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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Philippians 1

 

 

Verse 1

Philippians 1:1. The only significance belonging to the mention of Timothy is that he was a well-known figure at Philippi (Acts 16:1-12; Acts 19:22; Acts 20:3-6), that they owed much to him, and that he was about to visit them again. The Epistle claims, of course, to be exclusively Paul’s own.— δοῦλοι. Already in O.T. δ. is used in a distinctly religious sense; see esp(16) Psalms (LXX). As used by Paul, while expressing intense fervour of devotion, it includes the idea of a special calling and function in Christ’s kingdom, parallel to its application in O.T. to the prophets; see Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:10, also Titus 1:1. There is genuine humility in the contrast between δοῦλοι and ἁγίοις. He only calls himself ἀπόστολος when he assumes a commanding mood (Chr(17) ad loc.).— χρ. . The order strikes the keynote of Paul’s attitude towards his Master. He delights to think of Him in royal dignity, the Messiah who was once Jesus being now κύριος. For a good discussion of the respective designations χ. . and . χ., see Von Soden in Abhandlungen C. von Weizsäcker gewidmet, p. 118.— πᾶσιν τ. ἁγίοις. It is difficult to say whether πᾶσιν is emphatic or not. It is, at least, remarkable how often πᾶς appears in the opening paragraphs of this Epistle, as if to show Paul’s strict impartiality, perhaps in the face of some pretensions to superiority which appeared in the Philippian Church. But, on the other hand, see 2 Corinthians 1:1, Romans 1:7, where the same phrase seems to have no special emphasis.— τ. ἁγίοις. Really a terminus technicus of the early Church. Having as its basis that idea of consecration to God, and consequent participation in His Divine majesty which bulks so largely in O.T. religion (e.g., Leviticus 11:44-45, Judges 13:7), and continues to have full prominence in the N.T. (Acts, almost all Epistles, Rev.), it suggests also in every N.T. instance that side of Christian life which stands in most glaring contrast with the impurity and sensuality of the Gentiles, holiness of heart and conduct. This would naturally come into view as the result of the working of the Holy Spirit; see McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 509 ff.; Hltzm(18), N.T. Theol., ii., p. 152. The best commentary on the expression is John 17:11; John 17:14-23. In his salutations Paul uses the word as practically = ἐκκλησία (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1, with 1 Thessalonians 1:1). For the Christian Church is the spiritual successor of the sacred community of Israel. Ideally, all Christians are “saints,” cf. ἡγιασμένοις ἐν χ. . (1 Corinthians 1:2). The Spirit is, of course, the Sanctifier, but He only deals with those who are in Christ Jesus.— ἐν χ. . These words sum up Paul’s Christianity. They denote the most intimate living union that can be conceived between the soul of the believer and the Risen Lord. He, as Spirit, is the atmosphere in which the new life is lived. Cf. the Rabbinic use of מָקוֹם (place or space) as a name of God; see Taylor, Sayings of Jewish Fathers, 2nd ed., p. 39. The phrase occurs eight times in Phil. The same idea is expressed by χριστὸς ἐν ἐμοί; see esp(19) Galatians 2:20. “The gist of this formula εν χριστῷ is nothing else than Paul’s mystic faith, in which the believer gives up himself, his own life, to Christ, and possesses the life of Christ in himself: he in Christ, and Christ in him; he dead with Christ, and Christ become his life” (Pfl(20), Paulinism, E. Tr., i., p. 198). For the extraordinarily central place of the idea in Paul’s teaching, see Deissmann, Die Neutestamentliche Formel “in Christo Jesu” (Marburg, 1892).— σὺν ἐπισκόποις κ. διακόνοις. These keenly-discussed terms can only be most briefly examined. Who were the ἐπίσκ.? In LXX almost always = an official in charge of work being done (e.g., repairs in Temple; rebuilding of Jerusalem) or an officer in the army (much less frequently). In N.T., besides this passage, (a) Acts 20:28, applied by Paul to the πρεσβύτεροι of Ephesus, whom the Holy Ghost has made ἐπισκόπους ποιμαίνειν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ; (b) 1 Peter 2:25, of Christ, who is called τὸν ποιμένα καὶ ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν; (c) 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:7, where it is almost universally admitted to be synonymous with πρεσβύτερος. Two points are clear from N.T. evidence: 1. The ἐπίσκοπος is, at least, often the same person as the πρεσβύτερος. 2. The ἐπίσκ. is concerned with shepherding the flock of God. Have we any information to corroborate these facts? As to the first there is the strong tradition of the early Church, e.g., Jerome, Ep., 69, 3: apud veteres iidem episcopi et presbyteri; there is the admitted fact that in 1 Clem. the name πρεσβύτεροι is given to the ἐπίσκοποι; and Tertullian (Apologet., 39) designates the officials who preside over the congregation probati quique seniores; see esp(21) F. Loofs, SK(22), 1890, pp. 639–641. The second fact mentioned above conflicts with the celebrated theory of Hatch and Harnack (who has, however, greatly modified his standpoint; see his important review of Loening’s Die Gemeindeverfassung des Urchristenthums in Th. LZ(23), 1889, coll. 418–429), that the ἐπίσκοποι were distinct finance and cultus officials, who only gradually came into possession of more spiritual functions. But it seems hazardous to narrow down the duties of the ἐπίσκ. No doubt the name may, in certain cases, have been suggested by that of the ἐπίσκοπος or (more commonly) ἐπιμελητής, who exercised administrative control over the property of private associations and guilds existing at that time in the Hellenic world and enforced the rules of such associations (see J. Réville, Les Origines de l’Épiscopat, Paris, 1894, pp. 160–163). But just as the functions of these persons were left comparatively vague and undefined, so we might expect to find the beginnings of local administration in the Christian Church still less clearly marked. An additional reason for this would lie in the pre-eminent authority of the Apostles and the high place assigned to the possessors of “gifts”. Accordingly it appears wise to use great caution in making any distinction between πρεσβυτ. and ἐπίσκ. Probably the truth lies in the direction of regarding πρεσβ. as a title of status, while ἐπίσκ. is one of function. Probably all ἐπίσκοποι were πρεσβύτεροι, while the converse may not be true. The difference of name may point to some early (and unknown) difference of administration. The ἐπίσκ. may have had some special connexion with the celebration of the Eucharist as the central rite of Christian worship (see Sohm’s strong insistence on this point, Kirchenrecht, pp. 84 ff., 121 ff.) and with the management of Church property, which would originally consist of voluntary gifts offered to God in Christian worship. Gradually, as those endowed with extraordinary “charisms” (e.g., prophets, teachers, evangelists) passed away, their functions would tend to be assumed by the leading office-bearers in each congregation. So the sphere, e.g., of the ἐπίσκ., would be greatly enlarged. But we must be content, for lack of evidence, to do without precise definitions, only concluding as to the general equivalence in the earliest times of πρεσβ. and ἐπίσκ., and granting that their oversight and guidance were concerned with the spiritual as well as the material well-being of the organisation. Deacons are first mentioned here in the N.T. It is often tacitly assumed that they hold the office or function whose institution is described in Acts 6. This was an early tradition; e.g., Iren., iii., 12, 10: Stephanus … qui electus est ab apostolis primus diaconus. But there are considerable arguments against this view. These are admirably summarised by Gwatkin (Hastings’ B.D., i., 574). (1) The seven are nowhere in N.T. called διάκονοι. (2) The qualifications laid down (Acts 6:3) for the seven are much higher than those of 1 Timothy 3:8. (3) Stephen was largely a preacher and Philip an evangelist. (4) The seven evidently rank next to the Apostles at Jerusalem. Hpt(24) (Myr(25)6 ad loc.) holds that ἐπίσκ. and διάκ. denote here the same persons, the ἐπισκοπή being a διακονία towards the Church, and compares 1 Thessalonians 5:12, τοὺς κοπιῶντας καὶ προϊσταμένους. And the vague use of the word to denote any kind of Christian service (in earlier parts of N.T.) might seem to justify the idea. But considering the late date of Phil., it appears more reasonable to connect the office with that of 1 Timothy 3., where a clear distinction is drawn between the διάκ. and the ἐπίσκ. In the early Church the most necessary Christian service would be the care of the sick and poor. So the deacon must neither be double-tongued ( δίλογος) nor a “lover of dirty gain” (so Gwatk. tr. αἰσχροκερδής), for in his work of visiting he would have temptations to “gossip and slander” on the one hand, and to “picking and stealing from the alms” on the other (Gwatk loc. cit.). Many reasons are assigned fo the mention of these officers here. But it seems quite natural that Paul should specify those who stood in the forefrom of the Church’s work and life, more especially as the letter is one of thanks for the gift which has been sent to him, a gift the management of which would be in the hands of the controlling authorities in the Church.


