Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Philippians 2

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

Philippians 2:1 . εἴ τις κ . τ . λ . “If exhortation in Christ, if the appeal of love, if fellowship in the spirit, if compassion and pity have any effect.” οὖν probably refers back to Philippians 1:27 . παράκλησις has the two senses of “exhortation” and “consolation”. But the whole context, supported by such passages as Ephesians 4:1 , 1 Corinthians 1:10 , is in favour of the former. No doubt the idea of encouragement and stimulus is implied. This is an exhortation in Christ. That itself must gain for it a favourable reception. παραμ . Only here in N.T. Once in LXX, Wis 3:18 . Almost equiv. to παρκλ ., but having a suggestion of tenderness involved. It springs from his love towards them. κοιν . πνεύματος . The community of believers is the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, is the unifying Principle of life. cf. 2 Corinthians 13:13 , ἡ κοινωνία τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος . As Gunkel well observes ( Wirkungen d. heil. Geistes bei Paulas 2 , p. 69 ff.), Paul rendered an unspeakable service to the Church by emphasising this conception. By so doing he saved the exuberant spiritual gifts of the Apostolic Age from degenerating into mere unnatural excitement. All these came to be estimated according to their value for the community of believers as a whole. τινα σπλάγχνα . There can be no doubt that an overwhelming weight of authority lies on the side of the reading τις . τινα is simply an emendation. How can τις be accounted for? We had hit upon the conjecture that originally τι may have stood in all the clauses. (So Euth. reads before παράκλησις .) It would be quite natural that from a slight misunderstanding of its meaning it should be changed into τις before παράκλ . and κοινωνία . The τι before σπλάγχνα (found in several minn., including 37) might easily assimilate the following σ . At this stage the type of text found in the leading uncials happened to arise. And so the error was stereotyped, although corrected later by Greek Fathers. Curiously enough this same conjecture has been made by Hpt [84] We do not overlook the difficulties involved, but allow it to stand for want of anything better. σπλάγχνα . See on Philippians 1:8 . He appeals to their pity.

[84] Haupt.

Verses 1-4


Verse 2

Philippians 2:2 . Semper in discordiis aperta est janua Satanae ad spargendas impias doctrinas, ad quas repellendas optima munitio est consensus (Calv.). πληρ .… ἵνα . The ἵνα clause seems exactly = Latin gerund. Cf. an infinitive used in the same way in Acts 15:10 , τί πειράζετε τὸν Θεὸν ἐπιθεῖναι κ . τ . λ ., also Polyc., Martyr. , x., 1 (quoted by Burton, MT [85] , p. 92). ἵνα is probably “hypotelic” as Ell [86] (on Ephesians 1:17 ) terms it, i.e. , “the subject of the wish is blended with and even (at times) obscures the purpose”. τὸ α . φρον . The general description of agreement which is analysed and defined in the succeeding clauses. Perhaps a common phrase in popular language. See Sepulchr. Inscr. (Rhodes, 2nd cent. B.C.), of a married couple, ταὐτὰ λέγοντες ταὐτὰ φρονοῦντες ἤλθομεν τὰν ἀμέτρητον ὁδὸν εἰς Ἀΐδαν (Dsm [87] , NBS [88] , p. 84). τ . αὐτ . ἀγ . The same feelings. σύμψ . The same point of view in their common interests. τὸ ἕν expresses the one concrete aim of their views, perhaps with special reference to the unity of the Church (so Lips [89] ). Minute distinctions, however, must not be forced, as there is doubtless here much of what Vaughan terms “the tautology of earnestness”.

[85] Moods and Tenses (Burton, Goodwin).

[86] Ellicott.

[87] Deissmann ( BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien ).

[88] Neue Bibelstudien

[89]ips. Lipsius.

Verse 3

Philippians 2:3 . μηδέν . Probably, sc. , φρονοῦντες , although no addition is necessary. This is the prevalent thought in the Apostle’s mind. ἐριθείαν . It is no wonder that Paul should warn against this danger, seeing it was one of his most grievous vexations at Rome. ἤ . Read with best authorities μηδὲ κατά (see crit. note). κενοδ . Only here in N.T. Three times in LXX. Combined with ἀλαζονεία and μεγαλαυχία . The boastful expression of pride. Egotism and boastfulness were apparently the perils besetting the Philippian Church. These were natural excrescences of the zealous spirit which pervaded this community. It is a strange phenomenon in religious history that intense earnestness so frequently breeds a spirit mingled of censoriousness and conceit. τῇ ταπεινοφρ . The construction seems exactly parallel to Romans 11:20 , τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ ἐξεκλάσθησαν = “on account of,” “by reason of”. Perhaps the article emphasises the generic idea (so Myr [90] ). ταπεινός with derivatives, used in classical writers to denote a mean condition of self-debasement, had been already exalted by Plato and his school to describe that state of mind which submits to the Divine order of the universe and does not impiously exalt itself. It underwent a further stage of development in Christian literature, when it came to signify the spirit which most resembles that of Christ Himself. See an instructive note in Moule ( CT [91] ad loc. ).

[90] Meyer.

[91] Cambridge Greek Testament .

Verse 4

Philippians 2:4 . The authorities are pretty evenly balanced in the case of the alternative readings ἕκαστος and ἕκαστοι (see crit. note). Probably edd. are right in preferring the latter, both on account of the variety of its witnesses and its aptness in the context. Besides, as the more difficult, it would be very liable to correction. σκοποῦντες has overwhelming authority in its favour. “No party having an eye for its own interests alone but also for those of the rest.” ἔκαστοι (frequent in this sense in classical Greek) = each group, each combination. ἑτέρων . Used with strict correctness as opposed to ἑαυτῶν . It often has a less strict usage in N.T. From the gentle way in which he deals with them, we cannot suppose that there was as yet any serious rent in the Philippian Church. Probably he has already in mind the party feeling roused by the disagreement between Euodia and Syntyche. The opinion of the Christian community was divided. This might, of course, lead to serious issues. He has already implored them to be of the same mind (Philippians 2:2 ). The way of reaching this harmony is unselfishness. “Paul’s ethic is at least as much a social as an individual ethic” (Hitzm., N.T. Th. , ii., 162. Instructive discussion).

Verse 5

Philippians 2:5 . γάρ ought probably to be rejected with the best group of MSS. φρονείσθω , as the harder reading, has much in its favour, but φρονεῖτε is far better attested, τοῦτο φρονεῖτε κ . τ . λ . The ordinary translation runs, “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. This means the supplying either of ἐφρονεῖτο ( ἐφρονήθη ) or ἦν in the latter half of the verse after ὅ . Certainly any past tense (passive) of φρονέω is not only very harsh, but, when analysed, yields no appropiate sense. ἦν is scarcely less harsh, for it would presuppose τοῦτο φρονεῖν (not τοῦτο alone) as the antecedent of ὅ . Deissmann (following Hfm [92] ) supplies φρονεῖτε ( cf. parallel construction in 2 Timothy 1:5 ), and translates, “Have this mind within your community (so also Hoelemann) which ye have also in Christ Jesus”. This keeps the local meaning with both occurrences of ἐν (for we have here the common Pauline phrase ἐν Χ . Ἰ . as the sphere of the Christian life). It gives a vivid force to καί . It gets rid of the apparently superfluous use of ἐν ὑμῖν after φρονεῖτε . And φρονεῖτε is, of course, the easiest word to supply. The sense is thoroughly apt. Christians then, as now, were often different in their ordinary dealings and relations from what they were in their strictly Christian life. The two spheres were at times kept distinct. Those who professed to have made great sacrifices for the sake of Christ might never dream of making even the slightest for a brother. The keenest zeal may be displayed in religious work, accompanied by singular laxity of principle in the common concerns of daily business and social intercourse. At first sight the interpretation, perhaps, repels by its unfamiliarity. But it appears less difficult than the other possible expositions. For Lft [93] and Vinc. practically ignore the difficulty, the former taking ἐφρονεῖτο = ὃ καὶ Χ . Ἰ . ἐφρόνει ἐν ἑαυτῷκ . But that begs the question. Kl [94] thinks it impossible to separate the two spheres. (See Dsm [95] , Das N.T. Formel , etc., p. 113 ff.; also Zahn, Luthardt’s Zeitschr. , 1885, p. 243, who quotes with approbation Victorinus ad loc., Hoc sentite in vobis quod sentitis in Christo. ) [O. Hain, SK [96] , 1893, pp. 169 171, following the same lines, takes the second φρονεῖτε = imperat. “As indeed ye must have in Christ Jesus.” This is difficult to arrive at.] ἐν ὑμῖν . Correct N.T. writers would usually employ ἑαυτοῖς . Classical authors use ὑμῖν αὐτοῖς .

