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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Philippians 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Philippians 4:1. ὥστε. It seems better to regard this as drawing the conclusion from Philippians 3:17-21 than to refer it to the whole of the discussion in chap. 3.— στέφ. μ. Cf. the combination in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, τίς γὰρ ἡμῶν ἐλπὶς χαρὰ στέφανος καυχήσεως; the meaning is best seen from chap. Philippians 2:16. He is thinking of the “day of Christ”. His loyal Christian converts will then be his garland of victory, the clear proof that he has not run in vain. Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Sirach 6:31. στεφανόω often means “to reward,” see Dsm(13)., BS(14)., p. 261.— οὕτω. That is, according to the type which has been described in chap. Philippians 3:17 ff.— στήκετε is a word of late coinage, belonging to the colloquial language, and leaving as its survival the modern Greek στέκω. Often found in N.T.


Verses 1-3

Philippians 4:1-3. COUNSELS TO INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH.


Verse 2

Philippians 4:2. εὐοδ. κ. τ. λ. This direct reference to a difference of opinion between two women of prominence in the Philippian Church is probably the best comment we have on the slight dissensions which are here and there hinted at throughout the Epistle. For, as Schinz aptly puts it (op. cit., p. 37), “in such a pure Church, even slight bickerings would make a great impression”. We find no trace of the cause. It may have turned on the question discussed in chap. Philippians 3:15-16. It may have been accidental friction between two energetic Christian women. But from the whole tone of the Epistle it cannot have gone far. Six Christian bishops named εὐόδιος are mentioned in the Dict. of Christ. Biogr. The feminine name is also found in Inscrr(15).— συντύχη. The name occurs both in Greek and Latin Inscrr(16)., as well as in the Acta Sanctorum (v., 225). Curiously enough, there is no masculine name precisely corresponding to be found except the form Sintichus (C.I.L., xii., no. 4703, from Narbo in Gaul. The Inscr. quoted by Lft(17). is spurious). On the correct accentuation see the elaborate note in W-Sch(18)., p. 71. Lft(19). has collected valuable evidence to show the superior position occupied by women in Macedonia. See his Philippians, p. 56, notes 2, 3, where he quotes Inscrr(20)., in some of which a metronymic takes the place of the patronymic, while others record monuments erected in honour of women by public bodies. We may add, from Heuzey, Voyage Archéol., p. 423, an Inscr. of Larissa, where a woman’s name occurs among the winners in the horse-races (see Introduction). For the prominence of women generally in the Pauline Churches, Cf. Romans 16 passim, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. The repetition of παρακαλῶ perhaps hints that Paul wishes to treat each of them alike. [Hitzig, Zur Kritik Paulin. Brr., p. 5 ff., exemplifies the pitch of absurdity which N.T. critics reached in a former generation, by supposing that these names represent two heathen-Christian parties, the one Greek, the other Roman.]


Verse 3

Philippians 4:3. ναί must certainly be read with all trustworthy authorities. Exactly parallel is Philm. 20. Cf. Soph., Elect., 1445, σὲ κρίνω, ναὶ σέ.— ἐρωτῶ is common in N.T. = “beseech,” e.g., Luke 14:18. It is not so found in LXX, and this sense is very rare in late writers.— γνήσιε ς. is to be read with the great mass of authorities. We believe that W.H. are right in their marginal reading of σύνζυγε as a proper name. This would harmonise with the other names mentioned. And the epithet γν. increases the probability. He requests Syzygus (lit. = joiner together) to help Euodia and Syntyche to make up their differences. “I beseech thee, who art a genuine Syzygus (in deed as well as in name) to help,” etc. (so also Myr(21)., Kl(22)., Weizs.). See esp(23). an excellent discussion by Laurent, N.T. Studien, pp. 134–137. The fact that this name has not been found in books, Inscrr(24)., etc., is no argument against its existence. Zygos is found as a Jewish name (quoted by Zunz). Similar compounds such as συμφέρων, συμφέρουσα occur. Perhaps all the above names were given to them after Baptism. Lft(25). and others refer σύνζ. to Epaphroditus. Chr(26). thinks of the husband of one of the women addressed. Wieseler (Chronol., p. 458) actually refers it to Christ.— συλλ. Paul’s friend is plainly a man of tact who can do much to bring the Christian women now at variance together again. Holst, thinks, and perhaps with some reason, that the use of συλλαμβ. implies that Euodia and Syntyche were already trying to lay aside their differences.— αἵτινες. “Inasmuch as they laboured with me.” Their former services to the Gospel are a reason why they should receive every encouragement to a better state of mind. Cf. Acts 16:13.— μετὰ καὶ κλ. An unusual position for καὶ although found in Pindar, Dionys. Halicarn., Aelian, and, above all, in Josephus, who delights in this construction (see Schmidt, De Elocut. Jos., p. 16; Schmid, Atticismus, iii., p. 337). These words must be taken with συνήθλ. He wishes to remind his Christian friend at Philippi of the noble company to which the women had belonged, a company held in the highest esteem in the Philippian Church. κλήμης must have been some disciple at Philippi, unknown to Church history like the others mentioned here. It is nothing short of absurd (with Gw(27).) to make this Clement the celebrated bishop of Rome. See esp(28). Salmon, Dict. of Chr(29). Biog., i., p. 555. The same form in - ης, - εντος is seen in κρήσκης, πούδης (2 Timothy 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:21).— ὧν τὰ ὀν. ἐν βίβ. ζ. Perhaps the phrase implies that they had passed away. The Apostle almost seems to foresee the obscurity which will hang over many a devoted fellow-labourer of his. But their names have a glory greater than that of historical renown. They are in the βίβλος ζωῆς. The idea is common in O.T. Cf. Exodus 32:32, Psalms 69:29, Daniel 12:1. See also Apocal. of Bar., xxiv., 1; Henoch, xlvii., 3; 4 Ezra 14:35 and, in N.T., Revelation 3:5. Good discussions of the subject will be found in Weber, Lehren d. Talmud, pp. 233, 276; Schürer, ii., 2, p. 182.


Verse 4

Philippians 4:4. χαίρετε expresses the predominant mood of the Epistle, a mood wonderfully characteristic of Paul’s closing years.— πάλιν. “He doubles it to take away the scruple of those that might say, what, shall we rejoice in afflictions?” (G. Herbert).— ἐρῶ. The future of this verb is probably used here, as apparently often in late Greek, for the present.


Verses 4-9

Philippians 4:4-9. GENERAL EXHORTATIONS ON THE RIGHT SPIRIT AND THE RIGHT CONDUCT OF LIFE.


Verse 5

Philippians 4:5. τ. ἐπιεικ. “Reasonableness.” Matthew Arnold finds in this a preeminent feature in the character of Jesus and designates it “sweet reasonableness” (see Literature and Dogma, pp. 66, 138). The trait could not be more vividly delineated than in the words of W. Pater (Marius the Epicurean, ii., p. 120), describing the spirit of the new Christian society as it appeared to a pagan. “As if by way of a due recognition of some immeasurable Divine condescension manifest in a certain historic fact, its influence was felt more especially at those points which demanded some sacrifice of one’s self, for the weak, for the aged, for little children, and even for the dead. And then, for its constant outward token, its significant manner or index, it issued in a certain debonair grace, and a certain mystic attractiveness, a courtesy, which made Marius doubt whether that famed Greek blitheness or gaiety or grace in the handling of life had been, after all, an unrivalled success.” A definition is given by Aristot., Eth. Nic., 5, 10, 3, τὸ ἐπιεικὲς δίκαιον μέν ἐστιν, οὐ τὸ κατὰ νόμον δέ, ἀλλʼ ἐπανόρθωμα νομίμου δικαίου, where the point is that it means a yielding up of certain real rights. This spirit, in the Christian life, is due to those higher claims of love which Christ has set in the forefront. Cf. 2 Corinthians 10:1, Titus 3:2. Their joy (Philippians 4:4) really depends on this “reasonableness” having as wide a scope as possible. It is he who shows forbearance and graciousness all round ( γνωσθ. πᾶσιν ἀνθ.) who can preserve an undisturbed heart. In Ps. Song of Solomon 5:14 God is called χρηστὸς καὶ ἐπιεικής.— κ. ἐγγύς. Quite evidently Paul expects a speedy return of Christ. It was natural in the beginning of the Church’s history, before men had a large enough perspective in which to discern the tardy processes of the Kingdom of God. Cf. chap. Philippians 3:21. This solemn fact which governs the whole of Paul’s thinking, and has especially moulded his ethical teaching, readily suggests “reasonableness”. The Lord, the Judge, is at the door. Leave all wrongs for Him to adjust. Forbear all wrath and retaliation (Cf. Romans 12:19 ff.). But further, in view of such a prospect, earthly bickerings and wranglings are utterly trivial. Cf. 1 John 2:28, “Abide in Him, so that if He be manifested, we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” A close parallel is James 5:8.


