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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Philippians 1



Verse 1

1.] Timotheus seems to be named as being well known to the Philippians (Acts 16:3; Acts 16:10 ff.), and present with St. Paul at this time. The mention is merely formal, as the Apostle proceeds (Philippians 1:3) in the first person singular. Certainly no official character is intended to be given by it, as Huther, al., have thought: for of all the Epistles, this is the least official: and those to the Romans and Galatians, where no such mention occurs, the most so. Observe, there is no ἀπόστολος subjoined to παῦλος (as in Colossians 1:1), probably because the Philippians needed no such reminiscence of his authority. Cf. also 1 and 2 Thess.

On δοῦλοι χρ. ἰησ., see Ellicott.

πᾶσιν] both here and in Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:7-8; Philippians 1:25; ch. Philippians 2:17; Philippians 2:26, is best accounted for from the warm affection which breathes through this whole Epistle (see on Philippians 1:3), not from any formal reason, as that the Apostle wishes to put those Philippians who had not sent to his support, on a level in his affection with those who had (Van Hengel),—that he wishes to set himself above all their party divisions (ch. Philippians 2:3; so De W.), &c.

σὺν ἐπισκ.] This is read by Chrys. συνεπισκόποις, and he remarks: τί τοῦτο; μιᾶς πόλεως πολλοὶ ἐπίσκοποι ἦσαν; οὐδαμῶς· ἀλλὰ τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους οὕτως ἐκάλεσε. τότε γὰρ τέως ἐκοινώνουν τοῖς ὀνόμασι, κ. διάκονος ὁ ἐπίσκοπος ἐλέγετο (see also var. readd.). But thus the construction would be imperfect, the σύν having no reference. Theodoret remarks, ἐπισκόπους τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους καλεῖ· ἀμφότερα γὰρ εἶχον κατʼ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν ὀνόματα,—and alleges Acts 20:28, Titus 1:5; Titus 1:7, as shewing the same. See on the whole subject, my note on Acts 20:17, and the article Bischof, by Jacobson, in Herzog’s Realencyclopädie für protestantische Theologie u. Kirche.

κ. διακόνοις] See on Romans 12:7; Romans 16:1.

Chrys. enquires why he writes here to the κλῆρος as well as to the ἅγιοι, and not in the Epistles to the Romans, or Corinthians, or Ephesians. And he answers it, ὅτι αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀπέστειλαν, κ. ἐκαρποφόρησαν, κ. αὐτοὶ ἔπεμψαν πρὸς αὐτὸν τὸν ἐπαφρόδιτον. But the true reason seems to be, the late date of our Epistle. The ecclesiastical offices were now more plainly distinguished than at the time when the two former of those Epistles were written. That to the Ephesians rests on grounds of its own. The simple juxtaposition of the officers with the members of the Church, and indeed their being placed after those members, shews, as it still seems to me, against Ellicott in loc., the absence of hierarchical views such as those in the Epistles of the apostolic fathers.

Verse 1-2

προσ φιλιππησιουσ


Verse 2

2.] See on Romans 1:7.

Verse 3

3.] See the similar expressions, Romans 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Phlippians 1:4.

ἐπί here with a dative is hardly distinguishable in English from the same preposition with a genitive in Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16;—at, or in: the primitive idea of such construction being addition by close adherence: ‘my whole remembrance of you is accompanied with thanks to God.’ πάση τῇ μνείᾳ must not be rendered as in E. V. (so even Conyb.) ‘every remembrance,’ but my whole remembrance. The expression comprehends in one all such remembrances: but the article forbids the above rendering: cf. πᾶσα ἡ πόλις, Matthew 21:10; also ib. Matthew 6:29; Mark 4:1; Luke 3:3; Winer, § 18. 4. Some (Maldon., Bretschn., al.) take ἐπί as assigning the reason for εὐχαριστῶ (as 1 Corinthians 1:4), and μνείᾳ ὑμῶν as meaning, ‘your remembrance of me,’ viz. in sending me sustenance. But this is evidently wrong: for the ground of εὐχαριστῶ follows, Philippians 1:5. μνεία here, remembrance, not ‘mention,’ which meaning it only gets by ποιεῖσθαι being joined to it, ‘to make an act of remembrance,’ i.e. to mention, Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Phlippians 1:4.

Verses 3-11


Verse 4

4.] πάντοτε πάσῃ πάντων—here we have the overflowings of a full heart. Render—always in every prayer of mine making my prayer for you all with joy: not, as in E. V., ‘in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.’ For the second δέησις, having the article, is thereby defined to be the particular request, ὑπὲρ π. ὑμ.— τὸ μετὰ χαρᾶς μεμνῆσθαι σημεῖον τῆς ἐκείνων ἀρετῆς, Thl.; so that the sense is, that every time he prayed, he joyfully offered up that portion of his prayers which was an intercession for them. See Ellic., who defends the other connexion; but has misunderstood my note.