[92] Hofmann.

[93] Lightfoot.

[94] Klöpper.

[95] Deissmann ( BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien ).

[96] Studien und Kritiken .

Verses 5-11

Philippians 2:5-11 . THE CONDESCENSION AND EXALTATION OF CHRIST. As to form, Philippians 2:5-10 appear to be constructed in carefully chosen groups of parallel clauses, having an impressive rhythm (see J. Weiss, Beitr. , pp. 28 29).

Verse 6

Philippians 2:6 . ὅς . The discussions as to whether this refers to the pre-existing or historical Christ seem scarcely relevant to Paul’s thought. For him his Lord’s career was one and undivided. To suggest that he did not conceive a pre-existence in heaven is to ignore the very foundations of his thinking. Probably he never speculated minutely on the nature of Christ’s pre-existent state, just as he refrains from doing so on the nature of the future life. He contents himself with general lines. The interpretation of the passage depends on the meaning assigned to (1) μορφή , (2) ἁρπαγμός , (3) τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ . In LXX μορφή denotes the form, appearance, look or likeness of some one, that by which those beholding him would judge him. See Job 4:16 , Daniel 5:6 and three other places, Wis 18:1 , 4Ma 15:4 . Plainly, from the context of these passages, the word had come, in later Greek, to receive a vague, general meaning, far removed from the accurate, metaphysical content which belonged to it in writers like Plato and Aristotle. It seems, therefore, to us of little value, with Lightfoot and Gifford ( op. cit. ), to discuss the relation of μορφή to terms such as οὐσία , φύσις and εἶδος in their philosophical refinements. It is far more probable that Paul uses μορφ . here “in a loose, popular sense, as we use ‘nature’ ” ( Guardian , Jan. 1 1896). He means, of course, in the strictest sense that the pre-existing Christ was Divine. For μ . always signifies a form which truly and fully expresses the being which underlies it. But in trying to reach a conception of the pre-existing nature of his Lord, he is content to think of Him as the εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ (Colossians 1:15 ), as sharing in that δόξα (on the close relation of μ . and δόξα see Nestle, SK (Studien und Kritiken ), 1893, pp. 173, 174) which is the manifestation of the Divine nature ( cf. John 17:5 , Hebrews 1:3 ), as possessing, that is to say, the same kind of existence as God possesses, without indulging in speculations on the metaphysical relationship of the Son to the Father. So in 2 Corinthians 8:9 (the closest parallel in thought to this) he describes the same condition by the words πλούσιος ὤν . And this reminds us of the point of emphasis, the unspeakable contrast between the heavenly and earthly states, the μ . Θεοῦ and the μ . δούλου . The Apostle’s mind is overpowered by the profound ethical meaning and value of the Humiliation. ὑπάρχων . Probably = “being constitutionally” (Evans on 1 Corinthians 11:7 ), “being by nature”. Cf. Liturgy of S. James (Hammond, Litt. , p. 45, quoted by Giff.), παιδίον γέγονεν ὁ πρὸ αἰώνων ὑπάρχων Θεὸς ἡμῶν . At the same time, in later Greek, it is often a mere copula. Cf. Gildersleeve on Justin M., Apol. , i., 2. This participle represents the imperfect as well as the present tense. So probably here. ἁρπαγμόν . In the absence of relevant evidence for this word, its precise significance must largely be determined by the context. Accordingly it must be discussed in close connection with τὸ εἶν . ἴσα Θ . “Did not consider τὸ ε . ἰ . Θ . as an ἁρπαγμός .” What is the relation of τὸ ε . ἰ . Θ . to μορφή ? The words mean “the being on an equality with God” (R.V.). It is surely needless to make any fine distinctions here, as Giff. does ( op. cit. , p. 242), between εἶναι ἴσος as = equality of nature and εἶναι ἴσα as pointing to “the state and circumstances which are separable from the essence and therefore variable or accidental,” or, with Lightfoot, to say that ἴσος would refer to the person, while ἴσα has in view the attributes. As a matter of fact the adverb ἴσα (neuter plural) is used in the most general sense, without any metaphysical subtleties, e.g. , Job 11:12 , ἄνθρωπος δὲ ἄλλως νήχεται λόγοις · βροτὸς δὲ γεννητὸς γυναικὸς ἴσα ὄνῳ ἐρημίτῃ ; Job 30:19 , ἥγησαι δέ με ἴσα πηλῷ , ἐν γῇ καὶ σποδῷ μου ἡ μερίς . cf. Thuc., iii., 14, ἴσα καὶ ἱκέται ἐσμέν ; Soph., Oed. R. , 1188, ὑμᾶς ἴσα καὶ τὸ μηδὲν ζώσας ἐναριθμῶ , and elsewhere. Thus no theological speculations can be based upon the word. Is τὸ ε . ἰ . Θ . equivalent to ἐν μ . Θ .? In spite of some Commemtators there is absolutely nothing in the text to justify the supposition. Plainly μορφή has reference to nature ; τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ to a relation. In fact it is only a particular rendering of ἁρπαγμός which suggested their equivalence. A more important question is whether τὸ ε . ἰ . Θ . was possessed by Christ in virtue of His being ἐν μορ . Θεοῦ . This will depend on the sense of ἁρπαγμός . It is generally admitted now that ἁρπαγμός may be regarded as = ἅρπαγμα . (See especially Zahn, Luthardt’s Zeitschr. , 1885, pp. 244 249.) Cf. θεσμός , lit. = “the laying down,” “ordaining” of a thing, which comes to mean “the thing laid down,” the ordinance or statute; ἱλασμός , lit. = a propitiating, appeasing, but usually the propitiatory offering, that by which propitiation is made (see Hatz., Einl . , p. 180). Myr . , Hfm . , Beet and others wish to keep the active meaning, and translate, “Did not consider the being on an equality with God as a means of robbing”. But it seems impossible to accept this sense when we have no hint of what is to be robbed. Lft . , Hpt . , Vinc. and others, regarding ἁρπαγμός as = ἅρπαγμα , translate, “Did not look upon His equality with God as a prize to be clutched”. That is to say, τὸ ε . ἰ . Θ . is something which He already possessed and resolved not to cling to. But will ἁρπαγμός admit of this meaning? We cannot find any passage where ἁρπάζω or any of its derivatives has the sense of “holding in possession,” “retaining”. It seems invariably to mean “seize,” “snatch violently” . Thus it is not permissible to glide from the true sense “grasp at” into one which is totally different, “hold fast”. Are we not obliged, then, to think of the ἁρπαγμός (= ἅρπαγμα ) as something still future, a res rapienda? Cf. Catena on Mark 10:41 ff. (quoted by Zahn), Jesus’ answer to the sons of Zebedee, οὐκ ἐστὶν ἁρπαγμὸς ἡ τιμή , “the honour is not one to be snatched”. Observe how aptly this view fits the context. In Philippians 2:10 , which is the climax of the whole passage, we read that God gave Jesus Christ as a gift ( ἐχαρίσατο ) the name above every name, i.e. , the name (including position, dignity and authority) of Κύριος , Lord, the name which represents the O.T. Jehovah. But this is the highest place Christ has reached. He has always (in Paul’s view) shared in the Divine nature ( μ . Θεοῦ ). But it is only as the result of His Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection and Exaltation that He appears to men as on an equality with God, that He is worshipped by them in the way in which Jehovah is worshipped. This position of Κύριος is the reward and crowning-point of the whole process of His voluntary Humiliation. It is the equivalent of that τελείωσις of which the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks. This perfection “He acquired as He successively seized the occasions which His vocation as author of salvation presented to Him, a process moving on the lines of His relations to mortal, sinful men” (Davidson, Hebrews , p. 208). Along the same lines He was raised to the dignity of Κύριος , which is a relation to mankind. (See on the relation of Christ as Κύριος to God, Somerville, op. cit. , pp. 140 142.) This equality with God, therefore, consists in the κυριότης , the Lordship to which He has been exalted. “He did not regard the being on an equality with God as a thing to be seized, violently snatched.” Cf. Heliodor., Ethiop. , vii., 20, οὐχ ἅρπαγμα οὐδὲ ἕρμαιον ἡγεῖται τὸ πρᾶγμα . He might have used the miraculous powers inherent in His Divine nature in such a way as to compel men, without further ado, to worship Him as God. Instead of that He was willing to attain this high dignity by the path of humiliation, suffering and death. Is not this interpretation strongly corroborated by the narrative of the Temptation? In that mysterious experience our Lord was tempted to reach τὸ εἶναι ἴσα Θεῷ in the way of ἁρπάζειν , forcing men out of sheer amazement to accept His claim and exalt Him as Lord. [Perhaps the curious negative expression οὐχ ἁρπαγμ . κ . τ . λ . has been suggested by a comparison with the first Adam who sought to reach “equality with God” by means of ἁρπάζειν .] It is to be noted that the increased glory which Paul and all the N.T. writers regard as pertaining to Christ after His Resurrection has only to do with His dignity, His “theocratic position,” not with His essential personality. ( Cf. Ménégoz, Le Péché et la Rédemption , p. 164.) He has simply become ἐν δυνάμει , that which He already was substantially. Cf. Romans 1:4 , τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει , κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης , ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν , Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν . Also Luke 24:26 . ἀλλʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε . Instead of appearing among men in the Divine μορφή and thus compelling them to render Him the homage which was His due, He “emptied Himself” of that Divine μορφή and took the μ . of a bondservant. The Apostle does not specify that of which He emptied Himself, as the stress is laid upon the “emptying,” but with μορ . δούλου λαβών added to explain what ἐκένωσε means, we are bound to conclude that he has in view its antithesis, μ . Θεοῦ . (So also Meyer, Hofman, Alford's Greek Testament, Haput, Bruce, Gore, etc. Fairbairn, Christ in Mod. Theol. , pp. 476 477, tries to show that Christ emptied Himself of the “physical attributes” of Deity while retaining the “ethical”. But does this lead us any nearer a solution of the mystery in the depths of the Son’s personality?)