Verse 1-2

Philippians 1:1-2. SALUTATION.


Verse 2

Philippians 1:2. Paul feels that the ordinary Greek salutation χαίρειν or the Eastern εἰρήνη σοι is too meagre for Christian intercourse. But closely connected with χαίρειν is his own great watchword χάρις, a word which, perhaps, above all others, shows the powerful remoulding of terms by Christian thought and feeling. χάρις for Paul is the central revelation of the fatherly heart of God in the redemption which Christ has accomplished for unworthy sinners. And its direct result is εἰρήνη, the harmony and health of that life which is reconciled to God through Jesus Christ; see an interesting discussion of the Apostolic greeting by F. Zimmer, Luthardt’s Zeitschr., 1886, p. 443 ff. Of course ἀπό governs κυρίου. The Socinian exegesis which makes κ. depend on πατρός is impossible in view of Titus 1:4 (so Gw(26) ad loc.).— κυρίου. The favourite designation of Jesus Christ in the early Church. See on chap. Philippians 2:11 infr. Cf. the extraordinary frequency of the term δεσπότης as applied to God in Apostolic Fathers, etc. On the whole subject see Harnack, Dogmen-Geschichte, i., pp. 153–158.


Verse 3

Philippians 1:3. Much may be said in favour of the reading ἐγὼ μὲν εὐχαριστῶ (see crit. note) from the point of view of sense. The antithesis would then show that the letter is a direct reply to one received from Philippi, and the emphasis on Paul’s own thanksgiving would be accounted for (with Zahn) by the supposition that the Philippians imagined a slight lack of cordiality on his part. This supposition is favoured by the prominence given in the Epistle to Paul’s delight in them.— εὐχ. τ. θ. ἐπί. Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:4, εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷἐπὶ τῇ χάριτιτῇ δοθείσῃ ὑμῖν; Papyr. Lond., xiii., κομισαμένη τὴν παρά σου ἐπιστολὴν παρʼ ὥρουἐπὶ μὲν τῷ ἐρρῶσθα[ ί] σε εὐθέως τοῖς θεοῖς εὐχαρίστουν (quoted by Dsm(27), BS(28), p. 210). A word condemned by the grammarians, but in common use from the time of Polyb., and found in modern Greek as ὐκαριστῶ (Hatz., Einleit., p. 285).— ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ ὑμῶν. These words have been the subject of much discussion. No doubt ἐπί could be used here in what Ell(29) calls its “ethicolocal” sense of a circumstance or experience regarded as the basis of an action, and thus the meaning would be: “I give thanks to my God at my whole remembrance of you” (“every remembrance” is, it seems to us, in spite of Kl(30), Lips(31) and Weizs., linguistically impossible). Or, what is more natural after εὐχαριστῶ (see exx. supr.), ἐπί may be “on account of”. This would make good sense. The total impression left upon him by his intercourse with them is one which calls forth thankfulness. There is another possible meaning supported by Hfm(32), Zahn, Wohl(33), Harnack (Th. LZ(34), 1889, col. 419) and Sohm (Kirchenrecht, p. 81). ὑμῶν may be gen. of subject, and so we should translate: “on account of your whole remembrance of me”. This would accord admirably with the context, preparing the way for κοινωνία (Philippians 1:5), and pointing delicately to the practical expression of their thoughtfulness. The only serious objection to it is that the other interpretation fits in more suitably with the parallels Romans 1:8-9, 1 Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Colossians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:2 and those in LXX.


Verses 3-8

Philippians 1:3-8. HIS THANKFULNESS, LOVE AND CONFIDENCE FOR THE PHILIPPIANS.


Verse 4

Philippians 1:4. Various divisions of these words have been proposed, some referring πάντοτεὑμῶν to the preceding verse, others taking πάντοτεμου together, and regarding the remainder of the sentence as a connected whole. It seems least arbitrary to find in Philippians 1:4 a complete thought. The prominence of πᾶς shows the exuberance of his joy in them.— δεήσει. A special aspect of προσευχή, that of entreaty for the satisfaction of some known want; cf. Ell(35) on 1 Timothy 2:1.— μετὰ χαρᾶς. The undertone of the whole letter.— δ. ποιούμενος. An interesting parallel in Papyr. of Faijûm, 172 A.D., δικαίαν δέ[ ησ] ιν ποιούμενος (Dsm(36), NBS(37), p. 78), in the general sense of “asking” (cf. δεήσεις ποιεῖσθαι, Luke 5:33, 1 Timothy 2:1).


Verse 5

Philippians 1:5. On what does ἐπί depend? Surely it follows χαρᾶς of preceding clause (so Chr(38), Th. Mps(39)) rather than εὐχαριστῶ of Philippians 1:3. It is, at least, awkward to take ἐπί twice with the same verb. μ. χαρᾶς has an emphatic position. Now he gives the reason for his joy.— τῇ κοινωνίᾳ. At the first glance κ. seems to refer to their mutual fellowship and harmony as Christians. A closer examination reveals that this whole passage is concerned with Paul’s personal relation to them. And so κ. anticipates συγκοινωνούς (Philippians 1:7), and will mean their common participation with Paul in spreading the Gospel. This really includes the idea of united action on the one hand, and the concrete expression of their helpfulness, their gift to the Apostle, on the other. Hort (Christian Ecclesia, p. 44) points out that there is something concrete in the κοινωνία of Acts 2:42. The same is true of Romans 15:26, 2 Corinthians 9:13, Hebrews 13:16. This concrete notion in κ. (almost equiv. to “contribution”) is supported by the use of εἰς, which is employed technically in contexts like this to denote the destination of money-payments, collections, etc. So 1 Corinthians 16:1, τῆς λογίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους; Acts 24:17, ἐλεημοσύνας ποιήσων εἰς τὸ ἔθνος μου. Important exx. from Papyri in Dsm(40), BS(41), pp. 113–114, NBS(42), p. 23. Cf. on the whole idea the most apt comment of Chr(43) ad loc.: ὅταν γὰρ ἐκεῖνος μὲν κηρύττῃ, σὺ δὲ θεραπεύῃς τὸν κηρύττοντα, κοινωνεῖς αὐτῷ τῶν στεφάνων. ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἔξωθεν ἀγῶσιν οὐ τοῦ ἀγωνιζομένου μόνον ἐστὶν στέφανος ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦ παιδοτρίβου καὶ τοῦ θεραπεύοντος καὶ πάντων ἀπλῶς τῶν ἀσκούντων τὸν ἀθλητήν.— τὸ εὐαγγ. It is unnecessary to narrow this down to the preaching of the Gospel. Used comprehensively.— ἀπὸ πρώτης. Cf. the account of their generosity in chap. Philippians 4:10 ff.— ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν. The same phrase in Romans 8:22. Cf. Papyr. of Faijûm μέχρ[ ι] τ[ οῦ] νῦν in Dsm(44), NBS(45), p. 81.