Verse 5

5.] for (ground of the εὐχ., πάντοτε to ποιούμενος having been epexegetical of it) your fellowship (with one another: entire accord, unanimous action: not your fellowship with me, ὅτι κοινωνοί μου γίνεσθε κ. συμμερισταὶ τῶν ἐπὶ τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ πόνων, Thl.: this must have been further specified, by μετʼ ἐμοῦ (1 John 1:3) or the like. Still less must we with Estius, Wetst., al. (and nearly so Chrys.), render ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, pro liberalitate vestra erga me) as regards the Gospel (not ‘in the Gospel,’ as E. V. and Thdrt., κοινωνίαν δὲ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τὴν πίστιν ἐκάλεσε: but thus it would be the genitive, and εἰς τὸ εὐ. can hardly be taken as equivalent to it: cf. κοινωνεῖν εἰς, ch. Philippians 4:15. Their mutual accord was for the purposes of the Gospel—i.e. the perfecting, of which he proceeds to treat. “The article τῇ is not repeated after ὑμῶν, because κοινωνία εἰς τὸ εὐ. is conceived as one idea, together.” Meyer. Ellic. would understand κοιν. as absolute and abstract, ‘fellowship,’ not ‘contribution:’ including, without expressly mentioning, ‘that particular manifestation of it which so especially marked the liberal and warm-hearted Christians of Philippi.’ and it may well be so, even holding my former interpretation: this was the exhibition of their κοινωνία εἰς τὸ εὐαγγ.) from the first day (of your receiving it) until now. This last clause is by Lachm. and Meyer attached to πεποιθώς, but they are surely in error. The reason assigned is, that, if it had belonged to κοινωνίᾳ, &c., the article τῇ would have been repeated. But the same account which I have quoted from Meyer himself above of its omission after ὑμῶν will also apply to its omission here—that the whole κοινωνία from the first is taken as one idea, and therefore this feature of it, that it was ἀπὸ τῆς πρ. ἡμ. ἄχρι τ. νῦν, need not be specially particularized by the definite article. It is St. Paul’s constant habit to place πέποιθα first in the sentence (cf. Romans 2:19; 2 Corinthians 2:3; Galatians 5:10; ch. Philippians 2:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:4; Phlippians 1:21; also Matthew 27:43), pregnant as it is with emphasis, and including the matter of confidence which follows: and we may certainly say that had this clause referred to πεποιθώς, it would have followed, not preceded it. Besides which, the emphatic αὐτὸ τοῦτο would be rendered altogether vapid, by so long an emphatic clause preceding the verb. Œcum., Beza, and Bengel connect the words with the distantly preceding verb εὐχαριστῶ, which (hardly however, as Ellic., on account of the pres. tense and πάντοτε) is still more improbable.

πεποιθώς] parallel with ποιούμενοςbeing (i.e. seeing I am) confident of

αὐτὸ τοῦτο] this very thing (it points out sharply and emphatically, implying, as here, that the very matter of confidence is one which will ensure the success of the δέησις. Conyb. renders it ‘accordingly,’ which is far too weak. As regards the construction, αὐτὸ τοῦτο is only a secondary accusative, of reference, not governed directly by πεποιθώς. It is immediately resolved into ὅτι ὁ ἐν. κ. τ. λ.).

Verse 6

6. ὁ ἐναρξ.] He who has begun in you a good work, viz. God: cf. ch. Philippians 2:13. Wakefield, perversely enough, renders, ‘he among you who has begun, &c.’

By ‘a good work,’ he refers his confidence to the general character of God as the doer and finisher of good: the one good work in his mind being, their κοινωνία &c. ἐν is in, not ‘among:’ but the preposition in ἐναρξάμενος seems not to be connected with it, cf. reff., where the verb has an absolute meaning, irrespective of any immanent working.

The ἄχρι ἡμέρας χρ. ἰησοῦ assumes the nearness of the coming of the Lord ( μέχρι τῆς τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐπιφανείας, Thdrt.). Here, as elsewhere, Commentators (even Ellic. recently) have endeavoured to escape from this inference. Thus Thl., Œc., refer the saying not only to the then existing generation of Philippians, but καὶ τοῖς ἐξ ὑμῶν: Estius, in the case of each man, ‘usque ad mortem suam;’ Calov., understanding not the continuance till the day of Christ, but ‘terminus et complementum perfectionis, quod habituri isto die erimus:’ and so nearly Calvin, but saying very beautifully,—‘Tametsi enim qui ex corpore mortali sunt liberati, non amplius militent cum carnis concupiscentiis, sintque extra teli jactum ut aiunt: tamen nihil erit absurdi, si dicentur esse in profectu, quia nondum pertigerunt quo aspirant: nondum potiuntur felicitate et gloria quam sperarunt: denique nondum illuxit dies, qui revelet absconditos in spe thesauros. Atque adeo quum de spe agitur, semper ad beatam resurrectionem, tanquam ad scopum, referendi sunt oculi.’ Doubtless, this is our lesson, and must be our application of such passages: but this surely was not the sense in which the Apostle wrote them.

Verse 7

7.] Justification of the above-expressed confidence:—it was fair and right for him to entertain it.

καθώς] a word of later Greek, never used by the elder Attic writers; = καθό (Thuc.), καθά, καθάπερ (see Phryn. Lobeck, p. 425, and note). It takes up, and justifies by analogy, the confidence of the last verse.

ἐστιν δίκ. ἐμοί] The usual classical constructions are, ἐμὲ δίκαιόν ἐστι φράζειν, Herod. i. 39: ἐμὲ δίκαιονπροσλαμβάνειν, Plato, Legg. x. 897; οὗτος δίκαιός ἐστι φέρεσθαι, ib. i. 32. But Ellic. remarks, that there is nothing unclassical in the present usage; and compares Plato, Rep. i. 334, δίκαιον τότε τούτοις τοὺς πονηροὺς ὠφελεῖν.

τοῦτο φρονεῖν] viz. the confidence of Philippians 1:6.

ὑπέρ] because it is an opinion involving their good: see ref. Calov. and Wolf understand φρον. ὑπέρ, ‘to care for,’ and τοῦτο to refer to the prayer, Philippians 1:4; but unnaturally.

. διὰ τό] reason why he was justified, &c. as above, με is the subject, ὑμᾶς the object, as the context (Philippians 1:8) clearly shews: not the converse, as Rosenm., al.

ἔν τε] Chrys. finely says, καὶ τί θαυμαστόν, εἰ ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ εἶχεν αὐτούς; οὐδὲ γὰρ κατʼ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρόν, φησι, καθʼ ὃν εἰσῄειν εἰς τὸ δικαστήριον ἀπολογησόμενος, ἐξεπέσατέ μου τῆς μνήμης. οὕτω γάρ ἐστι τυραννικὸν ὁ ἔρως ὁ πνευματικός, ὡς μηδενὶ παραχωρεῖν καιρῷ, ἀλλʼ ἀεὶ τῆς ψυχῆς ἔχεσθαι τοῦ φιλοῦντος, καὶ μηδεμίαν θλίψιν καὶ ὀδύνην συγχωρεῖν περιγενέσθαι τῆς ψυχῆς.

His bonds were his situation: his defence and confirmation of the Gospel his employment in that situation;—whether he refers to a public defence (2 Timothy 4:16), or only to that defence of the Gospel, which he was constantly making in private. However this may be, the two, ἀπολογ. and βεβαίωσις, are most naturally understood as referring to one and the same course of action: otherwise the τῇ would be repeated before βεβ. One such ἀπολ. and βεβ. we have recorded in Acts 28:23 ff.

These words, ἔν τε εὐαγγελίου, are most naturally taken with the foregoing (Chrys., al., Meyer, De W.), as punctuated in the text, not with the following (Calv., al.) συγκοιν. κ. τ. λ., which render a reason for the whole, διὰ τό to εὐαγγελίου.

συγκ.] See above. ὑμᾶς is thus characterized: ‘Ye are fellow-partakers of my grace:’ the grace vouchsafed to me by God in Christ, see reff.: not the grace of suffering in Him, as Philippians 1:29 (Meyer), still less the grace of apostleship, Romans 1:5, which the Philippians had furthered by their subsidies (Rosenm., al.): Philippians 1:8 decides the χάρις to be spiritual in its meaning. The rendering gaudii in the Vulg. must have arisen from reading χαρᾶς. The repetition of ὑμᾶς, referring to a ὑμᾶς gone before, is usual in rhetorical sentences of a similar kind. So Demosth. p. 1225,— ὧν ἀκούοντά με, καὶ παρὰ τῶν ἀφικνουμένων …,— τίνα με οἴεσθε ψυχὴν ἔχειν; But Bernhardy, Synt. p. 275, remarks that the most accurate writers in verse and prose do not thus repeat the personal pronoun. No such pleonasm is found in Homer or Plato.

Verse 8

8.] Confirmation of Philippians 1:7. οὐλ ὡς ἀπιστούμενος μάρτυρα καλεῖ τὸν θεόν, ἀλλὰ τὴν πολλὴν διάθεσιν οὐκ ἔχων παραστῆσαι διὰ λόγου, Thl. after Chrys. On ἐπιποθῶ, see reff. The preposition indicates the direction of the desire, not its intensification. On ἐν σπλάγχνοις χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ, Bengel remarks, “in Paulo non Paulus vivit, sed Jesus Christus: quare Paulus non in Pauli sed in Jesu Christi movetur visceribus.” All real spiritual love is but a portion of the great love wherewith He hath loved us, which lives and yearns in all who are vitally united to Him.

Verses 9-11

9–11.] The substance of his prayer (already, Philippians 1:4, alluded to) for them. καί refers back to the δέησις of Philippians 1:4; ‘and this is the purport of my prayer.’ At the same time this purport follows most naturally, after the expression of desire for them in the last verse.

There is an ellipsis in the sense between τοῦτο and ἵνα,— τοῦτο introducing the substance of the prayer, ἵνα its aim. See, on ἵνα with προσεύχομαι, note, 1 Corinthians 14:13; and Ellic. here.

ἡ ἀγάπη ὑμ.] not, ‘towards me,’ as Chrys. ( ὅρα πῶς φιλούμενος ἔτι μᾶλλον ἐβούλετο φιλεῖσθαι), Thl., Grot., all.,—nor towards God and Christ (Calov., al.), but either perfectly general, as Ellic., or, ‘towards one another:’ virtually identical with the κοινωνία of Philippians 1:5 In ἀγάπη ὑμῶν its existence is recognized; in μᾶλλον καὶ μᾶλλον περισσ., its deficiency is hinted at. ἐν is not to be taken as if ἐπίγνωσις and αἴσθησις were departments of Love, in which it was to increase: but they are rather elements, in whose increase in their characters Love is also, and as a separate thing, to increase: q.d. ‘that your love may increase, but not without an increase in ἐπίγνωσις and αἴσθησις.’ For by these Love is guarded from being ill-judged and misplaced, which, separate from them, it would be: and accordingly, on the increase of these is all the subsequent stress laid.

ἐπίγνωσις is accurate knowledge of moral and practical truth: αἴσθησις, perceptivity of the same, the power of apprehending it: “the contrary of that dulness and inactivity of the αἰσθητήρια τῆς καρδίας (Jeremiah 4:19), which brings about moral want of judgment, and indifference” (Meyer). De W. renders it well, moral tact.

Verse 10

10.] Purpose of the increase in knowledge and perceptiveness: with a view to your distinguishing things that are different, and so choosing the good, and refusing the evil. Meyer’s objection to this rendering—that the purpose is, not such distinction, but the approval of the good, is, after all, mere trifling: for the former is stated as implying the latter. He would render with Vulg., E. V., Chr. ( τὰ διαφέροντα, τουτέστι, τὰ συμφέροντα), Thl., Erasm., Grot., Est., Beng., al., ‘approving (or, as Ellic., with Syr., æth., ‘proving,’ ‘bringing to the test’) things that are excellent,’ which certainly is allowable, such sense of διαφέρω being justified by Matthew 10:31, and τὰ διαφέροντα for præstantiora occurring Xen. Hier. i. 3; Dio Cassius xliv. 25. But the simpler and more usual meaning of both verbs is preferable, and has been adopted by Thdrt. ( διακρίσεως, ὥστε εἰδέναι τίνα μὲν καλά, τίνα δὲ κρείττονα, τίνα δὲ παντάπασι τὰ διαφορὰν πρὸς ἄλληλα ἔχοντα), Beza, Wolf, all., Wies., De Wette, al.

εἰλικρινεῖς] pure,—a double derivation is given for the word. (1) εἵλη, κρίνω that which is proved in the sunlight,—in which case it would be better written as it is often in our manuscripts, εἱλ.: and (2) εἶλος ( εἰλεῖν, ἴλλειν), κρίνω: that which is proved by rapid shaking, as in sifting. This latter is defended by Stallbaum on Plato, Phæd. p. 66 A, where the word occurs in an ethical sense as here ( εἰλικρινεῖ τῇ διανοίᾳ χρώμενος αὐτὸ καθʼ αὑτὸ εἰλικρινὲς ἕκαστον ἐπιχειροίη θηρεύειν τῶν ὄντων): see also ib., p. 81 C: and cf. Ellic.’s note here.