Verse 6

Philippians 4:6. μ. μερ. “In nothing be anxious.” μερ. is not common in earlier prose. It is used repeatedly in LXX of anxiety (a) approaching dread as Psalms 37:19, (b) producing displeasure as Ezekiel 16:42, (c) of a general kind as 1 Chronicles 17:9. For the thought Cf. 4 Ezra 2:27 : Noli satagere, cum venerit enim dies pressurae et angustiae … tu autem hilaris et copiosa eris. See the note on chap. Philippians 2:20 supr.προσευ. κ. τ. δεής. προσευχή emphasises prayer as an act of worship or devotion; δεήσις is the cry of personal need. See on chap. Philippians 1:4 supr. Curare et orare plus inter se pugnant quam aqua et ignis (Beng.).— μετὰ εὐχ. The word is rarely found in secular Greek (e.g., Hippocr., Polyb., Diod.; see Rutherford, New Phrynichus, p. 69), or LXX. Paul uses it twelve times, but only twice with the article. Does not this imply that he takes for granted that thanksgiving is the background, the predominant tone of the Christian life? To pray in any other spirit is to clip the wings of prayer.— αἴτημα is found three times in N.T. It emphasises the object asked for (see an important discussion by Ezra Abbot in N. Amer. Review, 1872, p. 171 ff.). “Prayer is a wish referred to God, and the possibility of such reference, save in matters of mere indifference, is the test of the purity of the wish” (Green, Two Sermons, p. 44).— πρὸς τ. θεόν. “In the presence of God.” A delicate and suggestive way of hinting that God’s presence is always there, that it is the atmosphere surrounding them. Anxious foreboding is out of place in a Father’s presence. Requests are always in place with Him. With this phrase Cf. Romans 16:26.


Verse 7

Philippians 4:7. Hpt(30). would put no stop at the close of Philippians 4:6. Whether there be a stop or not, this verse is manifestly a kind of apodosis to the preceding. “If you make your requests, etc., … then the peace … shall guard,” etc. εἰρ. τ. θ. Paul’s favourite thought of that health and harmonious relation which prevail in the inner life as the result of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. Cf. Matthew 11:28. It would be an undue restriction of his thought to imagine that he only refers to agreement between members of the Church, although, no doubt, that idea is here included. “This peace is like some magic mirror, by the dimness growing on which we may discern the breath of an unclean spirit that would work us ill” (Rendel Harris, Memoranda Sacra, p. 130; the quotation skilfully catches the spiritual conception before Paul’s mind). To share anxiety with God is to destroy its corroding power and to be calmed by His peace. Peace is used as a name of God in the Talmud (see Taylor, Jewish Fathers, pp. 25–26).— ὑπερέχ. πάντα νοῦν. “Which surpasses every thought, all our conception.” (So also Chr(31)., Erasm., Weizs., Moule, Von Soden, etc.). This meaning seems inevitable from the parallel in Ephesians 3:20, τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑπὲρ πάντα ποιῆσαι ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ ὧν αἰτούμεθα νοοῦμεν, and Cf. Philippians 4:19, τὴν ὑπερβάλλουσαν τῆς γνώσεως ἀγάπην τοῦ χ. Space forbids the enumeration of the many interpretations given. Wordsworth (Prelude, Bk. 14) defines this peace as “repose in moral judgments”.— νοῦνκαρδίαςνοήματα. νοῦς, very much what we call “reason,” in Paul’s view, belongs to the life of the σάρξ. It is the highest power in that life, and affords, as it were, the material on which the Divine πνεῦμα can work. It remains in those who possess the πνεῦμα as that part of the inner man which is exposed to earthly influences and relations. (See an admirable note in Ws(32).) καρδία is “a more undefined concept, side by side with νοῦς” (so Lüdemann, Anthropol., p. 16 ff.). It has to do not merely with feelings but with will. νοήματα are products of the νοῦς, thoughts or purposes. Paul would probably regard them as being contained in the καρδία. The word is found five times in 2 Cor. and nowhere else in N.T.— φρουρήσει. A close parallel is 1 Peter 1:5, τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ φρουρουμένους διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν. Hicks (Class. Review, i., pp. 7–8) presses the figure of a garrison keeping ward over a town, and observes that one of the most important elements in the history of the Hellenistic period was the garrisoning of the cities both in Greece and Asia Minor by the successors of Alexander the Great. Cf. Galatians 3:23. The peace of God is the garrison of the soul in all the experiences of its life, defending it from the external assaults of temptation or anxiety, and disciplining all lawless desires and imaginations within, that war against its higher purposes.— ἐν χ. . Christ Jesus is the sure refuge and the atmosphere of security.


