Lectionary Calendar
Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Philippians 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

1) "Finally, my brethren" (to loipon, adelphoi mou) "For the rest or remaining my brethren," as you approach what I am yet to write, Philippians 3:13-14; Hebrews 12:1-2.

2) "Rejoice in the Lord" (chairete en kurio) "rejoice ye in the Lord." This book is one of rejoicing in the Lord, Luke 10:20; Luke 15:24; Luke 15:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

3) "To write the same things to you" (ta auta graphein humin) "The same things in kind or nature to write to you," to remember to do the works of the Spirit, keep on serving God whether He was present with or absent from them, 2 Peter 1:12-15; 2 Peter 3:1.

4) "To me indeed is not grievous" (enoi men ouk okneron) "For me (is) surely not irksome," whether instruction was pleasant or unpleasant in nature Paul found it not in him to hold back from giving it. 1 John 5:3; 2 Timothy 4:1-2.

5) "But for you it is safe" (humin de asphales) "But for you all (it is) safe, the proper thing to do, Acts 20:28-29; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 1:7-11.

Verse 2

1) "Beware of dogs," (blepete tous kunas) "Look to or toward, keep your eyes on the dogs," the two-legged-kind, human jackals, Isaiah 56:10-11; Galatians 5:15; Matthew 7:6.

2) "Beware of evil workers," (blepete tous kakous ergatas) ’Keep your eyes on or open toward evil workmen," 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Matthew 7:15-17.

3) "Beware of the concision" (blepete ten katatomen) "Look to or toward, beware of the concision;" the formal, ceremonial, self-righteous lawkeepers, Galatians 5:1-3. These of the concision thought erroneously that one could be saved through outward circumcision. Galatians 6:12-13.

Verse 3

1) "For we are the circumcision" (hemeis gar esmen he peritome) "For we exist as the circumcision," the true seed of Abraham, the saved who have the circumcision of the heart, our hearts purified by faith in Jesus Christ, Acts 15:9; Romans 2:29.

2) "Which worship God in the Spirit" (hoi pneumati theou latreuontes) "The one worshipping by or in (the) Spirit of God." John 4:24; John 6:63; 1 John 4:13; Romans 8:14-16.

3) "And rejoice in Jesus Christ" (kai kauchomenoi en Christon leson) "Even rejoicing or boasting in Christ Jesus." Galatians 6:14; Philippians 4:4; John 15:11.

4) "And have no confidence in the flesh" (kai ouk en sarki pepoithotes) "And not trusting in the flesh." John 1:13; Colossians 2:11; Colossians 2:23; Judges 1:23.

Verse 4


1) “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh" (kaiper ego echon pepoithesin) "Even though I might have or hold trust in the natural man," the flesh, a common depraved ground for fleshly rejoicing or boasting.

2) "If any other man thinketh" (ei tis dokei allos) "if anyone else thinks or presumed to trust in the flesh," Romans 3:1-3; Romans 4:9-12.

3) "That he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh" (pepoithenai en sarki) "to trust in (the) flesh," 2 Corinthians 11:18-22.

4) "I more" (ego mallon) "I (even) more"; 2 Corinthians 11:5; Galatians 5:6. Men have always been saved through faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ; without circumcision in the flesh, and without ceremonies or deeds of the law as means or methods for acquiring righteousness with and justification before God, Romans 4:1-4; Romans 11:6.

Verse 5

1) "Circumcised the eighth day" (peristome Okatemeros) "In circumcision (the) eighth day," a fleshly seal of the seed of Abraham, Genesis 17:12-14; Romans 2:25-29.

2) "Of the stock of Israel" (ek genous Israel) "out of (the) stock or race of Israel,” offspring of Jacob whose name was (changed to Israel) Genesis 32:28.

3) "Of the tribe of Benjamin" (phules Beniamin) out of (the) tribe of Benjamin" one of the two most famous tribes of Israel, along with Judah. This tribe descended from Rachel, Jacob’s best loved wife and remained true to the house of David.

4) "An Hebrew of the Hebrews" (Ebraios eks Ebraion) An Hebrew out of Hebrew (parents)," a phrase meaning of unmixed blood with other races or tribes, 2 Corinthians 11:22.

5) "As touching the law, a Pharisee;" (kata namon pharisaios)- "according to (the) law, a Pharisee;" one of the most scrupulous of the orthodox sects of the Jews. Acts 22:1-3; Acts 26:4-5.

Verse 6

1) "Concerning zeal" (kata zelos) "by way of zeal," Paul was a zealot, Acts 8:1-3; Acts 9:1-2; 1 Corinthians 15:9.

2) "Persecuting the church," (diokon ten ekklesian) persecuting the Church," Galatians 1:13-14; Acts 26:9-11. Paul later affirmed that his zealous persecution of Christians was done in ignorance and unbelief, that is ignorance of the gravity or wickedness of his deed, 1 Timothy 1:11.

