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Faithful ministers of Christ habitually pray for the spiritual prosperity of his people; and when his people so live as to honor him, it gives his ministers exceeding joy.
For your fellowship in the gospel ; more literally, for your fellowship unto, or towards the gospel; in other words, your common interest and fellowship in the work of promoting it.
From the first day ; of your faith.
He ; God.
Perform it ; carry it on to perfection, finish it, as in the margin.
The day of Jesus Christ ; of his coming to judgment.
Because I have you in my heart ; the marginal rendering, "because ye have me in your heart," best suits the context, their affection for the apostle being to him one of the proofs that God had begun a good work in them.
My grace ; the grace of being allowed to suffer for Christ and labor in the defence and confirmation of his gospel, as just stated. Compare verse Philippians 1:29 , where suffering for Christ is regarded as a gift of God; and Ephesians 3:8 , where preaching the gospel is spoken of as a grace and a gift.
Long after you ; to see you and promote your benefit.
The bowels of Jesus Christ ; tender regard for you such as Christ himself feels.
Judgment ; discernment in spiritual things. The apostle will have the love of believers enlightened and discerning.
Approve things that are excellent ; or, try things that differ, for the purpose of approving the good and rejecting the evil.
Every thing good in men is the fruit of the Holy Spirit; and where he has begun his work in their hearts, teaching them to practise piety towards God and righteousness towards men, we may confidently expect that he will carry it forward, through faith and obedience, till they are perfect in glory.
The things which happened unto me ; my imprisonment, and all the circumstances connected with it.
My bonds in Christ ; see note to Ephesians 3:1 .
Are manifest ; are made known, not simply as bonds, but as bonds in Christ.
In all the palace ; in the original it is, in all the praetorium; by which is to be understood the praetorian camp, that is, the camp of the emperor’s body-guards.
Waxing confident ; by seeing how God supported Paul, and gave efficacy to his preaching, even in his bonds.
Envy and strife ; envy of the influence of Paul, and for the purpose of raising up a party hostile to him. They were manifestly the same class of preachers who disparaged his influence at Corinth, and sought to supplant him in the affections of the church.
In pretence ; such as the false teachers employed, covering up their base designs of self-exaltation under a show of zeal for Christ.
To my salvation ; the apostle’s salvation in the widest sense. Compare Romans 8:28 .
With all boldness ; while I exercise all boldness in the gospel, being assured that all things will work together for good to me and Christ’s church through me.
In my body ; in that which befalls my body. The efforts of the wicked to injure the righteous and hinder the success of the gospel, God overrules for the good of his people; so that in nothing need they be discouraged, but with meekness and calmness may go forward, rejoicing that whether they live or die, Christ will be honored and his cause triumph.
Is Christ ; his great object was the glory of Christ, and the favor of Christ was his chief joy.
To die is gain ; it would be more for his happiness than to continue on earth.
This is the fruit of my labor ; this is the way in which my labor can bear fruit for the good of men.
In a strait betwixt two ; strongly drawn two different ways.
having a desire to depart ; more literally, having my desire towards departing, as that way of the two which is far better ; better as respects my personal enjoyment of Christ.
This confidence ; that his longer continuance on earth would be more for their benefit.
Your conversation ; your conduct and intercourse of life.
An evident token ; the sustaining presence of God which he grants you, shows that he will save you and destroy those who continue to oppose you.
It is given ; given as a privilege. Compare 1 Peter 4:13-60.4.14 .
In the behalf of Christ ; for the purpose of honoring him. By enduring trials with a proper spirit, believers honor Christ as really as by active labors; and they have no more just reason to complain or be discontented when he visits them with adversity, than when he crowns them with prosperity; for in both he consults his glory, their highest good, and the good of his cause.
Conflict ; with the enemies of the gospel.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Philippians 1". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany