heaven. They had best be so here 
and now. 

But these good women need help and Paul inter- 
cedes with some one to do this delicate piece of work. 
The work of peacemaker has a high reward (Matt. 
5 : 9) and is like the work of God in Christ (Eph. 
2 : 14). " Yea, I beseech thee^also, true yoke-fellow." ^ 
Paul introduces " a third party " (Vincent). Who is 
this third party ? The suggestions are numerous. 
Epaphroditus, the bearer of the letter, is considered 
most probable by Lightfoot. Ellicott thinks it is the 
chief bishop of Philippi. Clement of Alexandria 
thinks it is Paul's own wife^ who is addressed as 
" true yoke-fellow." Others have guessed Luke, Silas, 
Timothy, and even Christ. It is most likely that 

' TzapaKaXw. It means to call to one's side. The Vulgate 
has Evodiam rogo, et Syntychen deprecor, a needless distinction 
in the verbs. 

^ vol IpiOTU) /cat ffi, pjjffte awZoye. For vai see Matt. 
1 5 : 27 ; Rom. 3 : 29. ^EptuTui like rogo is used of equals 
and airm like peto towards a superior. The Vulgate has 
germane compar. 

' But yvTJffie is masculine. 


Syzygus is a proper name and that " true " ' is a ref- 
erence to the meaning of " yoke-fellow." Live up to 
your name, a joiner together. The name does not 
occur in known inscriptions, but Zygos is found as a 
Jewish name. At any rate •' help these women." ' 
" Take hold together with them." The implication 
clearly is that Euodia and Syntyche wanted to lay 
aside their differences, but found it somewhat embar- 
rassing to make a start. Take hold of the problem 
and help them to solve it. Speak the first word 
towards peace. Be a peacemaker, not a peace- 
breaker. Much of the best work that we do is in 
helping others to agree. It is always a noble thing 
to help the women, " for they laboured with me in 
the gospel." ^ These women were spiritual athletes,* 
better than the Amazons of story, along with Paul. 
The ministry of women is a prominent feature of early 
Christian work as is plain in the Gospels, Acts, and 
Epistles. It is not made clear precisely what these 
women did, but their activity is unquestionable. In- 
deed, to-day too many men are willing for the women 
to do it all. They say " Ladies first " at the wrong 

^ yvTJfTce genuine, true to the name ab-^Zoyt. For a similar 
play on the name see Philemon 1 1 and 1 2 ( ^Ov-qniixov, 
euypricTTov, uypi)(rTov). See P. Epph. 63 B. c. 311-310 for 
yuvalka yvrjniav for " legal wife," " genuine wife." 

'^ auvXa/j.j3dv<)u awrar?. Literally, "help them." Note 
middle voice. 

^ aircvei} iv t<J) euayyeXiu) (tovijBXrjffdv ;xot. Causal use of 
ai'rtve?. Cf. Robertson, ** Grammar," p. 960. Cf. Phil. 
3:7. * ffuvTJOXrjaav. Cf. I : 27. 


time. Here Clement and " the rest of my fellow- 
workers " ' come after the women. We do not know 
who these fellow-workers were, " whose names are in 
the book of life." ^ Possibly these workers are dead 
when Paul writes. Paul is always grateful for his 

3. Gladness (verse 4). 

Here we have again the key-note of the Epistle. 
Over and over Paul strikes this note of joy. Recently 
I read an article on " The Joyous Life " in a physical 
culture magazine. The writer was pleading for a more 
outspoken manifestation of good-will and hilarity, a 
rather coarse and boisterous view of happiness. Paul 
knew the joyous Hfe, the mood of cheerfulness, the 
serenity and calmness of spirit possible only to the 
soul stayed on God. So he strikes this refrain : 
" Rejoice in the Lord always." ^ There is no other 
ground of perpetual optimism that is not blind in- 
difference. Only " in the Lord " is it possible to get 
a view of life as a whole that will stand the shock of 
sorrow and sin. Paul knows that he has said " al- 
ways " and that this word covers the darker side of 
human life. So he says it over again, after pausing 
in contemplation of sorrow, " Again I will say. 
Rejoice." * This philosophy of life is no ephemeral 
emotion, but a settled principle, a deeper feeling that 

* Tcbv Xotnciv (Tuvepyuiv fioo. Cf. 2:25. 
''■ J»v rd ovofiaTza kv (ii^Xu) Zwr^?- This is an Old Testament 
figure. Cf. Ex. 32:32; Isa. 4:3; Ezek. 13:9. 

^ ^atperBf ev Kupiu) ndvzoTs. * itdhv spu), ^aipere. 


underlies all the storm-tossed waves on the surface. 
Paul's joy is not grounded'in earthly conditions, but 
in Christ. No one can rob Paul of Christ or of his 
joy in Christ. Christ satisfies Paul's soul. Christ is 
his all and in all. He needs naught else to make his 
soul sing aloud for sheer joy, to sing aloud and to 
sing long. Men differ in their opinion as to the 
sweetest song-bird. Some say the nightingale, some 
the mocking-bird, some the Enghsh skylark, some 
the Kentucky cardinal, some the wood-robin. Each 
bird has his individual note, but each has the note 
of joy. Christians have not risen to their privileges 
in the matter of conquering joy. It is resistless as a 
witness for Clirist and as an antidote for grief. 

4. Gentleness (verse 5). 

Joy and graciousness go together. " Let your for- 
bearance (gentleness, margin of R. V.) be known unto 
all men." ' The word for forbearance and gentleness 
is translated in various ways as moderation (A. V.),^ 

^ TO lizuik-kq Ujiihv yvwffOiJTO} izafftv dvOpwrtoci^. The neuter 
adjective with article to iT:ce:Ar£<i is used as abstract quality like 
inteirieta. Cf. to '^^prjaTov (Rom. 2 : 4) and rt) /iWjOov ( i Cor. 
I : 25). See Robertson, " Grammar," p. 654. 

■■^ Cf. Modes tia of the Vulgate. Aristotle {Nich. Eth.V. 
10) contrasts the word with dk[Ji^odu:atiii; judging severely. 
In I Pet. 2:18 and Jas. 3 : 17 it is connected with dyuOu>i 
and eb-£i6ri'Si ^" ' "Tim. 3 : 3 and Tit. 3 : 2 with a/ia^ni;, 
in 2 Cor. 10:1 with 7r/>af'jr7j9. The word is from £; /ivy? rea- 
sonable, fitting, likely, equitable, fair, mild, gentle. The 
stem of eot/ea is eikio the same as elk^ot to yield, concede, 
though they are not associated by the lexicons. The funda- 
mental ideas are similar. 