Verse 6

Philippians 1:6. αὐτὸ τοῦτο. Accus. of the “inner object,” where the neuter pronoun takes the place of a cognate substantive; cf. 2 Corinthians 13:1, τρίτον τοῦτο ἔρχομαι (see Blass, Gram., p. 89). αὐτὸ τοῦτο is characteristic of Paul, “the firm touch of an intent mind” (Moule, CT(46) ad loc.). “Having this firm persuasion.” Curiously enough, the same confident assurance, although based on very different grounds, is characteristic also of the later Jewish theology, e.g., Apocal. of Baruch (ed. Charles), xiii., 3. “Thou shalt be assuredly preserved to the consummation of the times.” Also xxv., 1; lxxvi., 2. “Christianity, by its completely rounded view of the world, guarantees to believers that they shall be preserved unto eternal life in the kingdom of God, which is God’s revealed end in the world” (Ritschl, Justification, E. Tr., p. 200).— ἐναρξάμενος. This verb, although a word of ritual in classical Greek, is found in LXX (Pentat.) apparently in the simple sense “begin”. In its only other occurrence in N.T., Galatians 3:3, it is combined with ἐπιτελέω as here.— ἔργον ἀγαθόν. De W., Lft(47) and others refer this to κοινωνία of Philippians 1:5. Is it not far more natural to regard it as “the work of God” par excellence, the production of spiritual life, the imparting of the χάρις of Philippians 1:7? Cf. chap. Philippians 2:13 and esp(48) Romans 14:20, μὴ ἕνεκεν βρώματος κατάλυε τὸ ἔργον τοῦ θεοῦ.— ἡμέρας . χ. On the order . χ., see Philippians 1:1 supr. ἡμ. lacks the article on the analogy of ἡμέρα κυρίου (LXX). This favourite conception of O.T. prophecy refers to “the time when the Lord reveals Himself in His fulness to the world, when He judges evil and fulfils His great purposes of redemption among men.… But the judgment has not its end in itself, it is but the means of making Jehovah known to the world, and this knowledge of Him is salvation” (Davidson, Nahum, etc., p. 105). It is easy to see how the N.T. idea grows out of this. Paul probably assumes that the day is not far off, but indulges in no dogmatising. This name is given to the day because Christ as κύριος is to be judge. Belief in the Parousia of Christ has a most prominent place in Paul’s religious thought. He never attempts to specify the time. But it cheers him, esp(49) in crises of his history (as in this Epistle), to believe that the Lord is near. (See Teichmann, Die paulin. Vorstellungen von Auferstehung und Gericht, p. 11 ff.). There is perhaps no part of Paul’s thought in which it is so difficult to trace a fixed outline of ideas as the eschatological. And yet there is no part more regulative for him than this.


Verse 7

Philippians 1:7. δίκαιον. = our “right” or “natural”.— τοῦτο φρονεῖν ὑπ. ὑμ. Not “think this concerning you,” but “have this care on your behalf”; cf. chap. Philippians 4:10 τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν. τοῦτο of course refers to the finishing in them of God’s “good work”. φρ. seems always to keep in view the direction which thought (of a practical kind) takes. ὑπέρ usually has the sense of “interest in” (so Lft(50)).— διὰ τὸ κ. τ. λ. Paul’s only use of διά with infin.— ἐν τ. καρδίᾳ. Perhaps it is best (with Zahn) to take κ. here not so much as the seat of the softer feelings, but rather as the abode of the stronger thoughts, resolutions, etc. A regular Greek usage. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9, 2 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6 et al. Thus the whole expression would almost be equiv. to “I know that you,” etc.; cf. ἄσβεστον ὑμῶν περιφέρω τὴν μνήμην (Thdrt(51)). His love is expressed in the next verse.—Evidently ἔν τε τοῖς δεσμ. κ. τ. λ. goes with the following clause, for it is much more natural to suppose a break at the first ὑμᾶς, which is resumed by the second. On ἐν before τ. ἀπολ. see crit. note. Paul separates here (so also Wohl(52)) between his δεσμοί and his ἀπολογία, which makes up one idea with βεβαίωσις. It seems to us clear that this ἀπολ. marks a crisis in his circumstances of which the influence is seen all through the Epistle; cf., e.g., Philippians 1:19; Philippians 1:25, chap. Philippians 2:23-24. Ought it not to be taken in its ordinary judicial sense of a defence against a regular charge? (as against Lft(53) and Moule, CT(54), who refer ἀπ. and βεβ. to Paul’s missionary work at Rome, and Hpt(55), who thinks of Paul’s whole activity in refuting opponents, both public and private). The correctness of this view receives strong confirmation from Dsm(56) (BS(57), p. 100 ff.), who shows that Paul, like the Translators of the LXX, was well acquainted with the technical sense of βεβαίωσις (Lat. evictio), the obligation under which the seller came to the buyer to guarantee against all claims his right to what he had bought. So Paul’s defence before the emperor is a guarantee of the Gospel, a warrant of its value and claims. For ἀπολ. see 2 Timothy 4:16. “My defence and confirmation of the Gospel.”— συνκ. μ. τ. χάρ. χάρις here must be the great central gift of God’s grace, which Paul always keeps in the foreground. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:10, χάριτι δὲ θεοῦ εἰμὶ εἰμι, καὶ χάρις αὐτοῦ εἰς ἐμὲ οὐ κενὴ ἐγενήθη. There is no need to limit it to the grace of apostleship or to that granted to him in his trials and sufferings. Their love and kindness towards him and his great work, even at the darkest moments in his career, are proof enough that they share along with him in the grace of God. It is probably better to separate μου from χάριτος. [J. Weiss (Th. LZ(58), 1899, col. 263) would read χρείας, comparing chap. Philippians 2:25, Philippians 4:16, Romans 12:13. Certainly this would give good sense and be more pointed.]


Verse 8

Philippians 1:8. An exact parallel is Romans 1:9-11, μάρτυς γάρ μού ἐστιν θεόςὡς ἀδιαλείπτως μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιοῦμαιἐπιποθῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς. Such adjuration of God he uses only in solemn personal appeals; cf. Galatians 1:20. Perhaps this goes to justify Zahn in supposing that the Philippians had imagined some lack of cordiality in Paul’s reception of their gift. Comm(59) have noted the intensity of language manifested in the compound ἐπιποθῶ. But it is needful to remember the fondness of later Greek for compounds which had lost their strong sense. Calvin, with practical insight: neque enim parum hoc valet ad fidem doctrinæ, faciendam cum persuasus est populus a doctore se amari.— ἐν σπλάγχνοις. “With the heart of Jesus Christ” (with which his own has become identified). This amounts to the same thing as love. Cf. Galatians 2:20, which is the best comment. Possibly Paret (Jahrb. f. deutsche Theol., iii., 1, p. 25) is not too fanciful in finding here a definite recollection of Jesus’ nature, of which σπλαγχνίζεσθαι (in the Gospels) is a common expression. Every genuine pastor has some experience of this feeling.


Verse 9

Philippians 1:9. Zahn would put this clause under the government of ὡς in the preceding sentence. No strong argument can be used against this, but it is doubtful whether the explanation is necessary. In the use of ἵνα here, “purport” (to adopt Ellicott’s expression) seems to be blended with “purpose”. There are certainly passages in which the full “telic” force of ἵνα cannot be fairly asserted. This accords with the development of the later language. See Hatz., Einl (Hatzidakis, Einleitung in die Neugriech. Grammatik), p. 214 ff. Possibly ἵνα in this passage is rhetorically parallel to ἵνα in Philippians 1:10. (See J. Weiss, Beiträge zur Paulin. Rhetorik, p. 9.)— ἀγάπη ὑμ. can scarcely mean anything else than “your love towards one another”. This has been already exemplified in their κοινωνία with Paul.— περισσεύῃ. In LXX, chiefly in Sirach. It is mainly in Paul’s writings that it reaches this derivative sense of “abound”. In the Synoptics it still means (usually), as in ordinary Greek, “to remain over”. Sola charitas non admittit excessum (Bacon, de Augm. Scient., vii., 3, quoted by Gwynn).— ἐπιγν. κ. π. αἰσθ. Apparently an eager and enthusiastic spirit prevailed in this Church. As so commonly, it might be accompanied by a slight want of discernment. That would lead, on the one hand, to misunderstandings over trifling matters (cf. chap. Philippians 4:2?), on the other, to giving heed to plausible teachers. As the Galatians combined enthusiasm and fickleness, perhaps, at Philippi, enthusiasm was apt to prevail over spiritual common sense. Is not Lft(1) mistaken in annotating “Love imparts a sensitiveness of touch,” etc.? This is not before Paul’s mind. His prayer is that the sensitiveness of touch may be added to love.— ἐπιγν. A favourite word in the Epistles of the imprisonment. A good example of its intensive force is 1 Corinthians 13:12, ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην. Very frequent in Justin M., e.g., a definition of ἐπιστήμη (Dial., 221 A), ἐπιστήμη τίς ἐστιν παρέχουσα αὐτῶν τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ τῶν θείων γνῶσιν, ἔπειτα τῆς τούτων θειότητος καὶ δικαιοσύνης ἐπίγνωσιν. Cf. Dial., 220 (2); Apol., ii. 10, 19. Here = a firm conception of those spiritual principles which would guide them in their relations with one another and the world.— αἰσθήσει. Moral sensibility, quickness of ethical tact. Originally of sense-perception, but applicable to the inner world of sensibilities. Kl(3) quotes aptly from Hippocrates, de Off. Med., 3, καὶ τῇ ὄψι καὶ τῇ ἁφῇ καὶ τῇ ἀκοῇ καὶ τῇ ῥινὶ καὶ τῇ γλώσσῃ καὶ τῇ γνώμῃ ἔστιν αἰσθέσθαι. A complete parallel is Hebrews 5:14, where the writer defines the τέλειοι (cf. Philippians 3:12; Philippians 3:15-16) as τῶν διὰ τὴν ἕξιν τὰ αἰσθητήρια γεγυμνασμένα ἐχόντων πρὸς διάκρισιν καλοῦ τε καὶ κακοῦ.— πάσῃ. Probably “all kinds of”.


