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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Philippians 4

Verse 1

Philippians 4:1. . 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.— . . Cf. the combination in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, ; 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. often means “to reward,” see Dsm[13]., BS[14]., p. 261.— . That is, according to the type which has been described in chap. Philippians 3:17 ff.— is a word of late coinage, belonging to the colloquial language, and leaving as its survival the modern Greek . Often found in N.T.

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

[14] . Bibelstudien

 

Verses 1-3

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

 

 

Verse 2

Philippians 4:2. . . . . 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 are mentioned in the Dict. of Christ. Biogr. The feminine name is also found in Inscrr[15]. . 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 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.]

[15] scrr. Inscriptions.

[16] scrr. Inscriptions.

[17] Lightfoot.

[18] Sch. Schmiedel’s Ed. of Winer.

[19] Lightfoot.

[20] scrr. Inscriptions.

 

 

Verse 3

Philippians 4:3. must certainly be read with all trustworthy authorities. Exactly parallel is Philm. 20. Cf. Soph., Elect., 1445, , .— 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.— . is to be read with the great mass of authorities. We believe that W.H. are right in their marginal reading of as a proper name. This would harmonise with the other names mentioned. And the epithet . 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 , occur. Perhaps all the above names were given to them after Baptism. Lft[25]. and others refer . to Epaphroditus. Chr[26]. thinks of the husband of one of the women addressed. Wieseler (Chronol., p. 458) actually refers it to Christ.— . 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 . implies that Euodia and Syntyche were already trying to lay aside their differences.— . “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.— . An unusual position for 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 . 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. 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 - , - is seen in , (2 Timothy 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:21).— . . . 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 . 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.

[21] Meyer.

[22]. Klöpper.

[23] especially.

[24] scrr. Inscriptions.

[25] Lightfoot.

[26] Chrysostom.

[27]. Gwynn.

[28] especially.

[29] Chrysostom.

 

 

Verse 4

Philippians 4:4. expresses the predominant mood of the Epistle, a mood wonderfully characteristic of Paul’s closing years.— . “He doubles it to take away the scruple of those that might say, what, shall we rejoice in afflictions?” (G. Herbert).— . 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. . . “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, , , , 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 ( . .) who can preserve an undisturbed heart. In Ps. Song of Solomon 5:14 God is called .— . . 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. . . “In nothing be anxious.” . 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 2:20supr. . . . . emphasises prayer as an act of worship or devotion; is the cry of personal need. See on chap. Philippians 1:4supr. Curare et orare plus inter se pugnant quam aqua et ignis (Beng.).— . 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.— 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).— . . “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. . . . 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).— . . “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, , and Cf.Philippians 4:19, . Space forbids the enumeration of the many interpretations given. Wordsworth (Prelude, Bk. 14) defines this peace as “repose in moral judgments”.— . , very much what we call “reason,” in Paul’s view, belongs to the life of the . It is the highest power in that life, and affords, as it were, the material on which the Divine can work. It remains in those who possess the as that part of the inner man which is exposed to earthly influences and relations. (See an admirable note in Ws[32].) is “a more undefined concept, side by side with ” (so Lüdemann, Anthropol., p. 16 ff.). It has to do not merely with feelings but with will. are products of the , thoughts or purposes. Paul would probably regard them as being contained in the . The word is found five times in 2 Cor. and nowhere else in N.T.— . A close parallel is 1 Peter 1:5, . 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.— . . Christ Jesus is the sure refuge and the atmosphere of security.

[30] Haupt.

[31] Chrysostom.

[32]. Weiss.

 

 

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 . . (Philippians 4:7) in a new form . (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.— is probably used to show that he is hastening to a close. See on chap. Philippians 3:1supr. 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.— and express the very foundations of moral life. If truth and righteousness are lacking, there is nothing to hold moral qualities together.— . “Reverend.” The due appreciation of such things produces what M. Arnold would call “a noble seriousness” (so also Vinc.).— . 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, ; Sirach 20:13, . 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).— . Exactly = our “high-toned”. (So also Ell[36].) “Was einen guten Klang hat” (Lips[37].). It is an extremely rare word.— . . . . . “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 , see Dsm[39]., BS[40]., p. 90 ff.— , as Hort (on 1 Peter 1:7) points out, corresponds exactly to 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).— . . “Make them the subject of careful reflection.” Meditatio ’ praecedit: deinde sequitur opus (Calv.).

[33] Lightfoot.

[34]. Weiss.

[35] especially.

[36] Ellicott.

[37] Lipsius.

[38] Lightfoot.

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

[40] . Bibelstudien

 

 

Verse 9

Philippians 4:9. It is hardly possible, with Ell[41]., to refer . . . immediately to the preceding, without forcing the construction.— . . . plainly refer to the definite Christian teaching he had set himself to give them. is used regularly of “receiving” truth from a teacher.— . . . . This is the impression made upon them by his Christian character, apart from any conscious effort on his part. Cf. chap. Philippians 3:17.— . . . 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.

[41] Ellicott.

 

 

Verse 10

Philippians 4:10. 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).— . 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].).— . 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 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 . . . 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).— . The most various interpretations have been given. Some refer to the whole phrase preceding. Some make 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]. = . The simplest explanation is to regard 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.” as contrasted with 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.— . Lidd. and Scott quote one instance of the simple verb . 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.

[42] Lightfoot.

[43]. Weiss.

[44] Sch. Schmiedel’s Ed. of Winer.

[45]. Weiss.

[46] Lightfoot.

