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Bible Commentaries
Philippians 3

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verses 1-21

III 1-21— Practically the whole of this chapter is directed against the Jews and Judalzers, but for the most part rather in the calm spirit of Rom than in the heat of Gal; the danger of Judaizing does not seem to be a pressing one, nor do the Jews seem to have been numerous at Philippi. ’Their numbers at Philippi appear to have been very scanty’ (Lightfoot, 52).

1. Paul himself is joyful, 4:10, and is eager that the Philippians should be so likewise, 4:4. Very likely he had written to them before, and with the same exhortation.

2. ’Look at those dogs’: a term of contempt. ’evil workers’, more especially as practising and inculcating circumcision. ’concision’, a play on the word ’circumcision’, with the implication that it has now become mere mutilation.

3. The true circumcision is now of heart and soul; cf.Acts 7:51.4. Even from their own point of view there is more to be said for Paul than for them.

5. ’a Hebrew born of Hebrews, in observance of the Law a Pharisee, 6, in zeal a persecutor of the Church.

8. ’by reason of the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus’, i.e. in comparison with such knowledge.

9-10. For this unity and utter fulfilment of the Christian in Christ, and of Christ in the Christian, see Eph and Col; for justness, not from the Law, but from God, based upon faith, see Rom and Gal.

12. ’Not that I have already secured this, or am already made perfect; rather I press on, in the hope that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus hath laid hold of me’.

14. ’to gain the reward of God’s heavenly call,i.e. held out by the call.

15. ’as are mature’ in the faith, understanding its implications etc.; cf.1 Corinthians 2:6 (’among the mature’).

16. ’Nevertheless whereunto we are come, by that same let us walk’, i.e. whatever truth we have attained, let us order our lives by that. What is added in Vg does not belong to the original text.

17. ’Unite in imitating me’.

18. ’many’, i.e. Jews and Judaizers; but the general impression one gets is that relatively they are not very numerous or important at Philippi itself, though always a dangerous element for the Christian communities. ’enemies of the cross of Christ’ in several ways, not understanding that thereby Christ had taken wholly upon himself the curse attaching to the non-observance of the Law by Jews, Galatians 3:13, as well as atoning for all the sins of mankind etc.

19. ’whose God is their belly’: this has nothing to do with greediness, but refers to their insisting on the distinction between clean and unclean foods, now obsolete; cf.Romans 14:14; Romans 16:18. ’whose glory is in their shame’, i.e. in their shameful parts, their circumcision, also now obsolete.

20. ’our citizenship’ or ’country’, for which, 21, our Saviour will glorify our bodies, making them like to his own glorious Body; cf. 1 Cor 15.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on Philippians 3". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/philippians-3.html. 1951.
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