Verse 8

Philippians 4:8. The thought of this paragraph (Philippians 4:8-9) is closely connected with that of the preceding by the resumption of the phrase εἰρήνη τ. θ. (Philippians 4:7) in a new form θ. τῆς εἰρήνης (Philippians 4:9). The peace of God will be the guardian of their thoughts and imaginations, only they must do their part in bending their minds to worthy objects. Lft(33). and Ws(34). have elaborate classifications of Paul’s list of moral excellences. It is not probable, in the circumstances, that any such was before the Apostle’s mind.— τὸ λοιπόν is probably used to show that he is hastening to a close. See on chap. Philippians 3:1 supr. Beyschl. well remarks on the “inexhaustibility” of the Christian moral ideal which is here presented. It embraces practically all that was of value in ancient ethics.— ἀληθῆ and δίκαια express the very foundations of moral life. If truth and righteousness are lacking, there is nothing to hold moral qualities together.— σεμνά. “Reverend.” The due appreciation of such things produces what M. Arnold would call “a noble seriousness” (so also Vinc.).— προσφιλῆ. Our “lovely” in its original force gives the exact meaning, “those things whose grace attracts”. The idea seems to be esp(35). applied to personal bearing towards others. See Sirach 4:7, προσφιλῆ συναγωγῇ σεαυτὸν ποιεῖ; Sirach 20:13, σοφὸς ἐν λόγῳ ἑαυτὸν προσφιλῆ ποιήσει. Cf. W. Pater’s description of the Church in the second century: “She had set up for herself the ideal of spiritual development under the guidance of an instinct by which, in those serious moments, she was absolutely true to the peaceful soul of her Founder. ‘Goodwill to men,’ she said, in whom God Himself is well-pleased.’ For a little while at least there was no forced opposition between the soul and the body, the world and the spirit, and the grace of graciousness itself was pre-eminently with the people of Christ” (Marius, ii., p. 132).— εὔφημα. Exactly = our “high-toned”. (So also Ell(36).) “Was einen guten Klang hat” (Lips(37).). It is an extremely rare word.— εἴ τ. ἀρετ. κ. τ. λ. “Whatever excellence there be or fit object of praise.” The suggestion of Lft(38)., “Whatever value may exist in (heathen) virtue,” etc., goes slightly beyond the natural sense, from the reader’s point of view. Cf. Sayings of Jew. Fathers, chap. ii., 1, “Rabbi said, which is the right course that a man should choose for himself? Whatsoever is a pride to him that pursues it and brings him honour from men.” On the important range of meanings belonging to ἀρετή, see Dsm(39)., BS(40)., p. 90 ff.— ἔπαινος, as Hort (on 1 Peter 1:7) points out, corresponds exactly to ἀρετή and implies it, including in itself the idea of moral approbation. He observes that it refers chiefly to “the inward disposition to acts as actions” (see the whole valuable note).— τ. λογίζ. “Make them the subject of careful reflection.” Meditatio … praecedit: deinde sequitur opus (Calv.).


Verse 9

Philippians 4:9. It is hardly possible, with Ell(41)., to refer καὶ κ. τ. λ. immediately to the preceding, without forcing the construction.— ἐμάθ. κ. παρελ. plainly refer to the definite Christian teaching he had set himself to give them. παραλαμβάνω is used regularly of “receiving” truth from a teacher.— ἠκ. κ. εἴδ. ἐν . This is the impression made upon them by his Christian character, apart from any conscious effort on his part. Cf. chap. Philippians 3:17.— θ. τ. εἰρ. See on Philippians 4:8 (ad init.). It is quite possible that he has partly in view the disregard of these ethical qualities as threatening the harmony of the Church, and as, so far, to blame for the divisions already existing.