3) "Touching the righteousness which is in the law" kata dikaiosunen ten en nomon) "according to righteousness which (is set forth) in (the) law" ceremonial righteousness and flesh righteousness, which are as "filthy rags," in the sight of the Holy God, Isaiah 64:6-7; Matthew 19:17-20; Matthew 5:27-28.

4) "Blameless" (genomenos amemptos) "being in a state or condition, blameless, in the sight of men; but ignorant in the sight of God. Romans 10:1-4.

Verse 7


1) "But what things were gain to me" (alla hatina en moi kerde) “But what things were gain to me," in the flesh in important Jewish prerogatives, positions of honor, and advantages.

2) "Those I counted loss for Christ" (tauta hegemai diaton Christon zemian) "I have deemed (as) loss on account of Christ;" Paul would not mix worldly advantages, worldly gain, and worldly fame, but laid all aside for the honor of serving Jesus Christ and his Church, Luke 9:23; Matthew 6:24.

Verse 8

1) "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss" (alla menoun ge kai hegoumai panta zenian) "But rather or instead, I also deem all things (as a loss)" (einai) "to be" of earthly gain, honor, position, and fame, as empty, vain, or worthless in comparison with possessing and being possessed by Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

2) "For the excellency of the knowledge of Chris Jesus my Lord" (dia to huperechon tes gnoseos Christou lesou tou kuriou moi) "On account of (because of) the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord," the supreme thing which consists in the knowledge of Christ, the wisdom and righteousness of God, 1 Corinthians 1:30; Proverbs 1:7.

3) "For whom I have suffered the loss of all things" (di on ta panta ezemiothen) "on account of whom I suffered or experienced loss of all things, (pertaining to the flesh)," when he received Jesus Christ as his Savior and Master, Mark 8:34-37; Mark 10:28-30; Romans 8:1.

4) "And do count them but dung" (kai hegounai skubala) "and deem (them) refuse," as the remains, left over of a banquet, to be cast away as garbage refuse, James 4:4.

5) "That I may win Christ" (hina Christon kerdeso) "in order that I might gain Christ" the continual fellowship of Jesus Christ or experience continuing fellowship with him, John 15:4.

Verse 9

1) "And be found in him" (kai heuretho en auto) and that I may be found in him" united to and working for him, Ephesians 2:10. The revelation of true character through devotion to Christ

2) "Not having my own righteousness (me echon emen dikarosunen) "not having or holding my (flesh) righteousness" my own flesh-like or carnal righteousness, of an outward legal nature or kind, Titus 3:5.

3) "Which is of the law" (ten ek nomon) "The kind which is regulated out of the law," Romans 10:3; Romans 10:5; Romans 4:14; Romans 3:21-22; 1 Timothy 1:8-9.

4) "But that which is through the faith of Christ” (alla ten dia pisteos Christou) "but, in contrast, the righteousness which exists through faith of Christ", originating from God’s initiative gift by which one exercises belief or trust in Christ, Hebrews 11:6; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-12; 1 John 5:1.

5) "The righteousness which is of God by Faith" (ten ek theou dikarosunen epi te pistei) "The righteousness out of God, imparted, based on the faith or trust" in Jesus Christ, John 1:13; John 8:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; Romans 4:5-8; This righteousness, imparted to believers in salvation, enables them to live a separated, sanctified, life of holiness and service.

Verse 10

1) "That I may know him" (tou gnonai auton) “to know him personally, practically, and experimentally in life.

2) "And the power of his resurrection" (kai ten dunamin tes anastaseos) "And the power of the resurrection" of him, Romans 6:3; Colossians 3:1-2.

3) "And the fellowship of his sufferings" (kai koinonian pathematon autou) "And the common fellowship of his sufferings" 1 Peter 4:13; 2 Timothy 2:11.

4) "Being made conformable unto his death" (summorphi-zomenos to thanato autou) "being conformed, patterned according to, his death", in purpose, devotion, and commitment.

Verse 11

1) "If by any means I might attain" (ei pos katanteso) "If somehow I may attain to" to or toward the resurrection-likeness of Christ, the first-fruits of the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; Luke 14:14.

2) "Unto the resurrection of the dead" (eis ten eksanastasin ten ek nekron) "to or unto the outstanding resurrection from the dead corpses," John 5:29; Romans 8:11. Paul expressed an expectation of, not living until Jesus comes, but living and dying for his service and experiencing a resurrection of like nature as that of his Lord, in the first resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:21-23; 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Verse 12

1) "Not as though I had already attained" (ouch hoti ede elabon) "not that already I received" or I do not mean that I have already received-a state of complete likeness to the Lord. Romans 7:18; 1 John 1:8-9.

2) "Either were already perfect" (e ede teleleiomai) or have already been perfected" Romans 7:21. Our Lord admonished his disciples to "be perfect" in a state of maturity or holiness, Matthew 5:48. Anything less would have given sanction to sin or imperfection.

3) "But I follow after, if that I may apprehend" (dioko de ei kai katalabo) "But I go on, pursue perfection, maturity, if even I may lay hold on," seek and find, pursue and overtake it, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2; Paul was pressing forward in the way of Divine life, 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:1; Hebrews 12:14-15.