ἀπρόσκοποι] here as in ref. Acts, used intransitively, void of offence,—without stumbling; so Beza, Calv., De W., Wies., al. The transitive meaning, ‘giving no offence’ (see ref. 1 Cor.), is adopted by Chr. ( μηδένα σκανδαλίσαντες), Thdrt. (?), al., Meyer, al.: but it has here no place in the context, where other men are not in question.

εἰς ἡμέραν χριστοῦ] See above on Philippians 1:6; but εἰς is not exactly = ἄχρι; it has more the meaning of ‘for,’—‘so that when that day comes, ye may be found.’ Our temporal use of ‘against’ exactly gives it.

Verse 11

11. πεπληρωμένοι καρπὸν δικαιοσ.] filled with (the accusative of reference or secondary government, reff.) the fruit of righteousness (that result of work for God’s glory which is the product of a holy life: δικαιοσ. being here, the whole purified moral habit of the regenerate and justified man. Cf. καρπ. τοῦ πνεύματος, Galatians 5:22,— τ. φωτός, Ephesians 5:9,— δικαιοσύνης, James 3:18) which is (specifies the καρπός—that it is not of nor by man, but) through Jesus Christ (by the working of the Spirit which He sends from the Father: “Silvestres sumus oleastri et inutiles, donee in Christum sumus insiti, qui viva sua radice frugiferas arbores nos reddit.” Calvin) unto the glory and praise of God (belongs to πεπληρωμένοι).

Verse 12

12.] According to Meyer, the connexion is with ἐπιγνώσει above, whence γινώσκειν is placed first:—q.d., ‘and as part of this knowledge, I would have you, &c.’ (Ellic. cites this view as mine also, but erroneously.)

τὰ κατʼ ἐμέ] my affairs (reff.).

μᾶλλον] rather (than the contrary): not, ‘more now than before,’ as Hoelemann, which would be expressed by μᾶλλον ἤδη or νῦν μᾶλλον.

προκοπήν] advance (reff.). The word is common in Polyb. and later authors, but is condemned by Phrynichus, ed. Lobeck, p. 85, as unknown to the Attic writers.

ἐλήλυθεν] ‘evaserunt,’ have turned out: so Herod. i. 120, κ. τά γε τῶν ὀνειράτων ἑχόμενα, τέλεως ἐς ἀσθενὲς ἔρχεται.

Verses 12-26

12–26.] DESCRIPTION OF HIS CONDITION AT ROME: HIS FEELINGS AND HOPES. And first he explains, 12–18.] how his imprisonment had given occasion to many to preach Christ: how some indeed had done this from unworthy motives, but still to his joy that, any-how, Christ was preached.

Verse 13

13.] so that (effect of this εἰς προκ. ἐληλυθέναι) my bonds (the fact of my imprisonment) have become manifest in Christ ( φανερ. ἐν χριστῷ is to be taken together. They became known, not as a matter simply of notoriety, but of notoriety in Christ, i.e. in connexion with Christ’s cause,—as endured for Christ’s sake;—and thus the Gospel was furthered) in the whole prætorium (i.e. the barrack of the prætorian guards attached to the palatium of Nero (Dio liii. 16, καλεῖται δὲ τὰ βασίλεια παλάτιονὅτι ἔν τε τῷ παλατίῳ (monte Palatino) ὁ καῖσαρ ᾤκει, καὶ ἐκεῖ τὸ στρατήγιον εἶχε. See Wieseler’s note, ii. 403 f.): not the camp of the same outside the city (‘castra prætorianorum,’ Tac. Hist. i. 31: Suet. Tiber. 37). That this was so, is shewn by the greeting sent ch. Philippians 4:22 from οἱ ἐκ τῆς καίσαρος οἰκίας, who would hardly have been mentioned in the other case. The word ‘prætorium’ is also used of castles or palaces belonging to Cæsar (Suet. Aug. 72, Tiber. 39, Calig. 37, Tit. 8), or to foreign princes (Acts 23:35, Juv. x. 161), or even to private persons (Juv. i. 75): it cannot be shewn ever to have signified the palatium at Rome, but the above meanings approach so nearly to this, that it seems to me no serious objection can be taken to it. The fact here mentioned may be traced to St. Paul being guarded by a prætorian soldier, and having full liberty of preaching the Gospel (Acts 28:30 f.): but more probably his situation had been changed since then,—see Prolegg. to this Epistle, § iii. 6. I should now say that the ὅλῳ, and the τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν, make it more probable that the prætorium is to be taken in the larger acceptation,—the quadrangular camp now forming part of Aurelian’s city walls,—including also the smaller camp on the Palatine) and to all the rest (a popular hyperbole:—i.e., to others, besides those in the prætorium: not to be taken (Chr., Thdrt., E. V.) as governed by ἐν and signifying, ‘in all other places.’ The matter of fact interpretation would be, that the soldiers, and those who visited him, carried the fame of his being bound for Christ over all Rome),

Verse 14

14.] and (so that) most of (not ‘many of,’ as E. V., al.) the brethren in the Lord (this is the most natural connexion: see on πέποιθα, - ώς, standing first in the sentence, above, Philippians 1:5. And so De W., al. Meyer, Ellic., Winer, § 20. 2, al., take ἐν κυρ. with πεποιθότας, as the element in which their confidence was exercised, as ἐν χριστῷ, Philippians 1:13. To this sense there is no objection: but the other arrangement still seems to me, in spite of Ellic.’s note, more natural. No article is required before ἐν: see reff.) encouraged by (having confidence in) my bonds ( εἰ γὰρ μὴ θεῖον ἦν, φησί, τὸ κήρυγμα, οὐκ ἂν ὁ παῦλος ἠνείχετο ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ δεδέσθαι, Œc.) are venturing more abundantly (than before) to speak the word of God (it would certainly seem here, from the variations, as if the shorter reading were the original text) fearlessly.