Verses 6-11

Philippians 2:6-11 . In the discussion of this crux interpretum it is impossible, within our limits, to do more than give a brief outline of the chief legitimate interpretations, laying special emphasis on that which we prefer and giving our reasons. As regards literature, a good account of the older exegesis is given by Tholuck, Disputatio Christologica , pp. 2 10. Franke (in Meyer 5 ) gives a very full list of modern discussions. In addition to commentaries and the various works on Biblical Theology, the following discussions are specially important: Räbiger, De Christologia Paulina , pp. 76 85; R. Schmidt, Paulinische Christologie , p. 163 ff.; W. Grimm, Zw. Th [97] , xvi., 1, p. 33 ff.; Hilgenfeld, ibid. , xxvii., 4, p. 498 ff.; W. Weiffenbach, Zur Auslegung d. Stelle Phil. , ii. 5 11 (Karlsruhe, 1884); E. H. Gifford, Expositor , v., vol. 4, p. 161 ff., 241 ff. [since published separately]; Somerville, St. Paul’s Conception of Christ , p. 188 ff. It may be useful to note certain cautions which must be observed if the Apostle’s thought is to be truly grasped. ( a ) This is not a discussion in technical theology. Paul does not speculate on the great problems of the nature of Christ. The elaborate theories reared on this passage and designated “kenotic” would probably have surprised the Apostle. Paul is dealing with a question of practical ethics, the marvellous condescension and unselfishness of Christ, and he brings into view the several stages in this process as facts of history either presented to men’s experience or else inferred from it. [At the same time, as J. Weiss notes ( Th. LZ [98] , 1899, col. 263), the careful rhetorical structure of the passage (two strophes of four lines) shows that the thought has been patiently elaborated.] ( b ) It is beside the mark to apply the canons of philosophic terminology to the Apostle’s language. Much trouble would be saved if interpreters instead of minutely investigating the refinements of Greek metaphysics, on the assumption that they are present here, were to ask themselves, “What other terms could the Apostle have used to express his conceptions?” ( c ) It is futile to attempt to make Paul’s thought in this passage fit in with any definite and systematic scheme of Christology such as the “Heavenly Man,” etc. This only hampers interpretation.

[97] Zeitschr. f. wissenschaftl. Theologie .

[98] Theologische Literaturzeitung .

Verse 7

Philippians 2:7 . A question arises as to punctuation. W.H. punctuate as in the text. Calvin, Weiffenb. and Haupt would place a comma after γενόμ . and a colon after ἄνθρωπος of Philippians 2:8 . This would coordinate these three clauses and make a new sentence begin with ἐταπείνωσεν . The division does not seem natural or necessary. μ . δούλου λ . The clause defines ἐκένωσε . Christ’s assumption of the “form” of a δοῦλος does not imply that the innermost basis of His personality, His “ego,” was changed, although, indeed, “there was more in this emptying of Himself than we can think or say” (Rainy, op. cit. , p. 119). [1] δ . simply describes the humility to which He condescended. It is needless to ask whose δοῦλος He became. The question is not before the Apostle. ἐν ὁμοιώ . ἀνθ . γεν . γεν . as opposed to ὑπάρχων , “becoming” as opposed to “being by nature”. This clause, in turn, defines μ . δ . λ . “Being made in the likeness of men.” ὁμοι . expresses with great accuracy the Apostle’s idea. Christ walked this earth in the real likeness of men. This was no mere phantom, no mere incomplete copy of humanity. And yet Paul feels that it did not express the whole of Christ’s nature. It was not “an hereditary likeness of being” (Hltzm [2] See N.T. Th. , ii., pp. 70 72). It was, in a sense, borrowed. ἀνθρ . Almost = “mankind,” “humanity”.

[1] Codex Sangallensis

[2]ltzm. Holtzmann.

Verse 8

Philippians 2:8 . καὶ seems to introduce a break. The Apostle goes on to describe the depth of the self-renunciation. No doubt there is here especially before Paul’s mind the contrast between what Christ “ is in Himself and what He appeared in the eyes of men” (Lft [1] ). σχήμ . = Lat. habitus , the external bearing or fashion, “the transitory quality of our materiality” (Gore). εὑρεθείς . Each word in the description emphasises the outward semblance. “Being found, discovered to be.” The verdict of his fellow-creatures upon Him. They classed Him as an ἄνθρωπος . His outward guise was altogether human. ἐταπ . Even as man He endured great humiliation, for He suffered the shameful death of the Cross. For surely ἐταπ . is more than a vivid, lively way of expressing ἐκέν . (as Weiffenb., op. cit. , p. 42). The rest of the verse depicts His humiliation. That consists in His obedience and the terrible issue to which it led. As obedient, He gave Himself wholly up to His Father’s will. And the course of following that will led as far as ( μέχρι ) death itself, no ordinary death ( δέ bringing into prominence the special nature of it, cf. Romans 3:22 ; Romans 9:30 ), but a death of shame and suffering. Cf. Cic., pro Rabir. , v., 10 (quoted by Moule): Mors si proponitur, in libertate moriamur … nomen ipsum crucis absit non modo a corpore civium Romanorum sed etiam a cogitatione, oculis, auribus . This would come home with force to the minds of the Philippians who enjoyed the jus Italicum .

[1] Lightfoot.

Verse 9

Philippians 2:9 . διὸ … καί . On account of His great renunciation and obedience. An exemplification of His own maxim: “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted”. καί marks the correspondence between His lowliness and God’s exaltation of Him. ὑπερύψ . This goes back beyond the ἐταπείν . to the ἐκέν . (So Kl [1] . ) It reminds them that Christ has reached a position, in a certain sense, higher than that which He occupied ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ . This has nothing to do with His nature. The Divine glory which he always possessed can never be enhanced. But now, in the eyes of men and as claiming their homage, He is on an equality with God. Cf. the realistic description of the exaltation in Sheph. of Hermas (quoted by Taylor, Sayings of Jew. Fathers , p. 167), Sim. , ix., 6, 1, ἀνήρ τις ὑψηλὸς τῷ μεγέθει ὥστε τὸν πύργον ὑπερέχειν . Also Gospel of Peter , 10, with Robinson’s notes. ἐχαρίσατο . “Gave as a gift.” This is the Father’s prerogative, for undoubtedly the N.T. teaches a certain subordination of the Son. Cf. John 14:28 , Romans 1:3-4 , 1 Corinthians 8:6 , and, most memorable of all, 1 Corinthians 15:28 , where the Son, having accomplished His work, seems, according to the Apostle’s view, to recede, as it were, into the depths of the Divine Unity. ὄνομα . τὸ ὄν . should be read with the best MSS. It is quite possible that the last syllable of ἐχαρίσατο occasioned the omission of the article. To what does ὄνομα refer? It is only necessary to read on, and the answer presents itself. The universal outburst of worship proclaims that Jesus Christ is Κύριος , Lord, the equiv. of O.T. Jehovah, the highest title that can be uttered. The full significance of the name will only be realised when all the world acknowledges the sovereignty of Christ. As J. Weiss notes ( Nachfolge Christi , pp. 63 64), this is not a specially Pauline conception, but belongs to the general faith of the Church. [It is amazing how Alf [2] , De W. and Ead. can refer it to “Jesus,” Myr [3] and Vinc. to “Jesus Christ,” while Lft [4] and Hpt [5] regard it as = “dignity,” “title,” without specifying.] On the whole conception cf. Hebrews 1., esp [6] Philippians 2:3-4 . Perhaps the Apostle has in his mind the Jewish use of הַשֵׁם , “the Name,” as a reverent substitute for יהוה (LXX Κύριος ), Jehovah. Cf. Sayings of Jew. Fathers (ed. Taylor), iv., 7, and Additional Notes , pp. 165 167, where Taylor compares with Philippians 2:7-8 of our chap., Isaiah 53:12 and with Philippians 2:9 , Isaiah 52:13 . Most appropriate to our passage is his quotation from Jeremy Taylor ( Works , vol. ii., p. 72): “He hath changed the ineffable name into a name utterable by man, and desirable by all the world; the majesty is all arrayed in robes of mercy, the tetragrammaton or adorable mystery of the patriarchs is made fit for pronunciation and expression when it becometh the name of the Lord’s Christ”. τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα . Cf. 1 Peter 3:22 , “Angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him”; Ephesians 1:21 .

[1] Klöpper.

[2] Alford’s Greek Testament .

[3] Meyer.

[4] Lightfoot.

[5] Haupt.

[6] especially.

Verse 10

Philippians 2:10 . ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ . Ἰ . Perhaps the best explanation is that of Weiffenb. ( op. cit. , p. 51), “On the ground of this name ( κύριος ),” i.e. , because of what it means for every worshipper. Of course, the worship is rendered to Him as Lord. Abbott ( Notes on St. Paul’s Epistles , p. 93) compares Psalms 63:4 , “Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name”. Cf. also Psalms 20:5 ; Psalms 54:1 . This name , which declares the true character and dignity of Jesus Christ, is both the basis and the object of worship. See the somewhat parallel use of εἰς τὸ ὀν . in Inscrr [1] (Dsm [2] , BS [3] , pp. 144 145). For the history of the phrase and its Semitic basis consult Die biblische “im Namen,” by J. Böhmer (Giessen, 1898). ἐπουρ . κ . ἐπιγ . κ . καταχθ . Aptly Thdrt [4] , ἐπουρανίους καλεῖ τὰς ἀοράτους δυνάμεις , ἐπιγείους δὲ τοὺς ἔτι ζῶντας ἀνθρώπους καὶ καταξθονίους τοὺς τεθνεῶτας . ἐπουρ . The heavenly spirits. “Paul regards the higher world as divided into a series of ascending spheres” (Beysch., N.T. Th. [E.Tr.], ii., 100). καταχθ . It is needless to think of these in connexion with the Descent into Hades, although this subject had an extraordinary place in the minds of the early Christians ( cf. Bruston, La Descente du Christ aux Enfers , Paris, 1897). Here simply = a general term for the dead. Often in sepulchral Inscrr [5] For the division of all beings into three regions Everling compares Ignat. ad Trall. , 9, ἀληθῶς ἐσταυρώθη καὶ ἀπέθανεν , βλεπόντων τῶν ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπ γείων καὶ ὑποχθονίων (see his Paulinische Angelologie u. Dämonologie , Gött., 1888, pp. 83 84).

[1]nscrr. Inscriptions.

[2] Deissmann ( BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien ).

[3] Bibelstudien

[4]hdrt. Theodoret.

[5]nscrr. Inscriptions.

Verse 11

Philippians 2:11 . Κύριος . See on Philippians 2:6 supr. This is the characteristic confession of the Apostolic Church. It is most significant that Κύριος has no article, which shows that it has become virtually one of Christ’s proper names. See Simcox, Lang. of N.T. , p. 49, and cf. Acts 2:36 , “Know assuredly that God made Him Lord as well as Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (so Hort); 1 Corinthians 12:3 , Romans 10:9 , 1 Corinthians 8:6 , where “One Lord” is parallel to “One God”. Hort (on 1 Peter 1:3 ) compares our verse with Philippians 2:2-5 . The invocation of one Lord is a bond of unity. The term “Lord” has become one of the most lifeless words in the Christian vocabulary. To enter into its meaning and give it practical effect would be to recreate, in great measure, the atmosphere of the Apostolic Age. [See, on the adoration of Jesus Christ in the Apostolic Age, an interesting essay by T. Zahn in Skizzen aus d. Leben d. alten Kirche , Leipz., 1894, pp. 1 38). εἰς δ . Θ . The whole purpose of the working out of salvation is the glory of God the Father. This end is attained when men yield to His operations and acknowledge Christ as Lord. Cf. esp [1] . Ephesians 1:9-12 .

[1] especially.

Verses 12-16

Philippians 2:12-16 . THE CHRISTIAN LIFE TO BE LED IN A SPIRIT OF AWE AND WATCHFULNESS, AS IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD’S WORKING. On Philippians 2:12-13 see two important discussions, Schaeder, Greifswalder Studien , pp. 231 260, and Kühl, SK [2] . , 1898, pp. 557 580. Philippians 2:12 . ὥστε . With what does it link the following verses? Paul has returned to practical exhortation. So we should naturally expect him to take up the thread which he dropped at Philippians 2:6 on turning to the example of Jesus Christ. At that point he had been urging them to be of one mind. But with what aim? Especially in order that they might present an unbroken front in their conflict for the faith. But that brings us back to Philippians 1:27 ff. And that the connexion of our passage with the earlier paragraph is not arbitrary we may gather from the occurrence of the same idea in both, viz. , that of his own presence and absence. Cf. Philippians 1:27 b with Philippians 2:12 b . At the same time there is also a link between Philippians 2:12-13 and the passage immediately preceding. He introduces his admonition with obedience ( ὑπηκούσατε ). But Christ’s lowliness consisted precisely in His ὑπακοή (Philippians 2:8 , ὑπήκοος ). Christ has been exalted as the result ( διό , Philippians 2:9 ) of humble obedience. Corresponding to His exaltation will be their σωτηρία . ὑπηκούσατε . We believe that this means obedience to God. See on ὥστε supr. κατεργάζ . Cf. Galatians 4:18 . μετὰ φ . κ . τρ . Cf. Ephesians 6:5 , οἱ δοῦλοι , ὑπακούετε τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα κυρίοις μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου . In both passages the phrase expresses the solemn responsibility to God which is always felt by those conscious of the Divine Presence, whether they are occupied with common tasks or the concerns of their spiritual life. Nihil enim est quod magis ad modestiam et timorem erudire nos debeat quam dum audimus nos sola Dei gratia stare (Calvin). Gunkel ( Wirkungen 2 , etc., p. 70) well contrasts the fear with which the Jew looked upon the Divine Presence with the calm joy which the Christian feels in such an experience. τὴν ἑαυτ . σωτ . Such a use of ἑαυτῶν for ὑμῶν αὐτῶν is much more common in N.T. than in classical Greek. But cf. Demos., Olynth. , i., § 2, εἴπερ σωτηρίας αὑτῶν φροντίζετε . The emphasis is on ἐαυτῶν . Each of them is responsible for his own salvation before God. They must not lean on the Apostle. His absence must make no difference. “For the race is run by one and one and never by two and two” (R. Kipling). σωτ . This is the end and aim of their faith. See 1 Peter 1:9 , τὸ τέλος τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν . κατεργ . The best comment on the distinctive force of κατεργ . is 2 Corinthians 7:10 , ἡ γὰρ κατὰ Θεὸν λύπη μετάνοιαν εἰς σωτηρίαν … ἐργάζεται · ἡ δὲ τοῦ κόσμου λύπη θάνατον κατεργάζεται , where ἐργ . refers to a process in its mediate workings, while κατεργ . looks solely at the final result. So here almost = “make sure of your salvation,” “carry it into effect”. Cf. 2 Peter 1:10 . As Kühl ( op. cit. , p. 560 ff.) points out, the Apostle does not think here so much of the moral effort, their deliberate conduct as such (so Schaeder). This, as the presupposition of salvation, would be alien to the Pauline point of view. Lowliness and obedience (the ὑπακοὴ πίστεως ) are needful, that they may look away from themselves to Jesus Christ, who is the “author and finisher of their faith”.

[2] Studien und Kritiken .

Verse 13

Philippians 2:13 . ὁ must certainly be omitted with all the best authorities. “For God is He that works,” etc. The emphasis lies on Θεός for two reasons. First, in the matter of attaining salvation they have to do not with Paul, but with God. Second, they must enter upon this momentous course not lightly, but “with fear and trembling,” for if they miss the goal it means that they have deliberately rejected the purpose of God. This explains the connecting γάρ . ὁ ἐνεργῶν . It seems always to have the idea of effective working. In N.T. the active is invariably used of God. The middle is always intransitive. The verb has become transitive only in later Greek ( cf. Krebs, Rection d. Casus , ii., 21). Many exx. occur in Justin M. τὸ θέλειν . The first resolution in the direction of salvation takes its origin from God. So also does the ἐνεργεῖν , the carrying of this inward resolve into practical effect, the acting on the assurance that God’s promise is genuine. Cf. Ephesians 2:8 , τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι , διὰ πίστεως · καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν , Θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον . To Paul the Divine working and the human self-determination are compatible. But “all efforts to divide the ground between God and man go astray” (Rainy, op. cit. , p. 136). ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας . “To carry out His own gracious will.” So Thdrt [1] . (see also Gennrich, SK [2] . , 1898, p. 383, n. 1). His great purpose of mercy is the salvation of men. To realise this He surrounds them with the influences of His gracious Spirit. For the word cf. Ps. Sol. 8:39, ἡμῖν καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις ἡμῶν ἡ εὐδοκία εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα . Conyb.-Hows. and Hfm [3] . would join ὑπὲρ τ . εὐδ . with the words following, but this would be unintelligible without αὐτοῦ . Blass boldly reads ὑπὲρ ( οὗ ) τ . εὐδοκίας πάντα ποι . ( N.T. Gramm. , p. 132). Such procedure is arbitrary. Zahn and Wohl [4] . (with Pesh. and O.L. versions) connect the words with τὸ ἐνεργ . preceding, and, comparing Romans 7:15-21 , make εὐδ . = human inclination to goodness, i.e. , practically equiv. to θέλειν . But this is the interpretation of a subtle exegete, which would scarcely appeal to a plain reader. The interpretation given above, connecting ὑπ . τ . εὐδ . with ὁ ἐνεργ ., is thoroughly natural and has many parallels in Paul, e.g. , Ephesians 1:5 ; Ephesians 1:9 , etc. See esp [5] . SH [6] . on Romans 10:1 . These verses are a rebuke to all egotism and empty boasting (see Philippians 2:3 ).

[1]hdrt. Theodoret.

[2] Studien und Kritiken .

[3] Hofmann.

[4]ohl. Wohlenberg.

[5] especially.

[6] Sanday and Headlam ( Romans ).

Verse 14

Philippians 2:14 . γογγ . Many Comm [7] . understand γογγ . and διαλογ . as referring to God. This interpretation appears farfetched and unnecessary. The whole discussion preceding has turned on the danger to their faith in being disunited. Is it not natural that when he speaks of “grumblings” and “discussions” he should point to their mutual disagreements? Would not these be the common expressions, e.g. , of the variance between Euodia and Syntyche? May they not be connected with the ἑτέρως τι φρονεῖν of chap. Philippians 3:15 ? There has never been a hint of murmuring against God up till now. Cf. 1 Peter 4:9 , Wis 1:11 , φυλάξασθε … γογγυσμὸν ἀνωφελῆ καὶ ἀπὸ καταλαλιᾶς φείσασθε γλώσσης . On γογγ . see esp [8] . H. Anz, Dissertationes Halenses , vol. xii., pars 2, pp. 368 369. διαλογ . Probably = disputes. Common in this sense in later Greek. Cf. Luke 9:46 . Originally = thoughts, with the idea of doubt or hesitation gradually implied. See Hatch, Essays in Bibl. Greek , p. 8.

[7]omm. Commentators.

[8] especially.

Verse 15

Philippians 2:15 . γένησθε . “That ye may become.” A high ideal before Paul’s mind to be reached by a gradual process. ἄμεμπτοι . οὐ μικρὰν γὰρ προσάγει κηλῖδα ὁ γογγυσμός (Chr [9] ). Perhaps ἄμεμ . refers to the judgment of others, while ἀκέραιοι denotes their intrinsic character (so Lft [10] ). Cf. Matthew 10:16 , where Christ exhorts the disciples to be ἀκέραιοι ὡς αἱ περιστεραί . τέκνα Θεοῦ . This whole clause is a reminiscence, not a quotation, of Deuteronomy 32:5 , ἡμάρτοσαν , οὐκ αὐτῷ τέκνα , μωμητά · γενεὰ σκολιὰ καὶ διεστραμμένη . It is impossible to say whether Paul uses τ . Θ . in the strict sense common in N.T., or whether he employs the term more loosely as in Ephesians 5:8 . The best authorities read ἄμωμα , the more usual N.T. word. ἀμωμητά may be due to μωμητά of LXX. μέσον is certainly to be read instead of ἐν μέσῳ , with all leading authorities. It is one of those adverbial expressions which, in the later language, perhaps under the influence of Semitic usage, took the place of prepositions. Cf. Hatz., Einl , p. 214, where several exx. are quoted from Porphyrogenitus, de Caer . σκολ . κ . διεστραμ . The latter epithet is precisely = the Scotch expression “thrawn,” “having a twist” in the inner nature. ἐν οἷς . Sense-construction. φαίν . Commentators differ as to whether φ . means here “appear” or “shine”. Surely the appearing of a φωστήρ , a luminary, must be, at the same time, a shining. Both interpretations really converge in this context. [Calv. takes φαίν . as imperative, and compares Isaiah 60:2 . This is by no means unlikely.] Probably κόσμος (= the whole universe of things) goes closely with φωστῆρες , emphasising the contrast, while nothing is said as to their influence on others. Christ Himself is τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου (John 8:12 ). His followers are φωστῆρες ἐν κόσμῳ . For κόσμος see Evans’ excellent note on 1 Corinthians 2:12 .

Verse 16

Philippians 2:16 . λ . ζωῆς . For the connexion between this expression and φωστῆρες see John 1:4 , ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων . When Paul speaks of “life” as belonging to the Christian he means not merely the new power of holy living imparted to him, but the real presence of a truly Divine life which, although largely concealed for the present by the fleshly nature, is the pledge and actual beginning of life eternal. This is, in the Apostle’s view, the supreme goal of the Christian calling. The Christian gospel, therefore, is a λόγος ζωῆς . ἐπέχοντες . Its common meaning (as in Homer, etc.) is “holding forth”. But the Apostle is not thinking of the influence exercised by his readers upon others. It is their own steadfastness in the faith that is before his mind in this passage. That tells against the interpretation of Field ( Otium Norvicense , iii., pp. 118 119, following Pesh. with Michaelis, Wetstein, etc.), who translates, “being in the stead of life” (to it, sc. , the world), “holding the analogy of life”. No doubt there are good exx. of the phrase in later Greek, but we are safe in saying that the ordinary N.T. reader would not understand λόγ . ζ . in this sense. Chr and Thphl. take it as = “having in them” (a strengthened ἔχειν ). Theodore of Mopsuestia has “holding fast,” which is also the gloss of Hesychius on the word ( κρατοῦντες ). There is practically no difference between the two last explanations. Either suits the context well. It was quite customary in late Greek to use intensified forms like ἐπέχειν as stronger equivalents for the simpler words. εἰς καύχ . “For a ground of boasting.” Cf. Zephaniah 3:20 , δώσω ὑμᾶς ὀνομαστοὺς καὶ εἰς καύχημα . ἡμέρα Χ . A combination only found in this Epistle. As the Apostle advanced in years the final result of his labours would have increasing prominence in his thoughts. ὅτι . Does this introduce the ground of his boasting, or is it used in an “anticipative” sense = because? The latter seems necessary, as the reason of his boasting has already been given, their blamelessness and steadfastness. ἔδραμον … ἐκοπίασα . These aorists look back from the day of Christ over the whole course of Paul’s life and work. It is now finished, and it has not failed. We must translate by English perfects, “I have not run,” etc. Lft [1] . thinks that ἐκοπ . is a metaphor from “training” in athletic contests. See his important note on Ignat. ad Polyc. , vi., συγκοπιᾶτε ἀλλήλοις , συναθλεῖτε , συντρέχετε . But its occurrence in Isaiah 49:4 ( κενῶς ἐκοπίασα , εἰς μάταιον καὶ εἰς οὐδὲν ἔδωκα τὴν ἰσχύν μου ) shows that it may be taken without any metaphorical significance.

[1] Lightfoot.

Verse 17

Philippians 2:17 . “Nay, although I should even be offered (lit. ‘poured out as a libation’) upon the sacrifice and sacred service,” etc. εἰ καί leaves abundant room for the possibility, as distinct from καὶ εἰ , which barely allows the supposition. See esp [2] . Hermann on Viger , no. 307. The metaphor of this verse has given rise to much discussion. It is admitted that σπένδ . = to be poured out as a drink offering. Cf. 2 Timothy 4:6 , ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι . But what is the meaning of ἐπί ? Is it “upon,” “over,” or “in addition to,” “concurrently with”? Ell [3] . and others, holding that the Apostle refers to Jewish sacrificial usages in which, it is said, the drink-offering was poured, not over the sacrifice but round the altar, decide for the latter sense. Paul’s life would be a sacrifice additional to that of their faith. But, in writing to the Philippians, it is far more likely that he should illustrate from heathen ritual in which the libation took so prominent a place. In that case we have an apt parallel in Hom., Il. , xi., 775, σπένδων αἴθοπα οἶνον ἐπʼ αἰθομένοις ἱεροῖσι , where ἐπί can scarcely mean anything but “upon”. After all, the decision between the two does not affect the sense. The offering of Paul in either case, instead of being a cause of sadness and despair, is really the climax of their sacrifice, the libation which crowns it. Zahn ( op. cit. , p. 296 297), followed by Hpt [4] . , joins ἐπί with χαίρω in the sense of “I rejoice on account of the sacrifice,” etc. This is certainly attractive, but seems too bold in view of the order of the words. τῇ θυσίᾳ κ . λειτ . τ . πίστ . Here, again, unnecessary difficulties have been raised over the question whether Paul or the Philippians are to be regarded as offering the sacrifice. There is no evidence that the Apostle wishes to strain the metaphor to the breaking point. He has been urging them to preserve their Christian faith pure and unfaltering. That will be a joy to him in the day of Christ. But now another thought crosses his mind. What if in his Christian labours he should fall a victim? The idea gives a sacrificial cast to his thinking, and he regards their faith ( i.e. , virtually, their Christian profession and life), on the one hand, as a θυσία , an offering presented to God ( cf. Romans 12:1 ), and, on the other, as a λειτουργία , a sacred service, the presenting of that offering. (For the ritual use of λειτ . in Egyptian Papyri see Dsm [5] . , BS [6] . , pp. 137 138). “Even although I should fall a victim to my labours in the cause of Christ, I rejoice because your faith is an accomplished fact. I rejoice on my own account ( χαίρω ) because I have been the instrument of your salvation. I also share in the joy ( συγχαίρω ) which you experience in the new life you have received.” This paraphrase, perhaps, expresses the real force of the words in their close connexion with the context. We can see no ground for translating συγχαίρω (with Lft [7] . and others) as “congratulate,” a translation which surely misses the point of the language. Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:26 .

[2] especially.

[3] Ellicott.

[4] Haupt.

[5] Deissmann ( BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien ).

[6] Bibelstudien

[7] Lightfoot.

Verses 17-18


Verse 18

Philippians 2:18 . τὸ δʼ αὐτό . Adverbial use = ὡσαύτως . Cf. Matthew 27:44 . συγχαίρ . This is, of course, a different joy from that which he shares with them. It is their joy in his obtaining the martyr’s crown.

Verse 19

Philippians 2:19 . Clemen ( Einheitlichkeit d. paulin. Briefe , p. 138) seeks to prove that Philippians 2:19-24 do not belong to this context. This is to forget the flexibility and rapid transitions natural to a friendly letter. The last paragraph, in spite of its joyful tone, ended with a note of anxious foreboding for the Philippians. He will dispel the dark shadow. ἐν Κ . Ἰης . Cf. Philippians 2:24 infr. , and the repeated occurrence of this and cognate phrases all through Paul’s Epistles. See the note on chap. Philippians 1:1 supr. His intention depends on the will and power of Christ, just as its performance will be regulated with a view to His glory πέμψαι . We should expect future infinitive, but the aorist is often used instead “after verbs of hoping and promising in which wish or will intrudes” (Gildersleeve on Justin M., Apol. , i., 12, 23). κἀγώ . He takes for granted that the visit of Timothy will cheer the Philippians. It will cheer him also to know how they do. εὐψυχῶ . Common in sepulchral Inscrr [8] . in the form εὐψύχει , “farewell!” There are a few exx. elsewhere, e.g. , Joseph., Ant. , xi., 6, 9, of Ahasuerus, καὶ τὴν Ἐσθῆρʼ εὐψυχεῖν καὶ τὰ κρείττω προσδοκᾷν παρεθάρρυνεν . γνους has probably a slightly ingressive force, “when I come to know”.

[8]nscrr. Inscriptions.

Verses 19-24


Verse 20

Philippians 2:20 . ἰσόψυχον . “Compounds with ἰσο - usually mean not merely ‘like,’ but ‘as good as,’ or ‘no better than’ ” (Jebb on Soph., O.T. , 478). To whom does it refer? De W., Myr [9] , Vinc. and others refer it to Paul. But surely it can only apply to Timothy. At least the relative sentence seems to necessitate this interpretation. “I have no one like-minded, I mean having that kind of mind ( ὅστις ) which will, etc.… but ye know his approvedness.” Besides, if he were thinking of himself, must he not have added ἄλλον to οὐδένα ? γνησίως , “genuinely”. There is no apparent necessity to take it (with Lft [10] and Vinc.) as = “by an instinct derived from his spiritual parentage”. γν . is used frequently in secular writers = true, genuine. Cf. Phocyl., 2, γνήσιος φίλος ; Pind., Olymp. , ii., 21, γνησίαις ἐπʼ ἀρεταῖς . Cf. chap. Philippians 4:3 . μεριμνήσει = “give one’s thoughts to a matter”. Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:33 , and see a good note in Jebb on Soph., O.T. , 1124.

[9] Meyer.

[10] Lightfoot.

Verse 21

Philippians 2:21 . οἱ πάντες … ζητ . This verse has roused surprise. Where were all Paul’s faithful brethren in the Lord? Has he no one but Timothy to fall back upon? It must be borne in mind that we have to do with a simple letter, not a treatise, or history of Paul’s work. The Apostle speaks in an outburst of strong feeling, for he is a man of quick impulses. He does not for a moment mean that he has no genuine Christian brethren in his company. But he had found, in all probability, that when he proposed to some of his companions, good Christian men, that they should visit far-distant Philippi, they all shrank, making various excuses. Timothy alone is willing, the one man he can least afford to spare. It is hard to part with him at such a critical time. No wonder that he should feel hurt by this want of inclination on the part of the other brethren to undertake an important Christian duty. No wonder that he should speak with severity of a disposition so completely opposed to his own. Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:33 , μὴ ζητῶν τὸ ἐμαυτοῦ σύμφορον ἀλλὰ τὸ τῶν πολλῶν . See esp [11] Calvin’s excellent note ad loc. Χ . Ἰ . The authorities are almost equally balanced as to the readings. See on chap. Philippians 1:1 supr.

[11] especially.

Verse 22

Philippians 2:22 . δοκιμήν . “Approvedness.” That character which emerges as the result of testing. Cf. James 1:12 . ὡς πατ . τέκ . κ . τ . λ . A mixed construction, the result of refined feeling. Paul first thinks of Timothy as his son in the Gospel, serving him with a son’s devotion. But before the sentence is finished, his lowliness reminds him that they are both alike servants of a common Lord, equal in His sight. εἰς seems here practically equiv. to ἐν , as so frequently in later Greek. The fact is one of real importance for exegesis. (See Hatz., Einl, p. 210; Schmid, Atticismus , i., p. 91; Krumbacher, Kuhn’s Zeitschr. , 27, pp. 543 544). One can hardly discover here the idea of purpose.

Verse 23

Philippians 2:23 . μέν . He emphasises the coming of Timothy as distinct from his own. ὡς ἄν . Cf. Rom 15:24 , 1 Corinthians 11:34 . “As soon as I shall have thoroughly ascertained my position.” This temporal use of ὡς ἄν seems foreign to classical prose. It almost means “according as I shall”. ἄν marks the uncertainty which surrounds the whole prospect. (See Moulton’s Ed. of Winer’s Grammar , p. 387; Viteau, Le Verbe , p. 126.) ἀπίδω . On the form see the crit. note supr. ἀπό emphasises his turning away his attention from other things and concentrating it upon his own situation, i.e. , gaining a definite knowledge of how his affairs stand. Mynster ( Kleine Theolog. Schriften , p. 173) points out that this verse proves that the Epistle could not have been written at Cæsarea. ἐξαυτῆς . Chiefly in Acts in N.T. = Latin ilico. A Hellenistic word. See Phrynichus (ed. Lobeck), 47.

Verse 24

Philippians 2:24 . ἐν Κυρίῳ . See on Philippians 2:19 . Every mood of Paul’s inner life he desires to regulate by the mind and will of Christ. ὅτι . “When an action is to be produced, πείθειν takes the infinitive, when belief , ὅτι (of objective knowledge) sometimes infinitive” (Gildersl. on Justin M., Apol. , i., 8, 8).