Verse 10

Philippians 4:10. δέ marks the turning of Paul’s thoughts to a different subject, or, as Lft(42). admirably expresses it, “arrests a subject which is in danger of escaping”. He has not, up till now, expressly thanked them for their generous gift which was, in all likelihood, the occasion of this letter. The very fact of his accepting a present from them showed his confidence in their affection. This was indeed his right, but he seldom laid claim to it. No doubt the delicacy of his language here is due (so also Hilgenfeld, ZwTh., xx., 2, pp. 183–184) to the base slanders uttered against him at Corinth and in Macedonia (1 Thessalonians 2:5), as making the Gospel a means of livelihood (see 1 Corinthians 9:3-18, 2 Corinthians 11:8-9, Galatians 6:6, and Schûrer, ii., 1, pp. 318–319).— ἤδη ποτέ. An expressive combination = “already once more” (precisely = schon wieder einmal, which has a force corresponding to that of the Greek, which cannot be reproduced in English, that of the unexpected nature of the gift. So Ws(43).).— ἀνεθάλετε. The verb is very rare in secular Greek, while occurring nine times in LXX. This older aorist form takes the place of the more regular one five times in LXX. It is only found in the Bible. (See W-Sch(44)., p. 110; Lobeck, Paralipomena, p. 557.) The verb is used both transitively and intransitively. Here it is probably transitive, as in Ezekiel 17:24 and three other places in LXX (so De W., Ws(45)., Lft(46)., Holst., Lips(47)., etc.). In that case τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν is the accusative governed by it. “You let your care for me blossom into activity again.” Myr(48). thinks it inconsistent with the delicacy of Paul’s tone in this passage to take it as transitive. But Paul expressly guards against hurting their feelings by correcting, as it were, his statement by the next clause in which he asserts, “You did truly care”. This construction seems much more natural than to take τὸ ὑπ. . φρ. as an accusative of the inner object (so Myr(49)., Gw(50)., Hpt(51)., Eadie). Moule, probably with justice, remarks that “the phrase is touched with a smile of gentle pleasantry” (Philippian Studies, p. 245).— ἐφʼ . The most various interpretations have been given. Some refer to the whole phrase preceding. Some make ἀναθάλλειν the antecedent. Ell(52). renders, “with a view to which” (probably “my interests”; so also Gw(53)., Beet); Lft(54). “in which” (taking it generally); Hfm(55). = ἐπὶ τούτῳ ὅτι. The simplest explanation is to regard ἐμοῦ as antecedent (so also Calv., Vaughan). “About whom (lit. = in whose case) you certainly did care, were anxious, but you had no opportunity of showing your care in a practical fashion.” ἐπί as contrasted with ὑπέρ preceding would express a more indefinite relation to Paul. They were always, as he well knew, thoroughly interested in him. The definite relation is connected with the actual bestowing of the gift.— ἠκαιρεῖσθε. Lidd. and Scott quote one instance of the simple verb ἀκαιρέω. It is not certain whether he refers here to lack of means or the want of opportunity to send a gift. The imperfects show the habitual state of their feelings towards Paul.


Verses 10-14

Philippians 4:10-14. DELICATE EXPRESSION OF THANKS FOR THEIR GIFT.


Verse 11

Philippians 4:11. The form of Philippians 4:11-13, from ἐγὼ γάρ, is strophic. ἐγὼεἶναι gives the “theme”. Philippians 4:13 marks the close. The thought is worked out between. See J. Weiss, Beitr., p. 29.— οὐχ ὅτι. See on chap. Philippians 3:12 supr.καθʼ ὑστέρησιν. “As regards want.” κατὰ has the same sense as in the phrase τὰ κατʼ ἐμέ.— ἐγώ emphasises his own position in a tone of calm independence of circumstances.— ἐν οἷς εἰμί. Taken by itself, the phrase might well mean, “in my present circumstances”. But in view of the following verses it seems better to make it general = “in the circumstances in which I am placed at any moment”. For exx. of the phrase see Kypke and Wetst. ad loc.ἔμαθον must be translated into English as a perfect, “I have learned”. But the Greek has a true aorist force: it sums up his experiences to the moment of writing and regards them as a whole.— αὐτάρκης is admirably illustrated by Plat., Repub., 369 B, οὐκ αὐτάρκης, ἀλλὰ πολλῶν ἐνδεής. “Dr. Johnson talked with approbation of one who had attained to the state of the philosophical wise man, that is, to have no want of anything. ‘Then, sir,’ said I, ‘the savage is a wise man.’ ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘I do not mean simply being without,—but not having a want’ ” (Boswell’s Johnson, p. 351, Globe ed.).