Verses 9-11

Philippians 1:9-11. PRAYER FOR THEIR INCREASE IN CHRISTIAN DISCERNMENT.


Verse 10

Philippians 1:10. δοκ. τὰ διαφ. Cf. Romans 2:18, δοκιμάζεις τὰ διαφ. Two possible renderings. (1) “Approve things that are excellent.” (2) “Test things that differ,” i.e., good and bad. Lft(4) opposes (2) on the ground that “it requires no keen moral sense to discriminate between good and bad”. But was not this precisely the great difficulty for heathen-Christians? Theophyl. defines τὰ διαφ. by τί δεῖ πρᾶξαι καὶ τί δεῖ μὴ πρᾶξαι. The idea seems to be borne out by the following εἰλικρ. and ἀπρόσκ. We are therefore compelled to decide for (2). “The fundamental choice arrived at in believing has to be reiterated continually in a just application of it to a world of varying and sometimes perplexing cases” (Rainy, Expos. Bib., p. 37). There are exx. of τὰ διαφ. in chap. 3 passim. Of course this δοκιμάζειν is made possible by the guidance of the indwelling Spirit. It shows us “the highest point which Paul reaches in his treatment of moral questions” (Hitzm., N.T. Theol., ii., p. 149, who points out as instances of his delicate moral tact the precepts given in 1 Corinthians 8-10, Romans 14).— εἰλικρ. κ. ἀπρόσκ. There is no warrant for adhering to the common derivation of εἰλικρ. from κρίνω compounded with either εἵλη (“heat of sun”) and so = “tested by sunbeam,” or εἵλη (= ἴλη “troops”) and so “separated into ranks”. The word is the equiv. of Lat. sincerus, “pure,” “unmixed”. A favourite term in Plato for pure intellect and also for the soul purged from sense. Cf. Phaedo, 66 (5), 67 (6), 81 B. Naturally transferred to the moral sphere. T. H. Green (Two Sermons, p. 41) describes εἰλικρίνεια as “perfect openness towards God”. ἀπρόσκ. will then mean, in all probability, “not giving offence” to others, the obverse side of εἰλικρ. This sense seems to us to be proved by 1 Corinthians 10:32 with the context, which is simply an expansion of Paul’s thought here. Cf. also 1 John 2:10.— εἰς ἡμέραν χρ. εἰς has the meanings “with a view to” and “until,” which here shade off into each other. The conception of ἡμ. χ. “grew in Paul’s hands to a whole æon, lasting from the παρουσία to the τέλος” (Beysch., N.T. Th., ii., p. 273).


Verse 11

Philippians 1:11. Critical evidence (see above) fixes καρπὸντόν as the correct reading. We should, of course, expect the gen. (see the v.1.), but one of the most marked features in later Greek is the enlarging of the sphere of the accus. It is quite common to find it with verbs like κληρονομεῖν and κρατεῖν κ. τ. λ. Cf. in modern Greek γέμω χρήματα, “I am full of possessions” (see See Hatz., Einl (Hatzidakis, Einleitung in die Neugriech. Grammatik), pp. 220–223; F. Krebs, Rection d. Casus in d. späteren histor. Gräcität, Heft i., pp. 3–4, ii., p. 3 ff.).— καρπ. δικ. A frequent phrase in Prov. (LXX). A showing forth of the results of righteousness. There is nothing here about justification, as Moule supposes. It is right conduct the Apostle has in view. But it is hardly needful to note that with Paul there can be no dissociation of the two ideas. δικαιοσύνη is always with him the right relation between God and man, made possible through Christ, which asserts itself, under the Holy Spirit’s influence, in righteous conduct.— διὰ . χ. The καρπός as well as the δικ. is due to Christ (cf. chap. Philippians 4:13).— εἰς δ. κ. ἔπ. θ. Cf. the refrain in Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14, and Christ’s words in John 17:4, ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. The disciple must be as the Master.


Verse 12

Philippians 1:12. γινώσκ. δὲ . β. A common epistolary phrase. Cf. ὑμᾶς εἰδέναι βουλόμεθα in a Letter to the magistrates of Oropus from the Roman Consuls, 73 B.C. (Viereck, Sermo Graecus, etc., Gött., 1888, p. 36). δέ, as so frequently, is transitional.— τὰ κατʼ ἐμέ = my circumstances. In later Greek κατά came to be a regular periphrasis for the gen. W. Schmidt (de elocut. Josephi, pp. 21–22) gives striking exx. from Josephus, e.g., Antt., i., 296, τοῦ κατʼ ἐκείνους συγγενοῦς, where κατʼ ἐκ. = ἐκείνων. See also Kaelker, Quaestiones de elocut. Polybiana, p. 282. This is Paul’s first reference to his own affairs, which were of the deepest concern to the Philippians. Their gift had been prompted by their apprehensions of his sore need. Perhaps, as Calvin suggests, his opponents were using his calamities as a proof of the worthlessness of his Gospel.— μᾶλλον εἰς προκ.… ἐλήλ. The use of μᾶλλον seems to imply that they were looking out for bad news of the Apostle. And that would justify the supposition that, shortly before this, a change had occurred in Paul’s circumstances. May not the change be connected with the ἀπολογία of Philippians 1:7? Is it not probable that Paul had been transferred from his hired lodging (Acts 28:30) into the prison where those on trial were kept in custody? O. Hirschfeld (Sitz. Bericht. of Berlin Academy, 1891, pp. 857–858) holds that imprisonment at Rome was of a military character, and that the barracks of various city troops served as prisons. Mommsen (op. cit., 1895, p. 500) agrees with Hirschf. in believing that the castra peregrinorum may have been used esp(1) for this purpose. The Philippians would naturally expect that this stricter custody must mean severer hardships for the Apostle. As a matter of fact it has been in his favour. προκοπή is a technical term in Stoic philosophy for “progress towards wisdom” (see Zeller, Stoics, etc., p. 294). It is condemned by Phrynichus (ed. Lobeck, p. 85) as unclassical. Frequent in later Greek, esp(2) in Plutarch and Polyb.— ἐλήλυθεν. Cf. Mark 5:26, εἰς τὸ χεῖρον ἐλθοῦσα (why should Ell(3) object to this parallel?), Acts 19:27.


Verses 12-14

Philippians 1:12-14. HIS PRESENT SITUATION.