reasonableness (Kennedy), *' sweet reasonableness " 
(Matthew Arnold, " Literature and Dogma," pp. 
66, 138). Courtesy is not far from the true idea. It 
is graciousness with strength and poise of character. 
It is the opposite of obstinacy. The word is not 
negative ' restraint simply, but positive giving up to 
the reasonable desires of others. It is the mildness 
of disposition that leads one to be fair and to go be- 
yond the letter of the law. The best type of the 
ancients prided themselves on this trait of moder- 
ation. Christianity carried it much further and gave 
a touch that was not there before, the grace of giving 
up to the weaker. Kennedy pertinently quotes from 
Pater's " Marius the Epicurean," (ii., p. 120): "As 
if by way of a due recognition of some immeasurable 
Divine condescension manifest in a certain historic 
fact, its influence was felt more especially at those 
points which demanded some sacrifice of one's self, 
for the weak, for the aged, for little children, and 
even for the dead. And then, for its constant 
outward token, its significant manner or index, it 
issued in a certain debonair grace, and a certain 
mystic attractiveness or courtesy, which made Marius 
doubt whether that famed Greek blitheness or gaiety 
or grace in the handling of hfe had been, after all, an 
unrivalled success." In a word, what Paul here urges 
is the grace of giving up, not because one has to 
surrender to superior force, but because of the nobler 
^ Like d'^o^TJ (from dvi^w, hold back). 


impulses of generosity and gentleness. Ignatius ' has 
it when he pleads : " Let us be found their brothers 
by our forbearance." It includes the chivalry of the 
true man towards a woman, his own sister or mother 
or wife, or any one's sister or mother or wife. A 
gentleman is a gentle man. " Thy gentleness hath 
made me great " (2 Sam. 22 : 36), said David of God's 
dealings with him. The great illustration is the ex- 
ample of Jesus. ** Now I Paul myself entreat you by 
the meekness and gentleness ^ of Christ, I who in 
your presence am lowly among you, but being absent 
am of good courage towards you " (2 Cor. 10 : i). 
The gentleness of Jesus appeals to us to be gentle 
also, not only to Christians, but to all so far as we can. 
"The Lord is at hand,"^ Paul adds. The phrase 
can mean that " The Lord is near " in space as in 
Psalm 145:18. "The Lord is nigh unto all that 
call upon him." ^ But it is more likely that (cf. Rom. 
13 : 12 ; Jas. 5 : 8) Paul here means Christ by Lord as 
he usually does and is referring to the expected 
return of the Lord Jesus. Indeed, this expression 
was a sort of watchword with Paul (Lightfoot), a 
password for the elect. Cf. the Aramaic " Marana 
tha"5 or "O Lord, come" (i Cor. 16:22). The 

^ Eph. X adeXfol aurwv eopsOuJfi£v Trj imstReia. 

* dta T7j<i 7TpauTrjTo<i /lot iT:cecA:£ia^ too Xpiaroo. 

* cJ hbpux; iyyu?. 

* i)'yu'S hupioii Tzdffc T0T9 knikaXounivoi^ aurov. 

^ Mapa>a Od or Mapav add " The Lord will come " or 
*'The Lord is here." 


manner of Christ is a reason for repose of spirit (see 
next verses) and for gentleness towards others. The 
clause here is taken by some with verse 5, by some 
with verse 6, by some with both. It is true of the 
continued presence of Jesus with us by the Holy 
Spirit (Matt. 28 : 20) as well as of the blessed hope of 
His second coming. •< Lo, I am with you all the 
days, even unto the consummation of the age." 
Jesus is coming again, but Jesus is also here and near 
us all the varied days of our checkered human life, 
here to cheer us and to beckon us on to follow in His 

5. The Heart at Rest (verses 6 f.). 

Paul has risen to the pure empyrean of spiritual 
repose above carking cares. He soars like the eagle 
above the storms below. " In nothing be anxious.".* 
It is a common word in the Gospels for harassing 
care that Paul here uses (cf. Matt. 6 : 25). It sug- 
gests brooding and pondering into which our human 
nature so easily falls (i Pet. 5 17). It is the anxious 
solicitude^ that one finds hard to avoid in time of 
real trouble as well as " the little foxes that eat away 
the vine." Christ is the only cure for anxiety of 
heart. He can calm the fluttering heart that palpi- 
tates with worry and dread (cf. John 14: i, " Let not 
your heart be troubled "). Christ's panacea for heart 

^ Ij.7)Sev fxepcfivare. Cf. Homeric fiepiJLTjpiZeiv to debate 

^ Vulgate has nihi/ solliciti sitis. 


trouble is trust in Him as in God. Paul suggests 
prayer to God. At bottom the solution is the same. 
" Let your requests be made known unto God." ' 
Come into the presence of ^ God and open your heart 
to Him just as if God did not know all about it. The 
mother loves to have the sobbing child tell all the 
trouble to her. She understands and the child is 
sure of sympathy and help. The difficulties will be 
smoothed out in mother's arms. God loves to hear 
the tale of our woes " by prayer and supplication."^ 
It should be in the spirit of gratitude. " Thanksgiv- 
ing is the background, the predominant tone of the 
Christian life " (Kennedy). We are to pray '♦ with 
thanksgiving." * This is an essential element, for dis- 
satisfaction with God will " clip the wings of prayer " 
(Kennedy). *' Remembrance and supplication are the 
two necessary elements of every Christian prayer" 
(Rilliet). " Thankfulness for past blessings is a neces- 
sary condition of acceptance in preferring new peti- 
tions " (Lightfoot). We are to make known our 
requests to God " in everything." ^ We are not to 
pick our ground too sharply, but to have whole- 
hearted abandonment to the will of God in every 

' ra alr-qiiara U[iu)v yvajftt^iffOu) npu? tov Osdv. Vulgate 
has petitio7ies. 

''■ 7zpd<} face to face with. 

^ T?j npofTsoxfi /sat rfj SsTJfTti. The general term for prayer 
and the particular word for petition. 

* fier eb^apiaria'i. Cf. our word Eucharist. 

^ iv navTi. 


situation. We are to know that all things work 
together for our good (Rom. 8 : 28), whether we can 
perceive it in this particular instance or not. 

" And the peace of God, which passeth all under- 
standing, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts 
in Christ Jesus." The blessing here offered is the 
result • of the attitude of prayer in verse 6. God is 
the God of peace (Phil. 4 : 9) and His peace ^ is the 
inward peace of the soul that is grounded in God's 
presence and promise (Vincent). Paul here assumes 
that we have made our peace with God in Christ and 
now we are enjoying our peace with God (Rom. S '• ^)- 
This pax Dei is the tranquillity possible only to the 
soul that has found rest in the bosom of Christ. 
" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest " (Matt. 1 1 : 28). 
" This peace is like some magic mirror, by the dim- 
ness growing on which we may discern the breath of 
an unclean spirit that would work us ill" (Rendel 
Harris, " Memoranda Sacra," p. 130). This inward 
peace fills the heart " with all joy and peace in be- 
lieving " (Rom. 15 : 13) ; " for the Kingdom of God is 
not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace 
and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17). This 
peace of God " passes all understanding."^ Like a 

^ Kol is here consecutive =: " and so " or inferential =: 
"then." Cf. Robertson, "Grammar," p. 1183. 

*^ e'cpijvrj Tou dtou. 