Verse 12

Philippians 4:12. οἶδα κ. τ. λ. καί must be read with all good authorities. The one καί must be correlative to the other, unless he intended to continue the sentence without the second οἶδα (see an excellent note on καί in N.T. in Ell(56). ad loc. He defines somewhat too minutely). Examples of the infinitive after οἶδα are to be found in classical Greek.— ταπειν. The best comment on this is 2 Corinthians 11:7, ἐμαυτὸν ταπεινῶν ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑψωθῆτε. There it means, “keeping myself low” (in respect of the needs of daily life). Moule aptly quotes Diod., i., 36 (speaking of the Nile), καθʼ ἡμέρανταπεινοῦται = “runs low”.— ἐν παντ. κ. ἐν π. A vague, general phrase = “in all circumstances of life”. It has no immediate connexion with μεμύημαι (Cf. a similar expression τῷ παντί in Xen., Hell., 7, 5, 12, and τοῖς or πᾶσιν in Thucyd., Soph., etc.).— μεμύημαι. The verb was originally used of one initiated into the Mysteries. It came (like our own “initiated”) to lose its technical sense. But the word probably implies a difficult process to be gone through. Cf. Psalms 25:14 : “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant” (Vaughan), and Wisdom of Solomon 8:4, μύστις γάρ ἐστιν τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπιστήμης. In later ecclesiastical usage μεμυημένος = a baptised Christian (an instructive hint as to the growth of dogma). See Anrich, Das Antike Mysterienwesen, p. 158. μεμύ. goes closely with the infinitives following. Cf. Alciphron, 2, 4 ad fin., κυβερνᾶν μυηθήσομαι.— χορτάζεσθαι is a strong word, used originally of the feeding of animals, which gradually became colourless in the colloquial language (see Sources of N.T. Greek, p. 82).— πεινᾶν should be written without iota subscript. It is contracted here with α as usually in later Greek. See Phrynichus (ed. Lobeck), 61, 204. So always in LXX.— ὑστερεῖσθαι has the rare meaning “to be in want” (absol.), or rather (in middle), “to feel want”. Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:9, and esp(57). Sirach 11:11, ἔστιν κοπῶν καὶ πονῶν καὶ σπεύδων, καὶ τόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑστερεῖται.


Verse 13

Philippians 4:13. π. ισχ. It is difficult to decide whether π. is accusative or merely adverbial. Cf. James 5:16 (where apparently ἰσχύει has the accusative), and Wisdom of Solomon 16:20, ἄρτονἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ ἔπεμψαςπᾶσαν ἡδονὴν ἰσχύοντα. For the other alternative see Hom., Odyss., 8, 214.— ἐνδυν. Cf. Ephesians 6:10, ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ; Jud. 6:34 (cod. A), πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἐνεδυνάμωσεν τὸν γεδεών. It is a rare word. The adjective ἐνδύναμος, from which it springs, is only found in late Byzantine Greek. An apt parallel to the whole context is Ps. Sol. 16:12, ἑν τῷ ἐνισχῦσαί σε τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀρκέσει μοι τὸ δοθέν.— χριστῷ must be omitted. See crit. note supr.


Verse 14

Philippians 4:14. πλήν. See on chap. Philippians 3:16. “All the same, I rejoice in your kindness.”— καλῶς. Hort (on 1 Peter 2:12) points out that καλός “denotes that kind of goodness which is at once seen to be good”.— συνκ. (the preferable spelling). In classical usage (almost confined to Demosth.) this verb has the genitive of the thing in which a share is given. They had made common cause with his affliction (probably referring to his imprisonment). The bringing forward of μου emphasises their personal relation to the Apostle, which was apt to be obscured by the form of expression used.