Verse 13

Philippians 1:13. For the skilful rhetorical structure of Philippians 1:13-17 see J. Weiss, Beitr., p. 17, who compares Romans 2:6-12.— τὰ δεσμά is, on the whole, more common; see Luke 8:29, Acts 16:26; Acts 20:23. According to Cobet, Mnemosyne, 1858, p. 74 ff. (quoted in W-Sch(4), p. 85, n. 8), the neuter form refers to actual bonds, the masc. to the imprisonment. But there seems to be no distinction, e.g., in Attic Inscrr(5) (see Meisterhans, Gramm. d. attisch. Inschr., p. 112, n. 1025). And Sch. states that the distinction will not apply to LXX.— φαν. ἐν χ. γεν. It has become plain that he is a prisoner wholly for Christ’s sake, and not on account of any breach of law. γεν. must be translated by the English perfect, for, as Moule (CT(6)) well points out, “our English thought separates present from past less rapidly than Greek”. Of course we must supply δεσμ. as predicate with φαν. γεν.— ἐν ὅλῳ τ. πραιτ. is one of the most keenly contested expressions in the Epistle. Four leading interpretations are found. (1) Those forming the praetorian guard. So Lft(7), Hfm(8), Abbott, Hpt(9), Vinc. This explanation has much in its favour. Those coming up on appeal from the Provinces were handed over for surveillance to the praefecti praetorio (see Marquardt-Momms., ii. 23, p. 972 and n. 2). And Lft(10) (Com., pp. 99–104) has shown conclusively that the word admits of this meaning. (2) The barracks or camp of the praetorian guard. So Lips(11), Kl(12), Alf(13), De W., Myr(14), Ws(15), Von Soden. But none of these Comm(16) bring direct evidence to show that the name praetorium was ever definitely applied to the castra praetoriana, built under Tiberius at the Porta Viminalis (Tac., Ann., iv., 2). (3) The emperor’s palace. So Chr(17), Th. Mps(18), Thdrt(19), Beng., Mynster (Kleine theol. Schriften, p. 184, some strong arguments), Gwynn, Duchesne. In all other passages of N.T. πραιτ. = residence of the ruler. It is said that it would be impossible for anyone writing from Rome to call the palace πραιτ. But; as Gw(20) observes, this is a provincial writing to provincials, and using the word in a familiar sense. Further, the change for the better in Paul’s circumstances is connected with the knowledge that his bonds are in Christ. Is it because the authorities (emperor, etc.) have already begun to take a favourable view of his case that the preaching is allowed to prosper without hindrance and that his associates take courage? This interpretation cannot be dismissed altogether lightly. (4) The judicial authorities. So Mommsen (op. cit., p. 498) and Ramsay (St. Paul, etc., p. 357 ff.). These would be the praefecti praetorio (either one or two) with their assessors and other officials of the imperial court. Momms. quotes from a letter of Trajan to Pliny (Ep. Plin., 57 (65)), in which he decides that a criminal condemned to exile, but, in spite of this, lingering in the province, should be sent in chains ad praefectos praetorii mei, who are not the prison officials but those concerned with the hearing of cases. This explanation also would agree well with what Paul says about his bonds and the progress of the Gospel. We would hesitate to decide between (1) and (4), the context seeming to support the latter, while, perhaps, ὅλῳ favours the former.— καὶ τ. λοιποῖς π. Cf. CIG., i., 1770, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐν τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν φανερὰν πεποήκαμεν τήν τε ἰδίαν καὶ τοῦ δήμου τοῦ ῥωμαίων προαίρεσιν. Apparently a vague phrase = everywhere else.


Verse 14

Philippians 1:14. τοὺς πλείονας. Vaughan holds that “from the universal practice of deciding matters by the vote of a majority the term comes to mean the main body, the society as a whole,” but this scarcely seems needful.— τῶν ἀδ. ἐν κ. These words surely make up one phrase (so Alf(21), Weizs., Ws(22), etc., as against Lft(23), Lips(24), Myr(25), etc.). Cf. Colossians 1:2. It is difficult to see where the tautology, which is said to be involved in this interpretation, comes in. Probably it is an almost technical combination. Dsm(26) (BS(27), p. 82) notes from Papyri a precisely similar technical use of ἀδελφός in the language of the Serapeum at Memphis.— πεποιθ. τ. δεσμ. μου. “Having confidence in my bonds,” i.e., being encouraged by the favourable light in which his imprisonment was beginning to be regarded when seen in its true character. [This tells in favour of (4) in Philippians 1:13.] Cf. Philm. 21, πεποιθὼς τῇ ὑπακοῇ σου.— λαλεῖν. Hpt(28) believes that λαλ. is used here expressly instead of λέγειν as emphasising the physiological process rather than the word spoken. In the later language these refinements were apt to be overlooked. Still it is interesting to find that in LXX דָבַר is almost invariably transl. by λαλεῖν and אָמַר by λέγειν.


Verse 15

Philippians 1:15. τινές. Are these included in the πλείονες of Philippians 1:14 or not? We prefer to believe (so also Weizs., Jahrb. f. deutsche Theol., 1876, p. 294 ff.) that the Apostle has changed his point of view. For is it conceivable that those who “had confidence” in his bonds should, on the other hand, “raise affliction” (Philippians 1:17) for those bonds? He thinks now not so much of the emboldening of his Christian brethren as of the fact that the Gospel is being preached with great vigour over a wide area. Accordingly τινές may be taken by itself.—Probably καί goes with φθόνον. “Some preach … actually from envy and rivalry.”— ἔριν = “rivalry” (not “strife”), as often. Cf. Thuc., vi., 31, 4; Æsch., Eumen. (ed. Paley), 933 (where used in a good sense). To whom does Paul refer? It has usually been taken for granted that it must be to his un-wearying opponents, the Judaisers. So Myr(29), Alf(30), Lft(31), Franke (esp(32) SK(33), 1895, p. 772), Duchesne and others. But, as Hpt(34) clearly shows, we have no grounds for assuming the existence of a definitely anti-Pauline Jewish-Christian party at Rome (so also Hort, Judaistic Christianity, pp. 112–113). At the same time this jealousy of the Apostle, a matter of personal feeling, may well have arisen in the Jewish wing of the Roman Church. They would naturally be roused to some bitterness by Paul’s emphasis on the universality of the Gospel and his neglect of its specially Jewish setting. But it is unreasonable to divide all the Christians of the Apostolic Age into Gentile-Christians and Judaisers. There would be many Jewish-Christians who never favoured the extreme methods or even doctrines of the latter. (Cf. M‘Giffert’s instructive discussion, Apost. Age, pp. 393–395, and Pfl(35), Urchrist., pp. 147, 151.) It is indeed quite possible that those referred to here are Pauline Christians who for some reason have a personal pique at the Apostle. (Cf. Ws(36), Amer. J. of Theol., i., 2, pp. 388–389, who throws out the interesting suggestion that they may have been old teachers of the Church who had become jealous of Paul’s high position, and so wished to outstrip him and destroy his popularity.) “Paul says nothing here which I have not experienced” (Calv.).— τινὲς δὲ καί. Although not explicitly, these, of course, belong to the πλείονες of Philippians 1:14. καί marks the contrast with the preceding clause.— διʼ εὐδοκίαν. The word can mean nothing else here than “goodwill”. For it is placed in antithesis to φθόνος and ἔρις, and resumed by ἀγάπη below. Cf. Sirach 9:12, μὴ εὐδοκήσῃς ἐν εὐδοκίᾳ ἀσεβῶν.


Verses 15-18

Philippians 1:15-18. THE RESULT OF HIS MORE FAVOURABLE CIRCUMSTANCES: CHRIST PREACHED, WHETHER OF SPITE OR GOODWILL.


Verse 16

Philippians 1:16. οἱ μὲν ἐξ ἀγάπης. Is this a complete phrase or does ἐξ ἀγ. qualify the predicate τ. χρ. κηρύσς. supplied from Philippians 1:15? The latter seems most natural, as it preserves the complete parallelism of the clauses, which would otherwise be disturbed by οὐχ ἁγνῶς.— κεῖμαι has practically become perf. passive of τίθημι. τέθειμαι is seldom used. (See Gildersleeve on Justin M., Apol., i., 11, 6.) Exactly parallel are Luke 2:34, οὗτος κεῖται εἰς πτῶσιν καὶ ἀνάστασιν πολλῶν; 1 Thessalonians 3:3, αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε ὅτι εἰς τοῦτο κείμεθα. “Am appointed.”


Verse 16-17

Philippians 1:16-17. An overwhelming mass of authority is in favour of transposing these verses as above (see crit. note). TR. is simply an emendation based on the order in Philippians 1:15.


Verse 17

Philippians 1:17. ἐξ ἐριθείας. Here virtually = “selfishness” (rather than “factiousness”). Originally, the character of a worker for pay. Now that which degraded the hired worker, in the estimation of antiquity, was his labouring wholly for his own interests, while it was a sign of the noble to devote himself to the common weal. This sense suits all N.T. passages (Romans 2:8, 2 Corinthians 12:20, Galatians 5:20, James 3:14; James 3:16). See Hpt(37)’s valuable note from which the above is condensed.— τὸν χ. It is hard to say whether τόν ought to be retained. It would easily be accounted for as an assimilation to τὸν χ. in Philippians 1:15.— καταγγ. A distinction has been drawn between καταγγ. as confined to those sent by Christ and κηρύσς. as applying to all preachers, including our Lord Himself. Probably they are quite synonymous here. Cf. an excellent note in Westcott (on 1 John 1:5) on the special signification of καταγγ. among compounds of ἀγγέλλω = “proclaim with authority, as commissioned to spread the tidings throughout those who hear them”.— οὐχ ἁγν. “With mixed motives.” Cf. Pind., Ol., iii., 37, μεγάλων ἀέθλων ἁγνὰν κρίσιν (quoted by Alf(38)).— οἰόμενοι. “Purposing.” So frequently in later Greek. Schmid (Atticismus, i., 128) quotes from Dio Chrys., Aristides and Philostratus. Cf. Phryn. (ed. Lobeck), 190, βιβλίονὅπερ οἴεται δηλοῦν. There is a sharp contrast between εἰδότες in Philippians 1:16 and οἰόμενοι here.— θλίψιν ἐγείρειν τ. δεσμ. μ. The balance of authority is in favour of ἐγείρειν. ἐπιφέρειν is probably an ancient gloss, which may have crept into some text from the margin. The phrase apparently means “to stir up vexation for me in my imprisonment”. They attributed their own jealous feelings to the Apostle, and could not conceive a greater worry to him than that he should hear of their success in preaching.