^ij onepi^ouaa Tzavra vuov. Intellectual grasp (voi)<i). 
Onepi^u) is to overtop, to surpass. Cf. 2:3; 3:8. 


granite peak it rises sheer above the mists and clouds 
of human speculation. Intellectual apprehension fails 
to grasp the height of it. The intellect is a noble 
gift and is to be honoured and used, but it is not in- 
falUble and at best is a feeble instrument of knowl- 
edge. The emotions and the will are more funda- 
mental and more rehable. I stand by the rights of 
the intellect in criticism and in life. We are bound 
to do so or to abdicate the throne of reason. But, 
after all is said and done, the intellect is like a bird 
with a broken wing. Faith can fly farther and faster 
and more surely. We must learn to trust the primal 
instincts as well as the reason. The peace of God 
rises above the sphere of intellect {sensum, Vul- 
gate). This peace of God shall act as a garrison' 
to the soul. This is a promise, not a prayer (Vin- 
cent). It is a military term. Hicks (" Classical Re- 
view," 1., pp. 7 f., suggests the garrisoning of the 
towns by the Roman soldiers as a familiar sight. 
The successors of Alexander the Great made a fea- 
ture of such garrisons in the towns of Asia Minor. 
Philippi was a Roman colony and a military out- 

" Love is and was my King and Lord, 

And will be, though as yet I keep ^^^ 
Within his court on earth, and sleep 
Encompassed by his faithful guard, 

' (ppoop-j(T£i. Vg. custodial. Cf. i Pet. I : 5 Tob^ iv 
dovdfiet Oeou <ppoupoofiivou<i. 


And hear at times a sentinel 

Who moves about from place to place, 
And whispers to the worlds of space, 

In the deep night that all is well." 

— Tennyson. 

So the sentinel of God's peace mounts guard over 
our hearts and thoughts. One recalls the comfort 
of the voice of the sentinel who walks the bridge 
of the ship at night in time of storm and calls out 
that all is well. The little child is sometimes unable 
to sleep without the pressure of mother's hand and 
the soothing melody of mother's voice. This peace 
of God quiets both our hearts and our thoughts. 
When insomnia comes, the mind is abnormally active 
and the brain whirls round and round. When fear 
grips the heart, rest is gone. Both heart and thoughts 
are soothed ^to calm and rest as Jesus stilled the sea 
of Gahlee in spite of wind and storm. Beautiful 
tranquilhty comes to him whose soul rests in Christ 
Jesus for the peace of God keeps watch over his life. 

6. High Thinking (verse 8). 

Paul is now thinking of the close of the Epistle, 
" Finally, brethren," * he says, but with no reference 
to 3 : 1 where he used similar language. It is not a 
second finally in the strict sense, though Lightfoot 
says that once more the Apostle attempts to conclude. 
Paul thus introduces a noble exhortation to the high- 


est ideals of thought and endeavour. It is a final 
recapitulation of themes for meditation and practice 
(Ellicott). The Stoics had their four cardinal virtues 
(prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude). We are 
not to think that Paul is here giving a list of Chris- 
tian virtues on a par with these. In truth, he at- 
tempts no inclusive list of spiritual ideals, but gives 
in rapid fashion two groups, one introduced by 
" whatsoever," ' the other by " if," ^ Lightfoot sees 
a descending scale in the words. Perhaps so, and 
the two " if " clauses may be an afterthought. The 
list is rather too beautiful for one to enjoy minute 
dissection. We may pause a moment on each of the 
words. " True " ^ is to be taken in the widest sense, 
far more than simply veracious. " God is the norm 
of truth " (Vincent) and Jesus is the truth (John 
14: 6). The moral ideal of Christianity rests on re- 
ality and aims at reality as it answers to the nature 
of God. Truth is the very core of Christ's teaching. 
It is no mere value judgment. "Honourable"^ is 
more exactly venerable or reverend or " nobly seri- 
ous " (Matthew Arnold ^) as opposed to that flippancy 
that lacks " intellectual seriousness." Reverence is a 
sadly needed virtue in many quarters to-day. " Just " ® 

' o<Ta. Queecunque, ^ el' tc<;. Si qua. 

' dlrjO-^. Vera. 

* nzivm. From aifioiiai to worship. Vg. pudica. Op- 
posed to /ioocpoq lightness. 

^ " God and the Bible," Preface XXII. 
^ dikaia. From (Jc'A-^. Yg.justa. 


or righteous is applied to both God and man. It is 
the right way of looking at things, right per se 
(cf. Rom. 2 : 13), according to God's standard. These 
three qualities are fundamental in Christian ideals, 
the deep down things that go to the roots of right 
living. " Pure " * is stainless, chaste, unsullied as a 
pure virgin. " Lovely " ^ is whatever calls forth love, 
attracts to itself, the graciousness that wins and 
charms. Cf. the Beauty of Holiness in the Psalms 
and the Beautiful and the Good of the Greeks. " Of 
good report "^ is " fair-sounding " (Vincent), almost 
our " high-toned " ^ (Kennedy). Whatever rings 
true to the previous notes is not out of tune with 
the Christian standard of morality. There are ever 
new and changing questions that have to be tested 
by the Christian's spiritual tuning-fork. The piano 
must be kept in tune. So must our sensitive spiri- 
tual nature be kept clean and sweet. " Virtue " ^ is 
moral excellence, a common heathen term that Paul 
seems generally to avoid (Lightfoot). The word 
originally meant only courage or manly skill or ex- 
cellence with no moral quality. It gradually came 
to be used in a variety of ways.*" Peter uses it of 

^ dyvd. Vg. sancta. ayw^ is holy, consecrated, but o-yvo^ 
is pure, untouched of evil, undefiled. 

^ -Kpoacpilrj. Vg. amabilia. Alone here in the New Tes- 
tament. Cf. Sir. 4:7; 20 : 13. 

^ £V(p-qij.a, Vg. bo7ia famoe. 

* " Was einen guten Klang hat " (Lipsius). 

^ apsr-q. Firtus (Yg.). 

® Cf. Deissmann, " Bible Studies," pp. 90 fF. 


God (i Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. i : 3) and treats it as a 
Christian grace (2 Pet. i : 4). Paul says : " Quit you 
like men,' be strong" (i Cor. 16: 13). Christianity 
does appeal to the elemental virtues in young man- 
hood (cf. I John 2:13 f.), the sense of the heroic, the 
nobility of service for others. It has taken over this 
heathen virtue and applied it to a higher cause. 
" Praise " ^ is the moral approbation from the practice 
of virtue (cf. I Cor. 1 3). Put your mind ' on these 
things just mentioned. It is not the mere flash of 
thought like the flitting of a sparrow, but deliberate 
and prolonged contemplation as if one is weighing a 
mathematical problem. Reckon up the pros and 
cons of the moral values in life. Too many fail just 
here. They do not give Christ worthy consideration. 
Make your mind move in the realm of elevated 
thoughts. High thinking is essential to holy living. 
We must let Christ control our thoughts, " casting 
down imaginations and every high thing that is ex- 
alted against the knowledge of God, and bringing 
every thought into captivity to the obedience of 
Christ " (2 Cor. 10 : 5). 

7. High Endeavour (verse 9). 
" These do." ^ These practice as a habit. These 
put into practice and keep on doing them. Noble 

* d.v8piZsff6e. * k'natvo?. Vg. /aus discipline. 
^ XoyiZeaOs. Vg. cogitate. Present (linear action) tense. 