[47] Lipsius.

[48] Meyer.

[49] Meyer.

[50]. Gwynn.

[51] Haupt.

[52] Ellicott.

[53]. Gwynn.

[54] Lightfoot.

[55] Hofmann.

 

 

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 , is strophic. gives the “theme”. Philippians 4:13 marks the close. The thought is worked out between. See J. Weiss, Beitr., p. 29.— . See on chap. Philippians 3:12supr. . “As regards want.” has the same sense as in the phrase .— emphasises his own position in a tone of calm independence of circumstances.— . 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. 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.— is admirably illustrated by Plat., Repub., 369 B, , . “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. . . . must be read with all good authorities. The one must be correlative to the other, unless he intended to continue the sentence without the second (see an excellent note on in N.T. in Ell[56].ad loc. He defines somewhat too minutely). Examples of the infinitive after are to be found in classical Greek.— . The best comment on this is 2 Corinthians 11:7, . There it means, “keeping myself low” (in respect of the needs of daily life). Moule aptly quotes Diod., i., 36 (speaking of the Nile), = “runs low”.— . . . A vague, general phrase = “in all circumstances of life”. It has no immediate connexion with (Cf. a similar expression in Xen., Hell., 7, 5, 12, and or in Thucyd., Soph., etc.).— . 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, . In later ecclesiastical usage = a baptised Christian (an instructive hint as to the growth of dogma). See Anrich, Das Antike Mysterienwesen, p. 158. . goes closely with the infinitives following. Cf. Alciphron, 2, 4 ad fin., .— 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).— should be written without iota subscript. It is contracted here with as usually in later Greek. See Phrynichus (ed. Lobeck), 61, 204. So always in LXX.— 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, , .

[56] Ellicott.

[57] especially.

 

 

Verse 13

Philippians 4:13. . . It is difficult to decide whether . is accusative or merely adverbial. Cf.James 5:16 (where apparently has the accusative), and Wisdom of Solomon 16:20, . For the other alternative see Hom., Odyss., 8, 214.— . Cf.Ephesians 6:10, ; Jud. 6:34 (cod. A), . It is a rare word. The adjective , from which it springs, is only found in late Byzantine Greek. An apt parallel to the whole context is Ps. Sol. 16:12, .— must be omitted. See crit. note supr.

 

 

Verse 14

Philippians 4:14. . See on chap. Philippians 3:16. “All the same, I rejoice in your kindness.”— . Hort (on 1 Peter 2:12) points out that “denotes that kind of goodness which is at once seen to be good”.— . (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 emphasises their personal relation to the Apostle, which was apt to be obscured by the form of expression used.

 

 

Verse 15

Philippians 4:15. 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” ( ).— . (A Latin form, see Ramsay, Journal of Theol. Studies, i., 1, p. 116.) He singles them out from all the other Churches.— . . . 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, · ; 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.— . This use (in N.T.) is apparently confined to the Epistles. A precise parallel ( . with dative and ) is found in Plat., Repub., v., 453 A.— . . . . 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] . and . is frequent. Cf.Sirach 42:7, , 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.

[58] Codex Sangallensis

 

 

Verses 15-19

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

 

 

Verse 16

Philippians 4:16. . . . We are greatly inclined to take here, as in Philippians 4:15, as dependent on . “Ye know ’ that at the beginning ’ that even in Thessalonica,” etc. Thessalonica was a city of far greater wealth and importance than Philippi. might, however, emphasise the fact that they began at once to support him.— . is probably to be taken literally. Cf.Deuteronomy 9:13, ; 1 Maccabees 3:30, . It is interpreted in a more general sense by Lft[59]. and Wohl[60]. . . 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, ; Romans 15:26, . 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.

[59] Lightfoot.

[60] Wohlenberg.

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

[62] Bibelstudien

[63] Neue Bibelstudien

 

 

Verse 17

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

[64] Chrysostom.

[65] Chrysostom.

 

 

Verse 18

Philippians 4:18. . 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: [ ] [ ] . (Dsm[66]., NBS[67]., p. 56.) Chr[68]. evidently knew this sense, for he says, “ · , ”. 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.— . Cf. Sayings of Jew. Fathers, p. 64: “Who is rich? He that is contented with his lot.”— . 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.).— . . “A scent of sweet savour.”— . “A technical term according to Sirach 32:9” (Hpt[69].).— . Cf.Romans 12:1 ff., which bears closely upon the whole passage.

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

[67] Neue Bibelstudien

[68] Chrysostom.

[69] Haupt.

 

 

Verse 19

Philippians 4:19. . . . God’s treatment of them corresponds to their treatment of Paul. They had ministered to his . so that he could say . 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 ( ) every need of yours.”— 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 in Ephesians 1:18, and repeatedly both in nominative, genitive and accusative singular. Modern Greek uses , , sometimes with , sometimes with . LXX generally has .— . 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 ( ), to think of it as the future Messianic glory which Paul believed to be so near (so Lft[71]., Kl[72]., etc.).

[70]. Weiss.

[71] Lightfoot.

[72]. Klöpper.

 

 

Verse 20

Philippians 4:20. Doxology. Doxologia fluit ex gaudio totius epistolae (Beng.). On the phrase . 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.— . . These words are to be taken in close connexion with . Cf.1 Corinthians 16:19, .— . 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. . 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.— . . 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.

[73] especially.

[74]. Sanday and Headlam (Romans).

[75]. Sanday and Headlam (Romans).

 

 

Verse 23

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

[76] Meyer.

 

 

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