Verse 15

15.] The two classes mentioned here are not subdivisions of the ἀδελφοὶ ἐν κυρίῳ above, who would more naturally be οἱ μέν and οἱ δέ, but the first ( καί) are a new class, over and beyond those ἀδελφοί, and the second (in which clause the καί refers to the first) are identical with the ἀδελφοί above. The first were the anti-pauline Christians, of whom we hear so often in the Epistles (see Romans 14.; 1 Corinthians 3:10 ff; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 9:1 ff.; 2 Corinthians 10:1 ff; 2 Corinthians 11:1 ff. &c.).

καί, besides those mentioned Philippians 1:14. But this does not imply that the καί is to be referred to τινες, as Ellic. represents me;—it introduces a new motive, διὰ κ. τ. λ., and consequently, in my view, a new class of persons.

διὰ, not strictly ‘for the sake of,’ so that they set envy (of me) and strife before them as their object—but ‘in pursuance of,’—so on account of,—to forward and carry out: see reff.

καί (2nd)—besides the hostile ones: introducing (see above) another motive again, differing from that last mentioned.

διʼ εὐδοκίανon account of, in pursuance of, good will (towards me).

Verse 16-17

16, 17.] The two classes of οἱ μέν, οἱ δέ, answering to hi and illi, take up again those of the preceding verse, the last being treated first. These last indeed (preach Christ: omitted, as having just occurred: see below) out of (induced by, reff.) love (this arrangement is better than with Mey., De W., and Ellic. to take οἱ ἐξ ἀγάπης and οἱ ἐξ ἐριθ. as generic descriptions, as in Romans 2:8, of the two classes: for in that case the words τὸν χρ. καταγγέλλουσιν would hardly be expressed in Philippians 1:17, whereas in our rendering they come in naturally, ἐξ ἐριθείας being emphatically prefixed), knowing (motive of their conduct) that I am set (not ‘lie in prison:’ see reff.:—‘am appointed by God’) for the defence (as in Philippians 1:7; hardly as Chrys., τουτέστι, τὰς εὐθύνας μοι ὑποτέμνοντες τὰς πρὸς τὸν θεόν,—helping me in the solemn matter of my account of my ministry to God) of the Gospel:

Verse 17

17.] but the former out of self-seeking (or ‘intrigue’ (Conyb.): not ‘contention,’ as E. V., which has arisen from a mistake as to the derivation of the word, see note, Romans 2:8) proclaim Christ insincerely (so Cic. pro leg. Manil. 1, ‘in privatorum periculis caste integreque versatus,’— μεγάλων ἀέθλων ἁγνὰν κρίσιν, Pind. Ol. iii. 37), thinking (explains οὐχ ἁγνῶς;—‘in that they think.’ In the οἰόμενοι is involved, ‘they do not succeed in their purpose,’ cf. ref. 1 Macc.) to raise up tribulation for (me in) my bonds (i.e. endeavouring to take opportunity, by my being laid aside, to depreciate me and my preaching, and so to cause me trouble of spirit. The meaning given by Chrys., al., ‘to excite the hatred of his persecutors and so render his condition worse, whether by the complaints of the Jews or otherwise,’—seems to me quite beside the purpose. It surely could not, from any circumstances to us unknown (Calvin’s excuse, adopted by Ellic., for the objective view of θλίψις), make his imprisonment more severe, that some were preaching Christ from wrong motives).

Verse 18

18.] What then (i.e. ‘what is my feeling thereupon?’ see Ellic.’s note)? Nevertheless (i.e. notwithstanding this opposition to myself: see reff.: St. Paul uses πλήν in this sense only. Reading ὅτι after the πλήν, the expression is elliptical, as in ref. Acts. What then? ‘(nothing,) except that’) in every way (of preaching;—from whatever motive undertaken and however carried out), in pretext (with a by-motive, as in Philippians 1:17), or in verity (‘truth and sincerity of spirit:’ the datives are those of the manner and form,—see Winer, § 31. 7. On προφάσει and ἀληθείᾳ, cf. Æschin. cont. Timarch. p. 6, προφάσει μὲν τῆς τέχνης μαθητής, τῇ δὲ ἀληθείᾳ πωλεῖν αὑτὸν προῃρημένος, and other examples in Wetst.) Christ IS PROCLAIMED (then these adversaries of the Apostle can hardly have been those against whom he speaks so decisively in Galatians, and indeed in our ch. Philippians 3:2. These men preached Christ, and thus forwarded pro tanto the work of the Gospel, however mixed their motives may have been, or however imperfect their work): and in this ( ἐν ἀρεταῖς γέγαθε, Pind. Nem. iii. 56: οὐ γὰρ ἂν γνοίης ἐν οἷς | χαίρειν προθυμῇ κἀν ὅτοις ἀλγεῖς μάτην, Soph. Trach. 1118) I rejoice, yea and (on ἀλλὰ καί, see Ellic. It does not seem to me necessary, with him, to place a colon at χαίρω) I shall (hereafter) rejoice:

Verse 19

19.] for I know that this (viz. the greater spread of the preaching of Christ, last mentioned, Philippians 1:18; not as Thl., Calv., Est., De W., the θλίψιν ἐγείρ. κ. τ. λ., in which case Philippians 1:18 would be (Mey.) arbitrarily passed over) shall turn out to my salvation ( σωτηρία is variously interpreted: by Chrys. and Thdrt., of deliverance from present custody; by Œc., of sustenance in life: by Michaelis, of victory over foes: by Grot., of the salvation of others. But from the context it must refer to his own spiritual good—his own fruitfulness for Christ and glorification of Him, whether by his life or death;—and so eventually his own salvation, in degree of blessedness, not in relation to the absolute fact itself), through your prayer (his affection leads him to make this addition—q. d. if you continue to pray for me;—not without the help of your prayers: see similar expressions, 2 Corinthians 1:11; Romans 15:30-31; Phlippians 1:22) and (your) supply (to me, by that prayer and its answer) of the spirit of Jesus Christ (the construction obliges us to take ἐπιχορηγίας as parallel with δεήσεως, and as the article is wanting, as also included under the ὑμῶν. Were the sense as E. V., and ordinarily, ‘through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,’ διὰ or διὰ τῆς would have been repeated, or at least the article τῆς expressed. This I still hold, notwithstanding Ellic.’s note. How such a meaning can be dogmatically objectionable, I am wholly unable to see. Surely, that intercessory prayer should attain its object, and the supply take place in consequence of the prayer, is only in accord with the simplest idea of any reality in such prayer at all. Then again, is τοῦ πνεύματος a subjective genitive, ‘supply which the Spirit gives,’—so Thdrt. ( τοῦ θείου μοι πν. χορηγοῦντος τὴν χάριν), Calv., De W., Meyer, all.:—or objective, the Spirit being that which is supplied (so Chrys., Thl., Œc., Grot., Beng., al.)? Decidedly, I think, the latter, on account (1) of St. Paul’s own usage of ἐπιχορηγεῖν with this very word πνεῦμα in Galatians 3:5, which is quite in point here, and (2) perhaps also, but see Ellic., of the arrangement of the words, which in the case of a subjective genitive would have been κ. τοῦ πν. . χ. ἐπιχορηγίας, as in Ephesians 4:16, διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας.—By a delicate touch at the same time of personal humility and loving appreciation of their spiritual eminence and value to him, he rests the advancement of his own salvation, on the supply of the Holy Spirit won for him by their prayers),

Verse 20

20.] according to (for it is ‘our confidence, which hath great recompense of reward,’ Hebrews 10:35 f.) my expectation (not, ‘earnest expectation,’ which never seems to be the sense of ἀπό in composition: still less is ἀπό superfluous: but καραδοκεῖν signifies to ‘attend,’ ‘look out’—( παρὰ τὴν κάραν ὅλην δοκεῖν (‘observare’), Thl. ad loc.); and ἀπό adds the signification of ‘from a particular position,’ or better still that of exhaustion, ‘look out until it be fulfilled,’—as in ‘expectare,’ ἀπεκδέχιμαι, ἀπέχω, &c. See the word thoroughly discussed the Fritzschiorum Opuscula, p. 150 ff.) and hope that (Est., al., take ὅτι argumentatively, because: but thus the expectation and hope will have no explanation, and the flow of the sentence will be broken) in nothing (in no point, no particular, see ref. It should be kept quite indefinite, not specified as Chrys. ( κἂν ὁτιοῦν γένηται). ‘In none’ (of those to whom the Gospel is preached) as Hoelemann, is beside the purpose—no persons are adduced, but only the most general considerations) I shall be ashamed (general: have reason to take shame for my work for God, or His work in me), but (on the contrary: but perhaps after the ἐν οὐδενί this need not be pressed) in all (as contrasted with ἐν οὐδενί above) boldness (contrast to shame:—boldness on my part, seeing that life or death are both alike glorious for me—and thus I, my body, the passive instrument in which Christ is glorified, shall any-how be bold and of good cheer in this His glorification of Himself in me) as always, now also (that I am in the situation described above, Philippians 1:17) Christ shall be magnified ( δειχθήσεται ὅς ἐστι, Thdrt.: by His Kingdom being spread among men. So Ellicott, saying rightly that it is more than ‘praised,’ as in my earlier editions) in my body (my body being the subject of life or death,—in the occurrence of either of which he would not be ashamed, the one bringing active service for Christ, the other union with Him in heaven, Philippians 1:21 ff.), either by (means of) life or by (means of) death.

Verse 21

21.] For (justification of the preceding expectation and hope, in either event) to me (emphatic) to live (continue in life, present), (is) Christ (see especially Galatians 2:20. All my life, all my energy, all my time, is His—I live Christ. That this is the meaning, is clear, from the corresponding clause and the context. But many have taken χριστός for the subject, and τὸ ζῇν for the predicate, and others (as Chrys.) have understood τὸ ζῇν in the sense of higher spiritual life. Others again, as Calvin, Beza, &c., have rendered, ‘mihi enim vivendo Christus est et moriendo lucrum,’ understanding before τὸ ζ. and τὸ ἀπ., κατά or the like), and to die (‘to have died,’ aorist; the act of living is to him Christ; but it is the state after death, not the act of dying, which is gain to him (the explanation of the two infinitives given here does not at all affect their purely substantival character, which Ellic. defends as against me: τὸ ζῇν is life and τὸ ἀποθανεῖν is death: but we must not any the more for that lose sight of the tenses and their meaning. τὸ ἀποθνήσκειν would be equally substantival, but would mean a totally different thing)) (is) gain. This last word has surprised some Commentators, expecting a repetition of χριστός, or something at all events higher than mere κέρδος. But it is to be explained by the foregoing context. ‘Even if my death should be the result of my enemies’ machinations, it will be no αἰσχύνη to me, but gain, and my παῤῥησία is secured even for that event.’

Verse 22

22.] But if (the syllogistic, not the hypothetical ‘if:’ assuming that it is so) the continuing to live in the flesh (epexegesis of τὸ ζῇν above), this very thing ( τοῦτο directs attention to the antecedent as the principal or only subject of that which is to be asserted: this very ζῇν which I am undervaluing is) is to me the fruit of my work (i.e. that in which the fruit of my apostolic ministry will be involved,—the condition of that fruit being brought forth), then (this use of καί to introduce an apodosis is abundantly justified: cf. Simonides, fragm. Danae, εἰ δέ τοι δεινὸν τόγε δεινὸν ἦν, καί κεν ἐμῶν ῥημάτων λεπτὸν ὑπεῖχες οὖας: Hom. Il. ε. 897, εἰ δέ τευ ἐξ ἄλλου γε θεῶν γένευ ὧδʼ ἀΐδηλος, καί κεν δὴ πάλαι ἦσθα ἐνέρτερος οὐρανιώνων: Od. ξ. 112, αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δείπνησε κ. ἤραρε θυμὸν ἐδωδῇ, καί οἱ πλησάμενος δῶκε σκύφον, ᾧπερ ἔπινεν. And the construction is imitated by Virg. Georg. i. 200, ‘si brachia forte remisit, Atque illum præceps prono rapit alveus amni.’ See Hartung, Partikell. i. 130, where more examples are given. The primary sense is ‘also,’ introducing a new feature—for whereas he had before said that death was gain to him, he now says, but, if life in the flesh is to be the fruit of my ministry, then (I must add,—this besides arises—), &c.) what (i.e. which of the two) I shall choose (for myself) I know not. The above rendering is in the main that of Chr., Thdrt., Œc, Thl., Erasm., Luth., Calv., all., Meyer, De Wette,—and as it appears to me, the only one which will suit the construction and sense. Beza’s ‘an vero vivere in carne mihi operæ pretium sit et quid eligam ignoro,’ adopted (except in his omission of the τοῦτο and his rendering of καρπὸς ἔργου by ‘operæ pretium’) by Conyb., is open to several objections: (1) the harshness of attaching to οὐ γνωρίζω the two clauses εἰ …, and τί …: (2) the doubtfulness of such a construction at all as οὐ γνωρίζω, εἰ … (3) the extreme clumsiness of the sentence when constructed, “whether this life in the flesh shall be the fruit of my labour, and what I shall choose, I know not” (Conyb.): (4) in this last rendering, the lameness of the apodosis in the clause εἰ δὲ ( τὸ ζῇν ἐν σαρκὶ τοῦτό) μοι καρπὸς ἔργου, which would certainly, were τοῦτο to be taken with τὸ ζῇν, have been καρπός μοι ἔργου or καρπὸς ἔργου μοι.

Verse 23

23.] But (the contrast is to the decision involved in γνωρίζω) I am perplexed (reff. and Acts 18:5 note: held in, kept back from decision, which would be a setting at liberty) by (from the direction of,—kept in on both sides) the two (which have been mentioned, viz. τὸ ζῇν and τὸ ἀποθανεῖν not, which follow: this is evident by the insignificant position of ἐκ τῶν δύο behind the emphatic verb συνέχομαι, whereas, had the two been the new particulars about to be mentioned, τὸ ἀναλῦσαι and τὸ ἐπιμένειν it would have been in ἐκ δὲ τῶν δύο συνέχομαι), having my desire towards ( εἰς belongs to ἔχων, not to ἐπιθυμίαν. The E. V., ‘having a desire to,’ would be ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων τοῦ, and entirely misses the delicate sense) departing (from this world—used on account of σὺν χρ. εἶναι following. The intransitive sense of ἀναλύω is not properly such, but as in the Latin solvere, elliptical, to loose (anchor or the like: see reff.) for departure, for return, &c.) and being with Christ (“valet hic locus ad refellendum eorum deliramentum, qui animas a corporibus divisas dormire somniant: nam Paulus aperte testatur, nos frui Christi præsentia quum dissolvimur.” Calv.; and similarly Est. Thus much is true: but not perhaps that which some have inferred from our verse, that it shews a change of view respecting the nearness of the Lord’s advent—for it is only said in case of his death: he immediately takes it up (Philippians 1:25) by an assurance that he should continue with them: and cf. Philippians 1:6; ch. Philippians 3:20-21, which shew that the advent was still regarded as imminent), for it is by far better (ref. Mark, and examples in Wetst, Plato, Hip. Maj. § 56, οἴει σοι κρεῖττον εἶναι ζῇν μᾶλλον ἢ τεθνάναι: Isocr. Helen. 213 c, οὕτως ἠγανάκτησεν ὥσθʼ ἡγήσατο κρεῖττον εἶναι τεθνάναι μᾶλλον: ib. Archidam. 134 c, πολὺ γὰρ κρεῖττον ἐν ταῖς δόξαις αἷς ἔχομεν τελευτῆσαι τὸν βίον μᾶλλον ἢ ζῇν ἐν ταῖς ἀτιμίαις: but to continue (the preposition gives the sense of still, cf. Romans 6:1) in my flesh (the article makes a slight distinction from ἐν σαρκί, abstract, Philippians 1:22) is more needful (this comparison contains in itself a mixed construction, between ἀναγκαῖον and αἱρετώτερον or the like) on account of you (and others—but the expressions of his love are now directed solely to them. Meyer quotes from Seneca, Epist. 98:—‘vitæ suæ adjici nihil desiderat sua causa, sed eorum, quibus utilis est.’ Cf. also a remarkable passage from id. Epist. 104 in Wetst.).

Verse 25

25.] And having this confidence (Thl., al., take τοῦτο with οἶδα, and render πεποιθώς adverbially, ‘confidently,’—which last can hardly be, besides that οἶδα will thus lose its reference, τοῦτοὅτι being un. meaning in the context), I know that I shall remain and continue alive (so Herod. i. 30, σφι εἶδε ἃπασι τέκνα ἐκγενόμενα, καὶ πάντα παραμείναντα. συμπαραμένω (see var. readd.) occurs in Psalms 71:5, and in Thuc. vi. 89) with you all (the dative may either be after the compound verb, or better perhaps a ‘dativus commodi’) for your advancement and joy in your faith (both προκ. and χαρ. govern τῆς πίσ. which is the subjective genitive; it is their faith which is to advance, by the continuance of his teaching, and to rejoice, as explained below, on account of his presence among them),

Verse 26

26.] that your matter of boasting (not, as Chr., ‘mine in you:’ nor, as commonly rendered, ‘your boasting’ ( καύχησις). Their Christian matter of boasting in him was, the possession of the Gospel, which they had received from him, which would abound, be assured and increased, by his presence among them) may abound in Christ Jesus (its field, element of increase, it being a Christian matter of glorying) in me (its field, element, of abounding in Christ Jesus, I being the worker of that which furnishes this material) by means of my presence again with you.

Verse 27

27.] μόνον,—i.e. I have but this to ask of you, in the prospect of my return:—see reff.

πολιτεύεσθε] The πολίτενμα being the heavenly state, of which you are citizens, ch. Philippians 3:20. The expression is found in Jos. (Antt. iii. 5. 8) and in Philo, and is very common in the fathers: e.g. Ps-Ignat. Trall. 9, p. 789, ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο, κ. ἐπολιτεύσατο ἄνευ ἁμαρτίας,—Cyr. Jer. Catech. Illum. iv. 1, p. 51, ἰσάγγελον βίον πολιτεύεσθαι. See Suicer in voc. The emphasis is on ἀξίως τ. εὐ. τοῦ χρ.