* Taura Trpdffffere. Linear present. Sometimes distin- 
guished from nocelv to accomplish. Vg. haec agite. 


ideals will come to naught unless translated into 
deeds. Performance surpasses mere preaching. The 
physician must practice his theories and heal himself. 
So Paul turns from generalities to particulars.' Paul 
has given above proper subjects for meditation. He 
now presents a proper line of action (Lightfoot). It 
is now a scheme of duties (Vincent), not a list of 
mottoes. It is not necessary to say with Ellicott 
that Paul has precisely the same ideas in mind in 
verse 9 as in verse 8, but certainly the general out- 
line is the same. Paul urges that the Philippians 
transmute aspiration into actuality, profession into 
performance. He even claims that he has given them 
a suitable example for their imitation. The expo- 
nents of so-called " New Thought " at least have 
grasped the truth of the relation between thought and 
life. Paul was a practical idealist, a pragmatist in the 
best sense of that term. He gave them proper pre- 
cepts similar to the list in verse 8 : " The things 
which ye both learned and received." ^ They had 
taken their lesson well from Paul as the transmitter. 
Paul had also given them the concrete expression of 
abstract truth : " and heard and saw in me."^ They 
knew his life among them which was an open book 
to them. This is the Bible that the world eagerly 

^ " Facit transitionem a generalibus ad Paulina " (Bengel). 

* a flat ijiddere Kai TzaptXa^ere. Vg. qua et didkistis, et 

^ izai TjkouffaTe /iai el'dere iv kfxoi. Vg. et audistis, et vi- 
distis in me. 


reads, the epistle that is known and read of all men, 
the life of Christ in God's people. There is no es- 
cape from it. Paul humbly points to his life in Christ 
as an aid to the Philippians in following after the 
great ideals set before them, " And the God of peace 
shall be with you." ' This is proper preparedness to 
make peace with God by surrender to His will and 
then to find peace and power in God through Christ. 

* /lot 6 ffed? r^9 elpijvrjg k'trrat ;x£6^ ufiwv. Vg. Deus pads 
erit vobiscum. For this phrase (God of peace) see also Rom. 
15 : 33 ; 16 : 20 ; I Thess. 5 : 23 ; Heb. 13 : 20. 


(4 : 10-23) 

THIS Epistle is not long, but it is very rich 
in thought and fertile in suggestion. There 
seems little order save the introduction, the 
body of the Epistle, and the close, but Paul has an 
orderly method in his own mind in spite of the ap- 
parently easy and incidental way in which he goes 
on his way. 

I. Delicate Appreciation (verse 10). 

" But I rejoice in the Lord greatly," ' Paul adds 
with no apology for his repeated expression of joy 
in the Lord, great ' joy this time, " that now at length 
ye have revived your thought for me." ^ Paul had 
indeed alluded to the generosity of the Philippians in 
the gift which Epaphroditus had brought (1:5, 7; 
2 : 30), but he had not formally thanked them for 
their kindness. He seemed about to forget it in his 

^ i^dprjv de kv Ruplm fj.eydXw?. The epistolary aorist 
(Robertson, " Grammar," p. 845). " The de arrests a sub- 
ject which is in danger of escaping " (Lightfoot). 

^ Polycarp ad Phil. i. has auve^dpr/v ufilv ixeydlw^ iv Kupitp 
ijfiwv ^Irjffoo Xptazou. 

^ ozt ^Stj TtoTs dveddkeTe to unep ifioo <ppovetv, 



eager discussion of other things and so he checked 
himself before it was too late. They had sent the 
gift in the Lord and he had received it in the Lord 
and he now is grateful in the Lord. Kennedy thinks 
that Paul here discusses his attitude towards the gift 
of the Philippians because of the base slanders about 
him elsewhere. The " cloak of covetousness " was a 
phrase flung at him in Thessalonica that stuck and 
hurt this proud and sensitive man (i Thess, 2 : 5). 
It is an old canard that preachers preach for money. 
If so, very few ever get the object of their ambition. 
Paul defended his right to full pay for his preaching 
( I Cor. 9 : 3-18 ; Gal. 6 : 6), but because of the foolish 
misrepresentations of his work in Corinth he made the 
gospel message there without charge. Some even 
criticized him for this refusal to receive pay, but Paul 
continued to preach the Gospel for naught in Corinth 
to cut off occasion from those who desire occasion 
(2 Cor. 11:8-12). He even " robbed other churches " 
to do this thing. But even so he did not escape, for 
he was accused of using Titus to raise a fund for 
himself under pretense of getting money for the poor 
saints in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 12 : 16-18). It is a hu- 
miliating experience for a preacher to have to make 
public appeal for his own support. Paul refused to 
stoop to that level and worked with his own hands 
(i Thess. 2:9; Acts 20: 33 f) in order to be inde- 
pendent of those who were so ready to impute wrong 
motives to him. He rejoiced in the church at Phi- 


lippi because they trusted him and understood him. 
They gladly and frequently made contributions for 
the support of his work elsewhere. For some time 
the Philippians had not remembered Paul in this 
way. He had been a prisoner in Csesarea for over 
two years. Then came the voyage and shipwreck 
and the imprisonment in Rome. A considerable in- 
terval had elapsed since the last time (cf. 2 Cor. 11:9) 
before Epaphroditus came. It has seemed long 
(" now at length ") to Paul as he looked back over it 
all. The coming of Epaphroditus seemed like a 
genuine revival of interest on the part of the Philip- 
pians. It was like old times to hear from them again 
in this way. " Ye let your thought of me sprout up * 
now once again " like a plant in spring (the miracle 
of spring !). Their thought of Paul had blossomed 
again like the first crocuses of spring. Like a bunch 
of roses their gift spoke volumes. It was sweet to 
Paul to be remembered again by his old friends in 
his hour of trial. People sometimes take the pastor 
too much as a matter of course. It did my soul 
good one day to hear a deacon say of his pastor : 
" He is worth his weight in gold." I told the pastor 
what the deacon had said and it cheered him greatly. 
But Paul's delicate nature shrinks from the impli- 
cation that they had really forgotten him. " Wherein 
ye did indeed take thought, but ye lacked oppor- 

* dvsddXsTs. Rare second aorist form and probably transi- 
tive as in Ezek. 1 7 : 24. Ingressive aorist. 


tunity." ' Paul's sensitive concern makes him with- 
draw the implied rebuke for their apparent neglect. 
They may not have known always where he was or 
they may have had no messenger till Epaphroditus 
came. The word for " lacked opportunity " could 
mean " lacked means." Expression of thanks is 
often embarrassing, but Paul keeps his poise and 
misses the pitfalls. 