Verse 15

Philippians 4:15. δέ marks the transition to his first experience of their generosity. “But this is no new thing, for you have always been generous. You know this as well as I do” ( καὶ ὑμεῖς).— φιλιππής. (A Latin form, see Ramsay, Journal of Theol. Studies, i., 1, p. 116.) He singles them out from all the other Churches.— ἐν ἀρχ. τ. εὐαγ. It is difficult to see (in spite of Haupt’s objections) how this could mean anything else than “at the time when the Gospel was first preached to you”. That had been about ten years previously. Cf. 1 Clem. 47, ἀναλάβετε τὴν ἐπιστολὴν τοῦ μακαρίου παύλου τοῦ ἀποστόλου· τί πρῶτον ὑμῖν ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἔγραψεν; probably this is the gift referred to in 2 Corinthians 11:9 (Cf. Acts 18:5). He refused to take any pecuniary aid at Corinth lest the Judaising teachers should make it a ground for false charges.— μοιἐκοινών. This use (in N.T.) is apparently confined to the Epistles. A precise parallel ( κοιν. with dative and εἰς) is found in Plat., Repub., v., 453 A.— εἰς λόγ. δ. κ. λ. Lit. = “No Church communicated with me so as to have an account of giving and receiving” (debit and credit). The whole of the context has a colouring of financial terms. Probably Paul uses them in a half-humorous manner. The combination of (58) δ. and λ. is frequent. Cf. Sirach 42:7, δόσις καὶ λῆμψις παντὶ ἐν γραφῇ, and in Latin authors, Cic., Lael., 16, ratio acceptorum et datorum. Numerous exx. are given by Wetst. Paul had bestowed on them priceless spiritual gifts. It was only squaring the account that he should receive material blessings from them. Their mutual relations are expressed by the Apostle very delicately, as throughout this paragraph. His manner here gives a luminous view of his refined sensibility.


Verses 15-19

Philippians 4:15-19. THEIR EARLIER AND LATER GENEROSITY AND ITS DIVINE REWARD.


Verse 16

Philippians 4:16. ὅτι κ. τ. λ. We are greatly inclined to take ὅτι here, as in Philippians 4:15, as dependent on οἴδατε. “Ye know … that at the beginning … that even in Thessalonica,” etc. Thessalonica was a city of far greater wealth and importance than Philippi. καί might, however, emphasise the fact that they began at once to support him.— ἁπαξ κ. δίς is probably to be taken literally. Cf. Deuteronomy 9:13, λελάληκα πρὸς σὲ ἄπαξ καὶ δίς; 1 Maccabees 3:30, εὐλαβήθη μὴ οὐκ ἔχει ὡς ἄπαξ καὶ δίς. It is interpreted in a more general sense by Lft(59). and Wohl(60).— εἰς τ. χρείαν. εἰς should be read with most of the best authorities. It is probably used here in a semi-technical meaning often found in Papyri (see Dsm(61)., BS(62)., pp. 113. 115; NBS(63)., p. 23) and also in Paul, e.g., 1 Corinthians 16:1, τῆς λογίας τῆς εἰς τοὺς ἁγίους; Romans 15:26, κοινωνίαν τινὰ ποιήσασθαι εἰς τοὺς πτωχούς. It describes the object of gifts, collections, etc., or the various items in an account which have to be met. This interpretation accords with the financial colouring of the passage.


Verse 17

Philippians 4:17. τὸ δόμα. It is not the actual gift put into Paul’s hands which has brought him joy, but the giving ( δόσις, Philippians 4:15) and the meaning of that giving. It is the truest index to the abiding reality of his work.— καρπὸνπλεονάζονταλόγον. We believe that Chr(64). is right in regarding these terms as belonging to the money-market. καρπὸς ἐκείνοις τίκτεται (Chr(65).). “Interest accumulating to your credit.” This is favoured by the language of Philippians 4:15-16 supr. πλεονάζειν is never used in a good sense in classical Greek, but always = “exceed,” “go beyond bounds”.