ἵνα εἴτε κ. τ. λ.] This clause is loosely constructed,—the verb ἀκούσω belonging properly only to the second alternative, εἴτε ἀπών, but here following on both. Meyer tries to meet this by understanding ἀκούσω in the former case, ‘hear from your own mouth:’ but obviously, ἰδών is the real correlative to ἀκούσω, only constructed in a loose manner: the full construction would be something of this kind, ἵνα, εἴτε ἐλθὼν κ. ἰδὼν ὑμᾶς εἴτε ἀπὼν κ. ἀκούσας τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν, γνῶ ὅτι στήκετε. Then τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν, ὅτι στήκετε is another irregular construction—the article generalizing that which the ὅτι particularizes, as in οἶδά σε, τίς εἶ, and the like.

ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι] refers to the unity of spirit in which the various members of the church would be fused and blended in the case of perfect unity: but when Meyer and De W. deny that the Holy Spirit is meant, they forget that this one spirit of Christians united for their common faith would of necessity be the Spirit of God which penetrates and inspires them: cf. Ephesians 4:3-4. Then, as this Spirit is the highest principle in us,—he includes also the lower portion, the animal soul;

μιᾷ ψυχῇ συναθλοῦντες] These words must be taken together, not ψυχῇ taken with στήκετε as in apposition with πνεύματι (Chr., Thl., all.), which would leave συναθλ. without any modal qualification. The ψυχή, receiving on the one hand influence from the spirit, on the other impressions from the outer world, is the sphere of the affections and moral energies, and thus is that in and by which the exertion here spoken of would take place. συναθλοῦντες either with one another (so Chr., Thdrt., Thl., Œc., all., De W., al.), or with me (so Erasm., Luth., Beza, Bengel, al., Meyer). The former is I think preferable, both on account of the ἑνὶ πν. and μιᾷ ψυχῇ, which naturally prepare the mind for an united effort, and because his own share in the contest which comes in as a new element in Philippians 1:30, and which Meyer adduces as a reason for his view, seems to me, on that view, superfluous; ἐμοί after συναθλοῦτες (cf. ch. Philippians 4:3) would have expressed the whole. I would render then as E. V., striving together. τῇ πίστει is a ‘dativus commodi’—for the faith, cf. Jude 1:3—not, as Erasm. Paraphr., ‘with the faith,’ ‘adjuvantes decertantem adversus impios evangelii fidem:’ for such a personification of πίστις would be without example: nor is it a dative of the instrument (Beza, Calv., Grot., al.), which we have already had in ψυχῇ, and which could hardly be with τοῦ εὐαγ. added.

Verse 27


Verse 28

28.] πτύρω, akin to πτοέω, πτώσσω, πτήσσω, to frighten, especially said of animals (ref.), but often also used figuratively, e.g. by Plato, Axioch. p. 370 A, οὐκ ἄν ποτε πτυρείης τὸν θάνατον: Ps-Clem. Hom. ii. 39, p. 71, πτύραντες τοὺς ἀμαθεῖς ὄχλους.

ἐν μηδενί] in nothing, see on Philippians 1:20.

The ἀντικείμενοι, from the comparison which follows with his own conflict, and the ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πάσχειν, must be the adversaries of the faith, whether Jews or Gentiles, cf. 1 Corinthians 16:9.

ἥτις, viz. τὸ ὑμᾶς μὴ πτύρεσθαι, fem., on account of ἔνδειξις, following: see a similar ἥτις, Ephesians 3:13.

ἔνδ. ἀπωλ., because it will shew that all their arts are of no avail against your union and firmness and hopefulness: and thus their own ruin (spiritual, as the whole matter is spiritual), in hopelessly contending against you, is pointed out, not perhaps to themselves as perceiving it, but to themselves if they choose to perceive it.

ὑμῶν δὲ σω.] but (is a sign) of your (see var. readd.) salvation (spiritual again: not merely, rescue and safety from them), and this (viz. the sign, to them of perdition, to you of your salvation: not to be referred to σωτηρίας, nor merely to ὑμῶν δὲ σωτ. (Calv., al.), nor to both ἀπωλ. and σωτ., nor to the following sentence (Clem. Alex. (Strom. iv. 13, vol. i. p. 604 P.), Chrys., Thdrt., al.), but simply to ἔνδειξις: the sign is one from God) from God,—because (proof that the sign is from God, in that He has granted to you the double proof of His favour, not only, &c.) to you (first emphasis) it was granted (second emphasis—‘gratiæ munus, signum salutis (?) est.’ Beng. The aorist refers to the fact in the dealings of God regarded as a historical whole), on behalf of Christ (the Apostle seems to have intended immediately to add πάσχειν, but, the οὐ μόνον κ. τ. λ. coming between, he drops τὸ ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ for the present, and takes it up again by and by with ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ. The rendering of τὸ ὑπ. χ., absolute, ‘to you it is given in the behalf of Christ’ (E. V.), ‘quod attinet ad Christi causam,’ is manifestly wrong), not only to believe on Him, but also on his behalf to suffer,

Verse 30

30.] having (the nominative instead of the dative, the subjective ὑμεῖς being before the Apostle’s mind: so Ephesians 4:2,—Thuc. iii. 36, ἔδοξεν αὐτοῖςἐπικαλοῦντες: ib. vi. 24, καὶ ἔρως ἐνέπεσε πᾶσινεὐέλπιδες ὄντες: Sallust, Jug. 112, ‘populo Romano melius visum … rati:’ see other examples in Kühner, ii. p. 377. This is far better than with Lachm., al., to parenthesize ἥτιςπάσχειν, which unnecessarily breaks the flow of the sentence) the same conflict (one in its nature and object) as ye saw (viz. when I was with you, Acts 16:16 ff.) in me (in my case as its example), and now hear of in me ( ἐν ἐμοί, as before, not ‘de me.’ He means, by report of others, and by this Epistle).


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Philippians 1:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

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