2. Manly Independence (verses ii^, 17^). 

Paul is not free from fear about being misunder=. 
stood on the subject of money. It is in truth a 
thorny problem. He has set straight his appre- 
ciation of the continued interest and love of the 
Philippians. But he shrinks again from the fear 
that they will think that he is hinting for future 
favours. " Not that I speak in respect of want." ^ 
He repeats the same caveat in verse 17^: " Not that 
I seek for the gift." ^ Paul does not wish his joy 
at this fresh proof of their love to be understood 
as mere satisfaction at relief from want or begging 
for a repetition of like generosity. He is not sug- 

* l(p ij} k(i\ t(ppovsiT£, rj/iatpeTfrOs Si. The imperfects pic- 
ture the state of mind of the Philippians. Liddell and Scott 
give only one instance (Diod. Siculus) o^ dkatpiu). Moulton 
& Milligan's " Vocabulary " gives no instance in the papyri 
and inscriptions, but does give ai(aipu)'S and anaipia. Eu- 
kaipio) in sense of favourable opportunity occurs in the papyri. 

''■ Oir^ on na(f ufrziprimv kiyu). Cf. 3:12 for similar use 
of ou^j^ ore to guard against misapprehension. The Vg. has 
non quasi propter penuriam dico. 

^ Ou^ on iTTi^TjTut TO dofiu. Note the force of i~i. 


gesting that they do it again. Many another 
preacher has had similar emotions as he expresses 
appreciation of the kindnesses received at the hands 
of friends. Paul is sensitive on the point of his 
financial independence. He vindicated his right to 
adequate remuneration for his work in Corinth, as we 
have seen (i Cor. 9 : 6-20), but all the same he would 
not allow them to pay him because of their suspicion 
and perversion of his conduct. So he toiled on at 
his trade of tent-making and supported himself in the 
main, though he did accept the gifts from the Phi- 
hppians. Many of the pioneer American preachers 
were confronted with precisely this situation. In 
order to preach at all they had to support them- 
selves. Usually the pioneer preacher had a farm. 
Sometimes he was a merchant, a lawyer, or a phy- 
sician. All honour to the courageous men who met 
abnormal conditions and knew how to preach Christ 
in spite of ignorance and prejudice. We are not yet 
past this mistreatment of preachers who are paid in 
most cases a pitiful salary and are not allowed to 
splice it out by secular business. If preachers do not 
live well on a pittance, they are considered poor 
business- men. If they do make some money, they 
are charged with being fond of filthy lucre, as, alas, 
is sometimes true. But the modern minister must 
keep out of debt, pay his bills promptly, make a good 
appearance and so dress well, entertain largely, edu- 
cate his children, lead his church in beneficence, and 


save some money for old age when no church wants 
his services. It is a vicious circle and leads too often 
to debt and loss of financial standing and almost 
of self-respect. The whole business cheapens the 
preacher. Paul felt it all keenly. It rankled in his 
breast. He would be manly and self-reliant. He 
would be independent and stand on his own feet. It 
is openly charged to-day against the ministry that 
they are often afraid to speak out against crying evils 
(like the liquor business, the divorce evil, the wrongs 
done to labouring men), because the preacher's salary 
is largely paid by men guilty of some of these social 
sins. It is probably sometimes true, but the great 
mass of modern preachers are loyal to their ideals 
and risk all for their message. Pay the preacher a 
decent salary. 

3. Learning the Secret (verses 11^, 12). 

The ministry has its limitations. They are the 
limits of efficiency and service also. It is no life 
of self-indulgent affluence. Many things must be 
given up. Happy is the man who learns this lesson 
soon. Paul had learned the joy of doing without. 
" For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, 
therein to be content." ' Paul had to learn it for 
himself^ as we all do. He still knows ^ his lesson. 

' iyu) yap £[j.aOov Iv o\^ eiiju aordp/irj^ elvat. 

* Note emphasis of kyuj yap. 

•'* £/iaO()v is aorist indicative, but a timeless aorist. It is the 
constative aorist and sums up all the life of Paul as one experi- 
ence. Cf. Robertson, "Grammar," pp. 831-834. 


I " The tuition has extended over his whole experience 
up to the present " (Vincent). It is now his blessed 
possession and helps to explain his sense of manly 
independence. One can be too complacent for any 
use and lack ambition. One can be content only 
when he has reached the goal of his desires. Happy 
is the man who keeps the golden mean, who is not 
slothful, who is not resentful. There is a holy dis- 
content. The Stoics made a good deal out of the 
virtue of self-sufficiency or independence of external 
circumstances.' They held that a man should be 
sufficient in and unto himself in all things. When 
asked who was the wealthiest, Socrates said : " He 
who is content with least, for self-sufficiency is 
nature's wealth" (Stob. Flor. v. 43). Plato {Tim. 
33 D) held that a being who was self-sufficient was 
far superior to one that lacked anything.^ But, 
though Paul uses the Stoic word, he has more than 
the Stoic idea. He expressly disclaims this mere 
self-sufficiency : " Not that we are sufficient of our- 
selves, to account anything as from ourselves ; but 
our sufficiency is from God " (2 Cor. 3 : 5). " And 

^ This is the true meaning o^ aurdpk-q<s (^auro? and apKiwi). 
So Marcus Aurelius i. 16 to aurapA-Eg iv navri. Seneca to 
Gallio De l^ita Beata 6 Beatus est prsesentibus, quseliacunque 
sunt, contentus. 

^ Cf. also Repub. 369 B. The papyri naturally give no 
examples of this philosophic use of ahxdpfzri<i. Sharp quotes 
Epictetus (" Epictetus and the New Testament," p. 124): 
" Rejoice in what you have and be content {afdiza) with 
those things for which it is the season." 


God is able to make all grace abound unto you ; that 
ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may 
abound unto every good work " (2 Cor. 9 : 8). Paul's 
sufficiency is in Christ (Phil. 4: 1 3) who makes a new 
self out of the old. Christ in Paul is the secret. It 
is godliness with contentment that is great gain 
(i Tim. 6 : 6) over Stoicism and the so-called Chris- 
tian Science of to-day which ignores and denies the 
facts of life. Paul is fully aware of the state in which 
he is, but he has learned how to rise above circum- 
stance and environment and to be superior to these 
external matters. It is easy enough to be content 
somewhere else and in a different set of circum- 
stances. But, caught in the net of evil chance, what 
is one to do, driven on by the Stunn imd Drang 
of things ? The problem with us all is precisely how 
to find content in the midst of things that ought to 
be changed. We should change what ought to be 
changed and can be changed for the better. What 
cannot be cured has to be endured. Do it with a smil- 
ing face. This is the lesson learned by Paul. This is 
the secret of a happy life. Kennedy quotes Boswell's 
" Johnson " (Globe ed., p. 351) : " Dr. Johnson talked 
with approbation of one who had attained to the state 
of the philosophical wise man, that is, to have no want 
of anything. ' Then, sir,' said I, ' the savage is a wise 
man.' • Sir,' said he, ' I do not mean simply bemg 
without, — but not having a want.' " 

" I know how to be abased, and I know also how 


to abound." ' Some people can stand adversity who 
are ruined by prosperity. Poverty imposes a certain 
restraint that is swept away by the flood-tide of 
riches. Some are happy with plenty and grow bit- 
ter in spirit when want knocks at the door. Some 
wealthy men give most of their money away in order 
to save their sons from the peril of money. The 
discipline of life is worth more than ease to make a 
man that is worth while. " Give me neither poverty 
nor riches." Yes, but life does not flow in such a 
placid stream as that. Drouth follows flood. The 
Nile runs low (Diod. i. 36) and the water has to be 
conserved by irrigation now as of old. One must 
learn how to endure either famine or plenty, the lean 
years and the fat. The pendulum swings back and 
forth. Poise of character must keep us steady when 
either extreme comes. " Or did I commit a sin in 
abasing myself that ye might be exalted f" Paul 
asks the Corinthians with keen irony (2 Cor. 1 1 : y)} 
" In everything and in all things have I learned the 
secret." ^ Paul uses the particular and the general 
in an effort to cover completely the whole of life's 
varied experiences. " In every way have we made 

' 6\8a kai raTtetvouffdac, olda /?ai izepiGffeueiu. " The one 
fcai must be correlative to the other " (Kennedy). Cf. Robert- 
son, " Grammar," pp. 1 180 f. 