Verse 18

Philippians 1:18. There seems little doubt that we should read πλὴν ὅτι, as there would be a tendency to omit either word to simplify the sense. Ws(39) holds that πλήν was inserted because copyists did not notice that ὅτι is causal, introducing a protasis. But it is difficult to imagine this misunderstanding if ὅτι stood alone. τί γάρ probably goes closely with οἰόμενοι preceding. “Supposing they purpose, etc., what then? Only that … Christ is preached.” τί γάρ has its usual classical sense. For πλ. ὅτι in this usage, cf. Acts 20:22-23, τὰσυναντήσοντα ἐμοὶ μὴ εἰδώς, πλὴν ὅτι τὸ πνεῦμαδιαμαρτύρεται.— προφάσει ε. ἀληθ. A common antithesis. The one party preached the Gospel, ostensibly for Christ’s sake, really to gain their own ends.—The best punctuation of the next clause is that of W.H., who place a colon after χαίρω and a comma after χαρης.— ἐν τούτῳ. Must not τ. mean “the fact that, in spite of my imprisonment, Christ is preached”? It seems far-fetched to refer it to his imprisonment.— χαίρω. Assuming that Paul’s opponents here were Judaisers, Comm(40) have been driven to desperate shifts to explain his joy in their preaching. This verse was quoted in the early Church in favour of heretics, so that Chr(41), Th. Mps(42) and Thdrt(43) have to protest against the abuse of it (see Swete, Th. Mps(44), i., p. 209). When reasonably interpreted it presents no serious difficulties.— ἀλλὰ κ. χαρής. Closely connected with the following verse, but not necessarily introducing a new subject (as Hfm(45)). It has almost the same force as if οὐ μόνον had preceded. The κοινή form for χαιρήσω, like ζήσομαι for ζήσω in N.T. Cf. CIA., ii., 593, b, 18 (2 cent. B.C.). Found in LXX, where χαροῦμαι also occurs (W-Sch(46), p. 108, n. 8). This is a progressive future. Cf. Romans 6:2 (see Burton, MT(47), p. 32). Perhaps we can detect, as some have suggested, a note of loneliness and resignation in this verse (cf. chap. Philippians 2:21).


Verses 18-20

Philippians 1:18-20. HIS JOY IN THE PREACHING OF CHRIST AND EXPECTATION OF SUCCESS IN HIS CAUSE.


Verse 19

Philippians 1:19. The only apparent ground for reading δέ is its difficulty. γάρ (which has greatly preponderating authority) gives the reason for the continuance of his joy.— τοῦτο. There is no need to limit this to his captivity (so Kl(48)), or his worries and trial (De W., Lft(49)). It is used generally of his present circumstances. τοῦτοσωτ. is quoted from Job 13:16 (LXX).— σωτ. We fail to see why this should be interpreted as the final eschatological salvation (so Ws(50), Lft(51), Kl(52), etc.). There is nothing in the context to justify such a thought. He has every reason to hope, he tells them, that he will see them again in peace (Philippians 1:25-27). Surely he is thinking chiefly of his probable release, an expectation which admirably accords with the favourable view of his case which was evidently being taken at Rome. This interpretation (Chr(53), τὴν ἀπαλλαγὴν λέγει) is strongly supported by the sense of the word in Job 13:16, from which it is here quoted, where יְשׁוּעָה has not the usual deeper meaning which belongs to it in the Prophh. and Pss., but signifies victory in a contest for the right. Cf. also 2 Corinthians 1:10 ff., a passage precisely akin to this, which favours the above idea of σωτηρία. [We find that Zahn uses almost the same arguments, Luthardt’s Zeitschr., 1885, p. 300.] This verse is linked to Philippians 1:12 by Philippians 1:18. He desires their prayers for deliverance, and the promised Spirit of Christ (Luke 12:12) to give him wisdom that he may know how to act. In any case (the thought crosses his mind that he may still be condemned) he hopes to glorify Christ whether in life or death.— ἐπιχορ. The absence of the article is no reason for joining ἐπιχ. closely with δεής. under the government of ὑμῶν. The gen. τοῦ πν. . χ. is quite sufficient to isolate ἐπιχ. “The supply given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” This is the Spirit possessed by Christ Himself and communicated to all who abide in Him as members of His body. Of course Paul, at times, really identifies Christ with the Spirit, e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:45, 2 Corinthians 3:17. Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:17. This identification springs directly from his own spiritual history. “The first ‘pneumatic’ experience Paul had was an experience of Christ” (Gunkel, Wirkungen d. heil. Geistes2, p. 91). Cf. for the word ἐπιχορ. Ep. ad Diogn., i., 10, τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καὶ τὸ λέγειν καὶ τὸ ἀκούειν ἡμῖν χορηγοῦντος. “A suitable and common word for the Giver God.… The generosity of its origin survives in the transfer” (Gildersleeve ad loc.).


Verse 20

Philippians 1:20. ἀποκαραδ. The concentrated intense hope which ignores other interests ( ἀπό), and strains forward as with outstretched head ( κάρα, δοκεῖν). Cf. Romans 8:19, γὰρ ἀποκαραδοκία τῆς κτίσεως τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν τῶν υἱῶν τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπεκδέχεται. The verb ἀποκαραδοκεῖν is found in Polyb., Plut., Joseph., Aquila.— αἰσχυνθ. very probably refers, in the main, to his own conduct, the danger of denying his Lord under stress of hardships, but there is also involved the thought of Christ’s treatment of him. This gives the true antithesis to μεγαλυνθ.— παρρησίᾳ. We are inclined to believe that π. has its literal meaning, boldness of speech, for he has before him the danger of denying Christ. Of course there is implied the idea of courage in his whole bearing. The word is typical of the attitude of the early Christians.— καὶ νῦν. His trial is in process.— μεγαλ.… θανάτου. There is some force in Meyer’s suggestion that passive verbs are used here because Paul feels himself the organ of Divine working. ἐν τῷ σώμ. “In my person.” σ. in Paul is always a colourless word, the organ of the ψυχή or the πνεῦμα, and taking its character from its constituting principle. If he lives, it will be for the service of Christ, which is the highest honour he can pay his Lord. If he has to die, then his readiness to endure death and his calm courage in enduring will be the most eloquent testimony to the worth of his Lord.


Verse 21

Philippians 1:21. ἐμοί. Why this emphasis? He knew that, after the expression of his joyful confidence and hope, the word θάνατος would come as a shock to their minds. There could be no question as to how men in general felt concerning life and death. But he, the Apostle, occupies a different standpoint. This standpoint he must explain. In spite of Haupt’s strong arguments for taking τὸ ζῇν, not as bodily life, but as life in its general conception (including the future existence), we cannot help feeling that the antithesis of ζωῆς and θανάτου (Philippians 1:20) necessitates the same contrast between τὸ ζῇν and τὸ ἀποθανεῖν. [Kabisch, Eschatologie d. Paulus, p. 134, goes the length of saying that Paul does not know the conception of life as an ethical quality; that it always means for him simply existence. Probably there may be more truth in this than we are at first sight, from our different modes of thought, inclined to admit. To the Jewish mind non-existence was certainly one of the most terrible ideas conceivable.] If life meant for Paul wealth, power, self-gratification and the like, then death would loom in front of him with terror. But life for him means Christ. He is one with his Lord. And he knows that death itself cannot break that union, it can only make it more complete (because death is σὺν χ. εἶναι, Philippians 1:23). Thus it must be actual gain, a definite addition to his joy. Contrast the thought of Apoc. of Bar., xiv., 12, in some degree similar: “the righteous justly hope for the end, and without fear depart from this habitation, because they have with thee a store of works preserved in treasuries”.— κέρδος. Cf. Wisdom of Solomon 3:2, ἔδοξαν ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἀφρόνων τεθνάναι, καὶ ἐλογίσθη κάκωσις ἔξοδος αὐτῶν, καὶ ἀφʼ ἡμῶν πορεία σύντριμμα· οἱ δέ εἰσιν ἐν εἰρήνῃ. In sharp contrast to Paul’s Statement, Cf. Libanius, Orat., xxvi., p. 595 A (quoted by Wetstein): πάντως οἷς βαρὺ τὸ ζῇν κέρδος θάνατος. See numerous apt illustrations in Wetstein.