Verse 18

Philippians 4:18. ἀπέχω. The use of this word adds much force to the thought, when we bear in mind that it was the regular expression in the Papyri to denote the receipt of what was due, e.g., Faijûm Pap., Sept. 6, A.D. 57: ἀπέχω παρʼ ὑμῶν τὸν φόρον τοῦ ἐλα[ ι] ουργίου ὧν ἔχετε [ μο] υ ἐν μισθώσει. (Dsm(66)., NBS(67)., p. 56.) Chr(68). evidently knew this sense, for he says, “ ἔδειξεν ὅτι ὀφειλή ἐστιν τὸ πρᾶγμα· τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν, ἀπέχω”. Thus the prevailing tone of the whole context is maintained. The word is almost = “I give you a receipt for what you owed me”. The genial strain of humour is in no discord with his more serious thoughts.— περισσεύω. Cf. Sayings of Jew. Fathers, p. 64: “Who is rich? He that is contented with his lot.”— πεπλήρ. Classical Greek would hardly use the word in this personal sense. The closing words of the verse have underlying them the idea of sacrifice. A gift to an Apostle or spiritual teacher seems to have been regarded in the Early Church, like the gifts brought in the Eucharist, as an offering to God. The recipient is looked upon as the representative of God (see Sohm, Kirchenrecht, pp. 74 ff., 81 n.).— ὀσμ. εὐωδ. “A scent of sweet savour.”— θυσίαν δεκτ. “A technical term according to Sirach 32:9” (Hpt(69).).— εὐάρεστον. Cf. Romans 12:1 ff., which bears closely upon the whole passage.


Verse 19

Philippians 4:19. δὲ θεός κ. τ. λ. God’s treatment of them corresponds to their treatment of Paul. They had ministered to his χρεία. so that he could say πεπλήρωμαι. That was the side of the reckoning which stood to their credit. Here is the other side. “My God shall repay what has been done to me His servant for the Gospel’s sake. He, in turn, shall satisfy to the full ( πληρώσει) every need of yours.”— τὸ πλοῦτος must be read. See crit. note supr. So also in 2 Corinthians 8:2, Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8; Ephesians 3:16, Colossians 1:27; Colossians 2:2. But πλοῦτος in Ephesians 1:18, and repeatedly both in nominative, genitive and accusative singular. Modern Greek uses πλοῦτος, βίος, θρῆνος sometimes with , sometimes with τό. LXX generally has .— ἐν δόξῃ. The phrase is regarded by some (e.g., Beng., Ws(70)., Eadie, etc.) as = “in a lavish, magnificent way”. This is to strain the sense. It is much more natural, comparing Romans 8:21, Ephesians 1:18 ( τίς πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας), to think of it as the future Messianic glory which Paul believed to be so near (so Lft(71)., Kl(72)., etc.).


Verse 20

Philippians 4:20. Doxology. Doxologia fluit ex gaudio totius epistolae (Beng.). On the phrase τοὺς αἰῶνας τ. αἰώνων see the excellent note in Grimm-Thayer ad loc.


Verse 21

Philippians 4:21. Perhaps this last paragraph may have been written by the Apostle’s own hand (so Von Soden and Laurent, op. cit., p. 9). Cf. Galatians 6:11.— ἐν χ. . These words are to be taken in close connexion with ἀσπάσασθε. Cf. 1 Corinthians 16:19, ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς ἐν κυρίῳ πολλὰ ἀκύλας.— ἀδελφοί. Perhaps these were Roman Christians who aided Paul in his labours (see M‘Giffert, Ap. Age, p. 397). At least they would be included.


Verses 21-23

Philippians 4:21-23. GREETINGS AND BENEDICTION.


Verse 22

Philippians 4:22. μάλιστα. If by this time, as is probable (see Introduction), Paul had been removed from his lodging to one of the state prisons near the palace, it is plain that Christians of the Imperial household would have special opportunities of close intercourse with him.— οἱ ἐκ τῆς κ. οἰκίας. See esp(73). SH(74)., Romans, pp. 418–423, as supplementary to Lightfoot’s important discussion; and also, Riggenbach, Neue Jahrb. f. deutsche Th., 1892, pp. 498–525, Mommsen, Handbuch d. röm. Alterth., ii., 2 (ed. 3), pp. 833–839. SH(75). point out that a number of the names mentioned for salutation in Romans 16. occur in the Corpus of Latin Inscriptions as members of the Imperial household, which seems to have been one of the chief centres of the Christian community at Rome. In the first century A.D. most of the Emperor’s household servants came from the East. Under Claudius and Nero they were people of real importance. And we find, from history, that Christian slaves had great influence over their masters. See Friedländer, Sittengeschichte Roms, i., pp. 70 ff., 74, 110–112.


Verse 23

Philippians 4:23. Probably μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ought to be read with all the chief authorities instead of πάντων. Myr(76)., however, supposes that these words have been inserted from Galatians 6:18, to which he would also attribute ἡμῶν supr., which is probably spurious.

 


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

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Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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