^ Here ucpouv is the antithesis of raneivouv as is usual, but in 
Phil. 4 : I 2 it is Tteptffffeuetv. 

* kv TtavT'i /ia\ iv ndffcv /xe/jLUfjfiac. In Allem und Jedem. 
Vg. wrongly translates ubique et in omnibus institutus sum. 


this manifest unto you in all things " (2 Cor. 11 : 6). 
The word for learning the secret ' here means " I 
have been initiated " or " I possess the secret." It 
was used of initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries.^ 
Our very word mystery^ is this Greek word. The 
Mithraists also used it for their secret rites. Paul 
takes the word and employs it of the mystic initia- 
tion into the hfe in Christ which makes him superior 
to all the accidents that come and go. " The 
secret of the Lord is with them that fear him " (Ps. 
25 : 14). The wisdom of Solomon (8 : 4) speaks of 
our being initiated into the knowledge of God.^ Ig- 
natius^ speaks of those who are "co-mystics with 
Paul the sanctified." The initiate kept his secret. 
Paul gloried in the mystery of God (Christ) in whom 
all the treasures of knowledge are hidden (Col. 2 : 2 f. ; 
cf. also I : 26 f.). The baptized Christian came to be 
called the initiated one. Paul had his initiation into 
the mystery of happiness in the ups and downs of 
his life for Christ in the Roman world. " Both to be 
filled and to be hungry," ^ says Paul, both to have 
plenty like a horse with plenty of fodder or grass 
and to be hungry with no grass at all. " Both to 

* fisfiurjfiac from fiuiio to close or shut (cf. mutus, mute) is 
the present perfect passive. 

^ Cf Herod, ii. 5 1 ; Plato, Gorg. 497 C. ; Aristoph. Plut. 
846 ; Plut. Mor. p. 795 E. ^ fiuffTijpiov. 

* fj.>)aTt<s yap iffTCv T^9 tou Oeou iTrtffTrjfiTjg. 

^ Eph. XII. llauXou a-ufifiuffrat rou ijyiaaiiivou. 
® kal j^npTa^ecdai Rai neivdv. 


abound and to be in want," ' he concludes, both to 
overflow like a river and be dry like a desert. Alas, 
how familiar the second word is to many preachers 
who know what it is to be behind in one's accounts 
with nothing in the bank to draw on. To be in want 
and have no way to supply the necessary demands 
of life is a tragedy. One can see the pretty things in 
the stores and pass them by, the new books in the 
shops and let them go. But it is hard to see one's 
own family suffer for food and raiment and fuel. 
Paul had learned how to do without many things, 
not even to want them, and yet to be happy. He 
had all in Christ and abounded. 

4. Paul's Dynamo (verse 13). 

In dodging this and that misapprehension Paul 
has avowed his independence of material comforts. 
It is not a new attitude for Paul; He has long come 
to feel that the unseen, not the seen, is the proper 
goal of endeavour (2 Cor. 4: 17 f.). " I can do all 
things in him that strengtheneth me." ^ Paul feels 
able not only to do what he had said in verse 12, but 
also to meet all demands of a similar nature. It is 
sublime egotism surely. But is that all ? Is it true? 
" I have strength for all things," ' he means. This 

* Kal TtepcafftUEtv fiai offrepelffdat. 

^ TzdvTa lay^bu) sv tw ivduva/iouvrt fj.e. Vg. has Omnia possum 
in eo, qui me confortat. 

^ Cf. Jas. 5:16. TtoXh Iff^oet. Cf. also Gal. 5 : 6. The 
accusative is due to the verb and is not adverbial. Auvafits 
is manifested in iff^Og. 


strength resides in ' Christ who furnishes the power 
for the exercise of this spiritual prowess. Christ 
" empowers " ^ Paul, surcharges him with energy. 
Christ is Paul's dynamo potential and actual. Christ 
" infuses strength " (Vincent) into Paul and hence he 
has it in all abundance. Paul uses this great word 
elsewhere also of Christ's relation to him. " I thank 
him that enabled^ me, Christ Jesus our Lord" 
(i Tim. I : 12). " But the Lord stood by me, and 
strengthened me"* (2 Tim. 4: 17). Paul has spir- 
itual power for Hfe because Christ is his life. " Be 
strong in the Lord"^ (Eph. 6: 10). This power is 
accessible to all who will yield themselves to Christ, 
who unreservedly place themselves at the service of 
Jesus, who make the full surrender to God. So then 
it is not an idle boast that Paul is making. It is no 
boast at all. He does not mean that he always has 
his way. Far from it. He has learned to do without 
his way and to find his j'oy in God's way so that no 
one can rob him of this joy in Christ. Men can kill 
him, but they cannot deprive him of the love and the 
power of Christ in his life (Rom. 8 : 35-39). Paul 
leads the victorious life because he lets Christ reign 
and rule in his heart. The power of Christ in Paul 
is not for the gratification of Paul's whims, but for 

' iv here is more than the so-called instrumental use. 

* £v8uvaii6co is a rare word. It occurs in Judg. 6 : 34 
(Codex A) -Kveuiia Oeou iveduvd/iioffev rov Vedeibv. 

^ r<j) iv8uva/i.d>(TavTt p.£. 

* iveduvd/jLojffiv /jl£, ^ ivduva/iouffOs iv /{upi(f>. 


the carrying out of Christ's will. In a real sense 
therefore the Christian is a reproduction of Christ. 
A small dynamo can retain its energy if continually 
replenished. Christians themselves are spiritual 
dynamos, but they must be in constant touch with 
the source of life and energy. Ignatius ' said : " I 
undergo all things, since he himself strengthens me 
who is perfect man." The constant inflow of power 
from Christ allows Paul to be a continuous supply of 
energy for others. 

5. Courteous Thanks (verses 14-18). 

Once more Paul catches himself before he creates 
the impression that he does not really care for the 
gift of the Philippians. He is independent and self- 
reliant and able to meet every emergency by the 
grace and power of Jesus Christ. But this does not 
mean that he does not suffer privation and affliction. 
It is not " thankless thanks " as Holsten argues. 
" Howbeit ye did well that ye had fellowship with 
my affliction." 2 The gift was not superfluous for 
Paul was still a prisoner and in affliction. He as- 

^ Smyrn. IV. Ttavra unofiivcu, auroo fie hduva[ioovTo<s too 
TzXetou dvOpwnou. 