Verses 21-23

Philippians 1:21-23. DEATH OR LIFE MEANS CHRIST FOR HIM.


Verse 22

Philippians 1:22. To show the diversities of interpretation to which this verse has given rise, it is enough to note that in the first clause Hpt(54) would supply ζῇν ἐστιν, while Ws(55) suggests κέρδος. Others regard the first two clauses as protasis ( τοῦτο summing up the words preceding), making the apodosis begin with καί. The context suggests an explanation more simple and more natural. Paul has sought to convince them that death has no terror for him; that, on the contrary, it is pure gain. Yet he will not have them suppose that therefore life on earth ( ἐν σαρκί, life with the encumbrance of sinful flesh) is a burden and a trouble. In the circumstances, as he points out immediately, it is probably best for him and them. And he will give a preliminary hint of this. Must we not supply μοί ἐστι, in thought, in the first clause? This is suggested both by ἐμοί preceding and by the μοι which follows. ἐστί has to be supplied, admittedly, in both clauses of Philippians 1:21. There is no greater difficulty in doing so here. “But if life in the flesh be my portion, this means (so we must also translate the ἐστί supplied in first clause of Philippians 1:21) for me fruit of (i.e., springing from) labour.” τὸ ζῇν is qualified by ἐν σ., because the Apostle felt that he could not regard physical death as quenching his life. Death only meant fuller life, therefore he must define when he wishes to speak of life on this earth.— καρπὸς ἔργου. For the phrase see Psalms 103. (104) 13, ἀπὸ καρποῦ τῶν ἔργων σου χορτασθήσεται γῆ; Wisdom of Solomon 3:15, ἀγαθῶν γὰρ πόνων καρπὸς εὐκλεής. Aptly Thphyl., καὶ τὸ ζῇν ἐν σαρκὶ οὐκ ἄκαρπόν μοί ἐστιν· καρποφορῶ γὰρ διδάσκων καὶ φωτίζων πάντας.— τί αἱρής. τί has practically ousted πότερον from N.T. It is quite natural to have the fut. indicat. in a deliberative sentence.— γνωρίζω. Its invariable meaning in N.T. = “make known”. This sense suits almost every instance in LXX. So here, “I do not make known,” “I cannot tell”.


Verse 23

Philippians 1:23. συνέχομαι δέ (with most authorr.). δέ = “rather”. Cf. Romans 4:20.— συνέχ. ἐκ. Apparently the idea is that of a strong pressure bearing upon him from ( ἐκ the source) two sides and keeping him motionless.— ἐπιθυμ. εἰς. Cf. Thuc., iv., 81, ἐπιθυμίαν ἐνεποίει τοῖς ἀθην. συμμάχοις ἐς τοὺς λακεδ.— ἀναλῦσαι. Aor. of momentary action (see Burton, MT(56), p. 50). Only here in N.T. in this sense. Cf. 2 Timothy 4:6, ἀνάλυσιν; Philo, Flacc. ad fin., τὴν ἐκ τοῦ βίου τελευταίαν ἀνάλυσιν. Frequent in LXX and late Greek = depart. In Polyb. it usually means castra movere.— σὺν χ. εἶναι. From this passage and 2 Corinthians 5:8 (but see also 1 Thessalonians 5:10) as compared with others, e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 1 Corinthians 15:51, Beyschl. (N.T. Theol., ii., 269 ff.), Teichmann (op. cit. pp. 57–59), Grafe (Abhandl. C. v. Weizsäcker gewidm., p. 276) and others conclude that the Apostle changed his views on eschatology in his later years, and esp(57) when death stared him in the face. Instead of supposing a sleep ( κοιμᾶσθαι) until the Parousia, or else the direct experience of that event, he now believes that after death the soul is immediately united to Christ. It is, however, hazardous to build up eschatological theories on these isolated utterances of the Apostle. He has, apparently, no fixed scheme of thought on the subject. The Resurrection is not before his mind at all in this passage. His eschatology, as Dsm(58) (Th. LZ(59), 1898, col. 14) well observes, must rather be conceived as ἐλπίς. Death cannot interrupt the life ἐν χριστῷ. This is the preparation for being σὺν χ. Even contemporary Jewish thought was familiar with a similar idea. So, e.g., Tanchuma, Wajjikra, 8: “When the righteous leave the world they ascend at once and stand on high” (Weber, Lehren d. Talmud, p. 323). See also Charles, Eschatology, p. 399 ff.— πολλῷ κ. τ. λ. It seems necessary for the sense to insert γάρ with the best authorities. The double comparat. is fairly common.


Verse 24

Philippians 1:24. ἐπιμ. seems common with Paul in a colourless sense.— ἐν. It is hard to decide whether it should be retained or not. No difference is made in the sense.— ἀναγκ. It is characteristic of the Apostle that the first thing which strikes him is the need of others. Wetstein quotes aptly from Seneca, Epp. ad Lucil., p. 104, ingentis animi est aliena causa ad vitam reverti quod magni viri saepe fecerunt.


Verses 24-26

Philippians 1:24-26. HIS PRESENTIMENT THAT HE WILL VISIT THEM AGAIN.


Verse 25

Philippians 1:25. καὶ τ. π. οἶδα. “With this conviction (sc., that his life is needful for them) I know,” etc. Paul does not claim to be infallible, but he is so confident of the Philippians’ need of him that he cannot doubt that this will be God’s purpose too. There is every reason to believe that his hope was justified (see Introduction).— παραμενῶ (which is best attested) has in later Greek the special sense of “remaining alive”. See Schmid, Atticismus, i., p. 132, who quotes Dio., i., 62, 8; 333, 29; Herod., i., 30, and compares Plat., Phaed., 62 (60), 86 C.— εἰς τ. προκ. κ. τ. λ. Probably προκ. should be taken apart from πίστεως, which goes closely with χαράν. “With a view to your progress and the joy of your faith.” ὥστε στηριχθῆναι μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς καθάπερ νεοττοὺς δεομένους τῆς μητρὸς ἕως ἂν αὐτοῖς παγῇ τὰ πτερά (Chr(61)).


Verse 26

Philippians 1:26. “In order that your ground of glorying may increase in Christ Jesus through me, by reason of my,” etc. Their καύχημα is their knowledge and possession of the Gospel. Christ Jesus is the sphere in which this blessing is enjoyed. Cf. Sirach 9:16, ἐν φόβῳ κυρίου ἔστω τὸ καύχημά σου.— ἐν ἐμοί is defined by the following clause. Paul looks on his presence with them as an occasion of advance in their Christian calling. ἐν, which here denotes strictly the basis, may be translated “through”. This passage bears out the favourable turn which Paul’s affairs have taken. He looks forward to rejoining them.