Verse 25

Philippians 2:25 . This verse opens a passage which Clemen ( op. cit. , pp. 138 141) assigns to the second of the two letters into which he proposes to divide the Epistle. See our Introduction . The Apostle, as a matter of fact, passes most naturally from the two visits which he half promises to the return of Epaphroditus, which is an immediate certainty. ἡγησ . Epistolary aorist. He writes from the point of view of those who receive the letter. Ἐπαφ . Only mentioned in this Epistle, unless we are to suppose him to be the same person as Ἐπαφρᾶς of Colossians 1:7 , Philemon 1:23 . Such contractions of names were quite common, e.g. , Ζηνᾶς = Ζηνόδωρος , Μενέστας = Μενέστρατος (see W-Sch [1] . , pp. 142 143). But this hypothesis ill accords with the description in Colossians 4:12 , Ἐπ . ὁ ἐξ ὑμῶν , to say nothing of the fact that, on our view of the dating of the Imprisonment-Epistles, Epaphras would by this time have left Rome. ἀδ . κ . συνεργ . κ . συστρ . Aptly Anselm: Frater in fide, cooperator in praedicatione, commilito in adversis . There is no need to suppose (with Gw [2] . ) that συνεργ . implies that Epaphroditus was in the ministry, or (with Ws [3] . ) that συστρ . points to Paul’s conflict at Philippi. Both terms suit his circumstances at Rome. ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπ . κ . λειτ . τ . χρ . μ . ἀπόστολος is always used of some one entrusted with a mission; it is a word of dignified tone. Moule ( PS. , p. 133) thinks we have here “a gentle pleasantry,” their gift being a sort of Gospel to him. But its ordinary Greek use as = “delegate” makes this unnecessary. λειτουργόν . “Minister.” Evidently the technical, ritual use of this word and its cognates which prevailed in the postclassical age and is found in LXX (of priests and esp [4] . Levites) and Egyptian Papyri (see H. Anz, Dissertationes Philol. Halenses , xii., 2, pp. 346 347; Dsm [5] . , BS [6] . , p. 137 ff.) suggests the idea of their gift as being a sacrifice, an oblation to God. In chap. Philippians 4:18 he calls it expressly a θυσία . See an interesting discussion of Paul’s use of pagan terms in Expository Times , x., Nos. 1 5, by Prof. W. M. Ramsay.

[1] Sch. Schmiedel’s Ed. of Winer.

[2] . Gwynn.

[3] . Weiss.

[4] especially.

[5] Deissmann ( BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien ).

[6] . Bibelstudien

Verses 25-30


Verse 26

Philippians 2:26 . ἐπειδή . Only three times elsewhere in Paul. The difference between it and ἐπεί is tersely stated by Ell [7] . ( ad loc. ), who notes that it “involves the quasi-temporal reference which is supplied by δή , and thus expresses a thing that at once ensues (temporarily or causally) on the occurrence or realisation of another”. ἐπιπ . ἦν . A common N.T. construction. Perhaps the use of the imperfect may be due to Aramaic influence (see Schmid, Atticismus , iii., p. 113 ff.). In classical Greek it is fairly frequent with the perfect and pluperfect. See Kühner, Ausführl. Gramm. , ii., p. 35, n. 3 πάντας . The Apostle wishes to disarm all prejudices against Epaphr. ἀδημονῶν . “In sore anguish.” In its two other occurrences in N.T. it describes the agony in Gethsemane. While not found in LXX (but several exx. in Symmachus) it occurs a few times in later Greek. The derivations usually given are doubtful. ἠκούσατε . Probably we must suppose that the Philippians, on hearing that Epaphrod. was ill, had written a letter to which this is the answer. ἠσθένησε . We might translate, “had fallen sick,” an ingressive aorist. But with the same tense in Philippians 2:27 , perhaps it is better to look upon the aorist as summing up the whole experience of Epaphrod. as a single fact, and viewing it in this light. This is a common Greek usage (see Burton, MT [8] . , p. 20).

[7] Ellicott.

[8] . Moods and Tenses (Burton, Goodwin).

Verse 27

Philippians 2:27 . καὶ γὰρ κ . τ . λ . “For truly he was sick,” etc., καὶ intensifying the force of ἠσθέν . θαν . The more common construction of παραπλ ., backed by a preponderating weight of authority, favours the dative. The endings - ου and - ω were frequently interchanged in the MSS. (see Ws [9] . TK [10] . , p. 18). λύπην ἐπὶ λύπην . The reading λύπῃ is merely a simplifying of the construction. The accusative must be read. The usage is practically = ἐπί with dative. It denotes the heaping up of one thing upon another with the notion of addition predominant. Cf. Matthew 24:2 , οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ; Isaiah 28:10 , θλίψιν ἐπὶ θλίψιν προσδέχου ; Ps. Song of Solomon 3:7 , οὐκ αὐλίζεται ἐν οἴκῳ δικαίου ἁμαρτία ἐφʼ ἁμαρτίαν . See Buttm., Gram. , p. 338. σχῶ . Equiv. to our “get”. This is the force of the aorist.

[9] . Weiss.

[10] . extkritik d. paulin. Briefe (Weiss)

Verse 28

Philippians 2:28 . σπουδ . The more regular form is the inferior reading σπουδαιότερον , which is due to some copyist. But that in - ως is also found in classical Greek. See W-Sch [11] . , p. 98. It is quite possible that we have here, as frequently in later popular Greek, a comparative with superlative force (see Blass, Gramm. , p. 33). “I sent him with all haste” (including the notion of anxiety and concern which belongs to σπουδαῖος ). ἔπεμ . Epistolary aorist. ἀλυπότ . Their joy means the lifting of a burden from his heart. He sympathised with Epaphroditus’ yearning for home. He sympathised with the Philippians’ anxiety for their brother. Chr [12] . aptly quotes Paul’s own words in 2 Corinthians 11:29 , τίς ἀσθενεῖ καὶ οὐκ ἀσθενῶ ; τίς σκανδαλίζεται καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ πυροῦμαι .

[11] Sch. Schmiedel’s Ed. of Winer.

[12] Chrysostom.

Verse 29

Philippians 2:29 . Behind these words must lie some unknown circumstances which affected the feelings of the Philippians towards Epaphrod. It is not sufficient to suppose (with Ws [13] . ) that they would be disappointed because he had not stayed long enough at Rome. The πάσης χαρᾶς and ἐντίμους surely point to some alienation on which we have no light.

[13] . Weiss.

Verse 30

Philippians 2:30 . τὸ ἔργον κ . τ . λ . The true reading is very difficult to determine with such a conflict of authorities. We are inclined to believe that τὸ ἔργ . stood alone as in C. This is certainly the hardest reading of all to account for. At a very early date additions like Χριστοῦ , Κυρίου , etc., would be sure to be made. μέχρι . A somewhat rare use of μ . Cf. Revelation 12:11 , οὐκ ἠγάπησαν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτῶν ἄχρι θανάτου , and chap. Philippians 2:8 . παραβολευσ . Here, with the great majority of the best authorities, we must read παραβολευσάμενος . It is a ἁπ . λεγ ., probably formed from παράβολος , rash, reckless. Cf. the legal term παράβολον (later, παραβόλιον ), the stake which has to be deposited by an appellant, and is forfeited if the action be lost. “Having hazarded his life.” Cf. the exact parallel in Diod., 3, 36, 4, παραβαλέσθαι ταῖς ψυχαῖς . What risk did he run? Hfm [14] . suggests that his illness was produced by his arrival in Rome during the hot season of the year. Chr [15] . thinks of danger at the hands of Nero. Wohl [16] . supposes that his illness was the result of his severe missionary labours in Rome. May it be that the Apostle was now confined in a far more unwholesome bondage than before (one of the noisome State-prisons? See Introduction ), and that the assiduous services of Epaphrod. to him there, brought on this severe illness? We believe that this interpretation is justified by the next words τὸ ὑμ . ὑστέρ .… λειτ . In what was their service towards the Apostle lacking? Evidently in nothing save their own personal presence and personal care of him. This would be the more urgently needed if Paul’s outward surroundings had become less favourable. For the phrase ἀναπλ . τὸ ὑστ ., Cf. 1 Corinthians 16:17 , τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα οὗτοι ἀνεπλήρωσαν ; 2 Corinthians 11:9 .

[14] Hofmann.

[15] Chrysostom.

[16] Wohlenberg.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Philippians 2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/philippians-2.html. 1897-1910.
Ads FreeProfile