^ ttXtjv KaXu)'^ inotyjffaTe (TUvriOiv(ov7JtyavTi(; fioo tj dXiipet. 
On tzXt)v see I : 18 ; 3 : 16. For this idiomatic va&oi icaX(b<i 
and the participle see Acts 10 : 33 ; 2 Pet. 1:19; 3 John 6. 
For £i> see Acts i 5 : 29. It is the supplementary participle. 
Robertson, " Grammar," p. 1121. Hort. on i Pet. 2:12 
says that kaX6(i " denotes that kind of goodness which is at 
once seen to be good." 


serted his independence as the rule of his whole life 
in Christ, not as a reflection on the generosity of the 
Philippians. So Paul's appreciation is hearty and 
sincere and not ironical. The Philippians had made 
common cause ' with Paul in his long imprisonment 
and this fact Paul would never forget. They " went 
shares " with Paul (Lightfoot on Gal. 6 : 6). Vincent 
quotes Ben Johnson's use of " communicate " in the 
old sense of " share," " thousands that communicate 
our loss." 

Paul gives the Philippians their crown of glory as 
the first of the apostolic churches to rise to the full 
height of complete cooperation in the missionary 
enterprise. The church at Jerusalem had a powerful 
Pharisaic element in it, the Judaizers (" they that 
were of the circumcision "), who arraigned Peter for 
preaching to and associating with Cornehus (Acts 
II : i-i8) and who challenged the missionary propa- 
ganda of Paul and Barnabas among the Gentiles 
(Acts 15:1-35). In Antioch itself Barnabas and 
Saul won sympathy, but no financial support (Acts 
13 and 14), a great advance on Jerusalem. But it 
was the Philippians who first made contributions to 
the support of Paul in his great work. " And ye 
yourselves also know, ye Philippians." ^ Ye men of 

* ffuv/zntvatv^travre?. Paul makes abundant use of com- 
pounds with fTov like the ^oivij generally, in spite of its rarity 
as a preposition. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 626fF. 

^ uldare Se Uai Ufie'fi, (Pihr.niiaioi. Cf. I Thess. 2:1. 


Philippi know this as well as I, Paul explains. It 
was no secret. " In the beginning of the gospel, 
when I departed from Macedonia, no church had 
fellowship with me in the matter of giving and re- 
ceiving but ye only." ^ Paul is not apologizing for a 
disappointment in the later cessation of their gifts, 
but enlarging the scope of his appreciation. The 
rather he praises them in that they had opened an 
account with Paul, a credit and debit page, " in the 
matter of giving and receiving." This is a common 
expression for pecuniary transactions (Sir. 41 : 19; 
42 : 7 ; Epictetus ii. : 9 ; Hermas Mand. v. 2). The 
" beginning of the gospel " refers evidently to the 
early stage of the work in Macedonia about ten 
years before this letter, not the origin of the gospel 
work in Palestine. We know precisely then that the 
Philippians helped Paul while he was in Corinth (cf. 
2 Cor. 11:8 f.). But he here shows that even while 
in Macedonia the church at Philippi had helped Paul. 
" For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again 
unto my need." ^ Paul had left Timothy in Philippi 
when he and Silas left (Acts 16 : 40 ; 17:4), but he 
was in Beroea with Silas when Paul v/ent on to 

^ on iv dpx^ TOO eoayysXiau, ore ^^rjXffov 0.1:6 MantSovia^, 
oudsfxia (lot i/z/zXy^aia ifiotvcovrjffev e;'? Xoyov 5off£wp /zal 
X7jii(/'£wg £1 [j.rj vfie'i^ /zwvot. The papyri give Xoyo^ in sense 
of" account " as ei? Xoyw ifj.aTt(Tfj.0D on account of clothing. 
P. Oxy. 2752' A. D. 66. 

^ art KaX h Oe(taaXoAKri Koi aiza^ Rai 3\g e;'? rijv ^peiav 
[lou inijxfpaTe. Cf. I Thess. 2 : 18 for ana^ kai d\^. 


Athens (Acts l^ : 14 f). Probably Timothy had 
brought gifts, but even in Thessalonica they had 
sent contributions more than once. They kept it up 
after Paul went to Corinth as we have seen (2 Cor. 
11:8 f.), though Thessalonica and Bercea may now 
have joined with PhiHppi in the gifts to Paul since 
Paul speaks of " other churches " (2 Cor. 1 1 : 8). 
Timothy and Silas may have brought gifts from all 
these churches when they came to Corinth (cf. Acts 
18:5). " Not only on my departure, but even before 
I departed you were mindful of my necessities " 

" Not that I seek for the gift." " Again the 
Apostle's nervous anxiety to clear himself inter- 
poses" (Lightfoot). He is not hinting for more 
gifts. They must excuse him for saying that again 
(4 : 1 1). " But I seek for the fruit that increaseth to 
your account." ' It is not the gift so much as the 
giving that has brought joy to Paul's heart (Ken- 
nedy). A raven could bring a gift as to Elijah. But 
the real " interest "^ on their investment is the spir- 
itual fruit that comes to them. This is the real credit 
side of the ledger. " It is more blessed to give than 
to receive " as Jesus said (Acts 20 : 35). The way to 
lay up treasure in heaven is to give it away while on 

' dlXk int^TjTui Tuv kapTZuv ruv TtXeovd^ovra e;? kdyov UfiSiv. 
Cf. 2 Cor. 9 : 6. 

'^ Chrysostom explains all these terms here by the money- 
market. He says : 6 /zapnu^i i^sivocs rilcreTai. 


earth. " Ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and 
the end eternal hfe " (Rom. 6 : 22). It is Hterally true 
that we only save what we give. It is also true that 
without giving we cannot grow in grace as we ought. 
If the Gospel could be preached to the world free of 
all cost, it would be a misfortune to the churches for 
they would be denied this spiritual growth that comes 
from hearty giving to the Lord's cause. 

" But I have all things, and abound." ' " I have 
the receipt in full." Deissmann ^ finds " countless in- 
stances " of the verb in the ostraca and papyri in the 
sense of receipt in full. Paul can give them this re- 
ceipt in full for their gifts. He overflows with their 
love. He has more than he could desire. " Who is 
rich ? He that is contented with his lot " (C. Taylor, 
" Sayings of Jewish Fathers," p. 64). " I am filled, 
having received from Epaphroditus the things from 
you," ' Paul can stand no more for the present, so 
bountifully have the Philippians supplied his needs. 
In giving to Paul they have given unto God, " an 
odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well- 
pleasing unto God." ^ Their gift is like the fragrance 

^" Light from the Ancient East," p. no. \jk& aiziy^uiv 
Tzapa (TOO TiXe^(n(i^ ini^ivoo (ostracon), Hizij^u) izap viiwv toi* 
<pnpov (Fayum Pap. a. d. 57). Cf. Matt. 6:2. It is the 
aoristic present. Cf. Robertson, " Grammar," pp. 864-870. 