Verse 27

Philippians 1:27. μόνον “gives the aim for which he wishes to remain alive” (Hfm(62)).— ἀξίωςπολιτ. For the whole phrase cf. Inscrr(63) of Pergamon (after 133 B.C.), Bd. ii., 4965, [ ] ναστρεφομένην καλῶς καὶ εὐσεβῶς καὶ ἀξίως τῆς πόλεως (Dsm(64), NBS(65), p. 22). For ἀξίως τ. εὐαγγ. Cf. Inscrr(66) Perg., 521, of a priestess, ἱερασαμένην ἀξίως τῆς θεοῦ καὶ τῆς πατρίδος (op. cit., p. 75).— πολιτεύεσθε. In addition to reff. in marg., cf. Joseph., Vit., 2; Paris Papyr., 63, coll. 8, 9 (164 B.C.), in which a letter-writer claims for himself that he has ὁσίως καὶδικαίως [ πολι] τευσάμενος before the gods (Dsm(67), BS(68), p. 211); 1 Clem. ad Cor., vi., 1. The word seems gradually to have lost its original sense of life in a community, and came to mean simply “live” or “behave”. But probably a shade of its original significance often survives as here, to live as directed by certain regulations, certain laws. [Hort, Christian Eccl., p. 137, would retain the strict sense, “live a community-life … one directed not by submission to statutes but by the inward power of the Spirit of fellowship”.]— ἀκούσω. We should, of course, expect ἀπὼν καὶ ἀκούσας with some finite verb of knowing, but the Apostle, as so frequently, changes the expression of his thought in the process of its formation.— στήκ. ἐν . πν. Curiously enough, the second reference to citizenship (Philippians 3:20) is followed by the same two verbs στήκειν and συναθλεῖν (so Gw(69)). This is the first direct exhortation to unity in the Epistle. Apparently there was a danger of friction. We have no reason to suppose that there had been serious divisions in the Philippian Church, but the case of Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2) discloses perilous tendencies. This was not unnatural, for “the very energy of the Christian faith tended to produce energetic personalities” (Rainy, Exp. B., p. 82). And so, apart from doctrinal differences altogether, divergences might arise on questions of method, organisation, etc., with serious consequences. The following words, ἑνὶ πνεύματι, viewed in the light of 1 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Corinthians 12:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13, suggest that the differences may have been due to a supposed superiority in spiritual endowments.— . πνεύμ. It is difficult to define precisely the Pauline idea of πνεῦμα. At times (e.g., Romans 8:16) Paul speaks as if the Divine πν. and the human were two forces existing side by side, the Divine working upon the human. At others, the πν. in man seems to refer to the direct indwelling of the Spirit- of God as the principle of new life imparted to man, e.g., Romans 8:10. On the whole, we believe it is true to affirm that πν. in Paul is not a psychological but a religious term (so also Hpt(70) Kl(71) holds that Paul recognised a distinct πν. τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Hltzm(72) would identify this with the νοῦς. Cf. Cone., Paul, pp. 326–327). Here we are safe in holding that ἑνὶ πν. refers to the common, spiritual life implanted in them by the direct working of the Holy Spirit. Certainly this is its most usual significance in Paul. See an instructive discussion in Holsten, Paulin. Theol., p. 11, who shows that when Paul uses πν. to denote the human spirit, apart from Divine working, it is when he is obliged to emphasise it as the inner power which moves in the hidden life, or when he draws a sharp contrast between the inner and outer side of human nature, laying stress upon the former as the essential, in opposition to the senses which cannot truly know.— μιᾷ ψυχῇ. Apparently Chr(73) and Th. Mps(74), with the best ancient versions, join μ. ψ. with στήκ. The words denote the common feeling, the agreement of heart and mind which was the result of possession of the same Spirit. Cf. Acts 4:32. Kl(75) well compares the sense of camaraderie which binds the soldiers of a country together. For an exhaustive discussion of ψυχή see Hatch, Essays in Bibl. Greek, pp. 101–109.— συναθ λ. τ. π. A comparison with Philippians 4:3 would suggest “striving along with the faith” (so Lft(76), Vau.). This is certainly harsh. The parallel in Judges 1:3, ἐπαγωνίζεσθαι τῇ πίστει, favours the sense, “striving together ( συν) for the faith”. Conjungat vos evangelii fides, praesertim cum illa vobis sit communis armatura adversus eundem hostem (Calvin).— τῇ πίστ. Christianity regarded in its most characteristic aspect as the acceptance of God’s revelation of mercy in Christ, and the resting upon that for salvation. πίστις gradually becomes a technical term. See Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, p. 314; Harnack, Dogmengesch., i., p. 129 ff.


Verses 27-30

Philippians 1:27-30. ENTREATY TO LIVE WORTHILY OF THE GOSPEL IN THE FACE OF CONFLICTS.


Verse 28

Philippians 1:28. πτυρόμ. is apparently used esp(77) of scared horses. So Diod. Sic., xvii., 34, 6, διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν περὶ αὐτοὺς σωρευομένων νεκρῶν πτυρόμενοι. It is found in Plut., Reipub. Ger. Praec., p. 800, of a multitude. See Kypke ad loc.τ. ἀντικειμ. Who are their adversaries? In Philippians 1:30 he speaks of them as having the same conflict as he had when at Philippi and now has at Rome. In both these instances, most probably, his opponents were heathen. Further, when warning his readers against Jewish malice, what he usually fears is not that they will be terrified into compliance, but that they will be seduced from the right path. And, as Franke (Myr(78)5 ad loc.) points out, the conflict here is for the πίστις, not for the ἀλήθεια of the Gospel. It is no argument against this that some of his reasoning would only have force for Jews, e.g., suffering as a gift of God (so Holst., Jahrb. f. prot. Th., 1875, p. 444). For he is speaking of the impression made upon them (the Philippians), and he uses Christian modes of expression. Probably therefore he thinks chiefly of their heathen antagonists, as, in any case, Jews seem to have formed a very small minority of the population. The pagans of Philippi, on the other hand, would struggle hard against a faith which condemned all idol-worship, for the extant remains at Philippi and in its neighbourhood show that they were an extraordinarily devout community. See esp(79) Heuzey et Daumet, Mission Archéologique de Macédoine, pp. iii., 84–86. At the same time we cannot exclude the possibility that he had non-Christian Jews in his mind as well.— ἥτις. “Inasmuch as this” (sc., the fact of their not being terrified). The relative is, as frequently, attracted to its predicate. So ἥτις, agreeing with ἐνδ., for τοῦτο. In the following words the true reading is ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς. That of TR. has arisen for the sake of symmetry with the succeeding clause.— ἔνδειξις. An Attic law-term. In N.T. only in Paul. Not found in LXX. It denotes proof obtained by an appeal to facts. See SH(80) on Romans 2:15.— ἀπώλεια has its usual Pauline antithesis σωτηρία. Paul has never defined ἀπώλεια.—All edd. read ὑμῶν δέ. Not only is it better attested (see crit. note), but it also deserves preference as being the harder reading and sufficient to explain the other. It really includes ὑμῖν. The emphasis in Paul’s mind changes from the persons to their destinies. It was quite natural to assimilate ὑμῖν to αὐτοῖς preceding. But there is also the thought that they (the adversaries) will be affected not only by the proof of their own destruction, but also by that of the Philippians’ salvation.— τοῦτο seems to refer to ἔνδειξις. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”


Verse 29

Philippians 1:29. ὅτιἐχαρίσθη. We are inclined to join this clause immediately to μὴ πτυρόμενοι (so also Hpt(81)). The prospect of suffering was apt to terrify them. But when they view suffering in its true light, they will discover that it is a gift of God’s grace ( ἐχαρ.) instead of an evil.— τὸ ὑπὲρ κ. τ. λ. The Apostle intended to insert πάσχειν after χρ., but for a moment he pauses. To emphasise the real value of suffering for Christ’s sake, he compares it with that which they all acknowledge as the crowning blessing of their lives, faith in Him. As to the form of the sentence, this is a favourite rhetorical device of Paul’s. See J. Weiss, Beiträge, p. 11 n.οὐ μόνον. μή might have been expected. “When a limitation of an infinitive or of its subject is to be negatived rather than the infinitive itself, the negative οὐ is used instead of μή. This principle applies esp(82) in the case of the adverb μόνον” (Burton, MT(83), p. 183).— εἰς αὐτόν. The deepest aspect of faith, the intimate union into which the soul is brought.


Verse 30

Philippians 1:30. ἀγῶνα. For the fact, see Acts 16:19 ff. and cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:2. The metaphor has been prepared for by στήκετε and συναθλοῦντες. Cf. Epictet., iv., 4, 32 (quoted by Hatch, Hibb. Lects., p. 156), “Life is in reality an Olympic festival: we are God’s athletes to whom He has given an opportunity of showing of what stuff we are made”. ἀγών was constantly used in later Greek of an inward struggle. See some striking exx. from Plutarch in Holden’s note on Timoleon, xxvii., § 5.— ἔχοντες. A broken construction. It ought strictly to be dative agreeing with ὑμῖν. It can scarcely be taken as parallel with συναθλ. and πτυρ.— εἴδετε. See reff. above.— ἀκούετε. His Roman trial.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Philippians 1:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/philippians-1.html. 1897-1910.


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