* TtenX-qpuilxai de^dfievog napa ^Enacppodirou rd nap" Ufiibv. 
Note tense of Tte-KXijpwfiac (state of completion), full satisfac- 

* dfffiijv euojdta?, Ouaiav defczijv, euapeffTov zip deep. 


of sweet incense (cf. Eph. 5 : 2). The figure is very 
common of the sacrifices in the Old Testament (Gen. 
8:21; Ex. 29 : 18). The gift is a spiritual sacrifice. 
They were not actually buying grace, but they 
pleased God with this proof of their love and loyalty 
(cf. Rom. 12: 1 f. ; Heb. 13 : 16 ; i Pet. 2 : 5). Surely 
Paul has given golden words for the loving tokens 
from the Philippians. 

6. Riches in Glory (verses 19 f.). 

Paul adds God's blessing with all his heart and 
with full confidence. " God's treatment of them cor- 
responds to their treatment of Paul " (Kennedy). 
" And my God shall supply every need of yours." * 
You have filled my cup to overflowing ^ (verse 18). 
God shall fill^ yours to the brim and over. Paul 
says " my God " because he had tested and tried 
God as his own Protector and Father. He has not 
forgotten me, and He will not forget you. There is 
implied also God's " practical approval " (Vincent) 
of the conduct of the Philippians towards Paul. But, 
just as Paul had received his highest blessing in his 
independence of his environment, so the Philippians 
will receive blessings from God " according to his 
riches in glory in Christ Jesus." * God has unlimited 
resources and unbounded love. The measure ° of His 
beneficence is " the riches in glory in Christ Jesus/' 

^ 6 Se Oeog fiou TtXrjpdxret naffav ^psiav v/mwv. 

^ TTETrXtjpto/iat. ^ nXi^piuffet. 

* Kara to tzXouto^ auToo iv So^tj Iv Xptar^ Wrjaou, ^ fiard. 


" the unsearchable riches of Christ " ' (Eph. 3 : 8), 
the " unspeakable gift " ^ (2 Cor. 9 : 15). God's bless- 
ing will be both temporal and spiritual, but the weight 
of glory of the spiritual far surpasses the light afflic- 
tion of the present (2 Cor. 4 : 17). The Philippians 
had not done what they did as a matter of spiritual 
barter with God. Paul does not take it so. The dig- 
nity and delicacy of his words here are above all praise. 
He expresses his own independence without harshness 
while he exhibits the utmost courtesy and gratitude 
towards his benefactors for this fresh expression of their 
love. Blessings on those who have done so many 
kindnesses to ministers of Christ. They gave the cup 
of cold water in the name of a disciple and it did not 
escape the eye of Christ. The preacher has to learn 
to fix his eye upon the spiritual values in life as his 
chief reward (2 Cor. 4 : 18). The riches in glory in 
Christ are the real wealth of the world after all and 
this treasure is offered to all disciples of Jesus who do 
the work of Christ in the spirit of Christ. " Now unto 
our God and Father be the glory for ever and ever. 
Amen." This is a suitable doxology. " The glory "^ 
belongs to God as our Father. Let us freely give it 
to Him. The word is used in the Septuagint for the 
glory of the Shekinah or Presence of God. Peter, 
James, and John saw Jesus bathed in this glory on 
the mount of transfiguration. Our glory in the end 

* TO dve^t^viaffTov ttXouto^ tou ^piffzou, 

^ rfj dv£/i3i7jyiJT0J abroo diope^L, ^ i] do^a. 


of the day will be to see Jesus crowned King of kings 
and Lord of lords. That will be glory for us. 

7. Paul's Farewell (verses 21-23). 

The time has come for Paul to say good-bye to the 
Philippians. The Epistle is after all very brief, but 
rich in thought. He may have written these last 
words with his own hand (cf. Gal. 6:11; 2 Thess. 
3 : 17). The Epistle was probably read to the 
whole church. " Salute every saint in Christ." ' 
The humblest man or woman who loves Christ has 
a claim on Paul's love. By " saint," as we have 
already seen, Paul does not mean the " professional " 
saint who prates of his piety which nobody else can 
recognize, nor does he mean the best of the Chris- 
tians in Philippi. He includes all true disciples of 
Christ. Saint is the inclusive name for followers 
of Jesus with the obligation to holiness involved in 
the name. " The brethren that are with me salute 
you." 2 Those Roman Christians who helped Paul 
in his work^ are here described as well as his per- 
sonal companions and fellow-travellers. " All the 
saints salute you." * Here the whole Roman brother- 
hood is included. " Especially they that are of Caesar's 
household." ^ Caesar's personal family is not meant, 

* dffndffaffOe izavra ayiov iv Xpiaru) 'Irjffou, 

* a.<Tnd!^<>vnat u;idi oi trhv i/ioi adeXifoi. 
' McGifFert, " Apostolic Age," p. 397. 

* aandZovrat u/j.d'i Travre? ul uycoi. 

^ fidXcffTa de ol i/z r^? Kaiaapo<i oi/fca^. Vg. maxime 
autevit qui de Casaris domo sunt. 


but the great imperial establishment which was very 
extensive, including slaves, freedmen, household serv- 
ants, dependents, and retainers of various kinds.' 
Some of the praetorian guard may have been in- 
cluded (Phil. I : 13). Many of the emperor's serv- 
ants came from the east and some of these could very 
well be Christians (cf. Rom. 16) even before Paul came 
to Rome and all the more so now. Sanday and 
Headlam on Romans show that many of the names 
in Romans 16 occur in the Corpus of Latin Inscrip- 
tions as members of the imperial household. Evi- 
dently Christ has come near to Caesar in Rome. 
Christ is challenging Caesar in his own home. These 
Christian slaves can do something to leaven the lump 
even there. We do not know why Paul puts in 
*' especially." Some of this number may have come 
originally from Philippi or may have been known to 
some of the Philippians. " The grace of the Lord 
Jesus Christ be with your spirit." ^ This is Paul's 
last word and one of his favourite benedictions (cf. 
Phile. 25 ; Gal. 6: 18). Paul's emphasis is on grace, 
grace from the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and 
Son of man, grace that ennobles and enriches the 
human spirit as the abode of God's Spirit. 

^ Cf. Lanciani, " Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Ex- 
cavations," pp. I 28 fF. See also Lightfoot's Coram, on Phi- 

^ij Xdpi<s '^00 Kupiou ^Irjaoo Xptffzou fxerd tou nveofiaTO^ 


Some Important Books on Philippians 

Alford, The Greek Testament. Vol.11. 1861. 
Baskerville, Side-Lights on the Epistle to the Philippians. 

Beet, A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles to the Ephe- 

sians, Philippians, and to Colossians and to Philemon. 

Bell and Lunsford, Epistle to the Philippians (Sou. Bapt. 

Conv. Commentaries. 191 7. 
Bengel, Gnomon Novi Testamenti. Ed. of Steudel. 1855. 
Calvin. 1539. 

Chrysostom, Migne's Patrologia. 1863. 
Dibelius, Lietzmann's Handbuch zum Neuen Testament. 

Drummond, J., International Handbooks to New Testa- 
ment. 1899. 
Eadie, A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of 

Paul to the Philippians. 2d ed. 1884. 
Ellicott, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on St. 

Paul's Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and 

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