4) "That for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (eph ho kai katelemphthen hupo Christou lesou) "Inasmuch as I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus"; Jesus saves one with view to a purpose, that of ones glorifying God in his life. 1 Corinthians 10:31; Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 3:21.


The artist that is satisfied with his transcript of his ideal will not grow any more. There is a touching story told of a modern sculptor who was found standing in front of his masterpiece, sunk in sad reverie, and when they asked him why he was so sad, "Because," he answered, "I am satisfied with it" "I have embodied," he would say, "all that I can think or feel. There it is. And because there is no discord between what I dream and what I can do, I feel that the limit of my growth is reached."


Verse 13

1) "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended" (adelphoi) "I reckon not yet myself to have laid hold, brethren" (ego hemauton oupo logizomai kateilephenai). This is a personal concession of a lowly position of perfection to which Paul had come, lest some brethren at Philippi should presume themselves to have already achieved, to their hurt of influence and testimony, James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6.

2) "But this one thing I do" (en de) "the things on the other hand;" It is bet say, "This one thing I do" than a "dozen things I dabble at" Those who succeed in life usually major at, are wholly given to, at least one primary thing in life’s efforts; David was so committed, Psalms 27:4; Mark 10:21. Mary chose the one thing most important in life, Luke 10:41-42.

3) "Forgetting those things which are behind" (ta men opiso epilanthanomenos) "The things on the one hand behind, past, forgetting, putting aside" things that to remember would obstruct, hinder, or hold one back in the Lord, no longer trusting in them, positions of popularity, pride, and worldly advantage--not looking back on the racetrack where one has already run.

4) "And reaching forth unto those things which a before" (tois de emposthen epekteinomenos) "yet the things before, on the other hand, stretching to or toward" like a runner in the final goal stretch of a race, stretching forth with head, neck, and body wholly pressing to the goal", Hebrews 12:2.

Verse 14

1) "I press toward the mark" (kata skopon doko) "I, leaning forward, follow according to a mark," standard; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1. The race of life to be run is a marathon, for life, not an hundred yard dash, Revelation 2:10.

2) "For the prize" (eis to Brabeion) "with relation to the prize." The prize is not salvation, eternal life, itself, but it is a special award which the Lord will give to those who faithfully run the race of an obedient life of service to Christ to the end, 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

3) "Of the high calling of God" (tes ano kleseos tou theau) “of the calling (from) above of God;" to a crown of life, pertaining to a life of faithful service to the end, 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Peter 5:10. Each believer is called to the High calling, to hear a "well done," for faithful service, whether he have one or ten talents, Matthew 25:15; Revelation 22:12.

4) "In Christ Jesus" (en Christo lesou) "in Jesus Christ" Salvation’s call is universal, to the Corporate human race, including all, excluding none. One’s being "in Christ," "in his Son," is conditioned on his personal, voluntary, volitional choice of Jesus Christ as his personal Savior in time, John 1:11-12; John 3:16; John 3:18; John 8:24; 1 John 5:1. The high calling of God to service, in and through the Church, by Christ Jesus, is to all who will obey in:

a) hearing – Romans 10:17;

b) repenting – Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Corinthians 7:10.

c) believing to salvation (Then) – John 3:14-16; John 18; John 5:24; Ephesians 2:8-9.

d) ’Being baptized to prepare to walk the new life in and through the Church, which he loved and purchased with his own blood, Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25; Ephesians 3:21.

Verse 15

1) "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect" (hosoi oun teleioi)’as many as therefore are perfect or mature" or passed beyond the rudimentary doctrines, principles of the Word; Hebrews 5:14. Let us who have spiritual maturity of self-control, discipline, a grasp of the Word and doctrine, pursue faithful witnessing, sacrifice, and service for Christ, a walk of unity, Ephesians 4:1-4.

2) "Be thus minded" (touto phronomen) let us think this way or in this manner, be of this disposition to keep keeping on, running the Christian race, without looking back or fainting, Hebrews 6:1-3; Galatians 6:9; James 5:7-8.

3) "And if in anything ye be otherwise minded" (kai ei ti heteros; phroneite) "and if ye anything, otherwise, or of a different order ye think" Colossians 2:6-7; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 12:1-3. Let each walk in the mind of Christ, with the standards of Christ, as his moral, ethical, and spiritual goals, Philippians 2:5-7; John 8:12; 2 Peter 3:18.

4) "God shall reveal even this unto you," (kai touto ho theos humin apokalupsei), "God will even uncover, unveil, or reveal even this to you all" through his Word and spirit, 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 John 4:1-3; John 5:39; Ephesians 5:16-18.

Verse 16

1) "Nevertheless whereto we have already attained" (plen eis ho ephthasamen) "Nevertheless to what we (have) arrived or attained." The past has lessons through the degree of Christian growth in the past 1 Corinthians 10:6; 2 Peter 1:4-11.

2) "Let us walk by the same rule" (to auto stoicheis) "by or to the same let us walk," agreement in things known, that faithfulness and perseverance in the work of the Lord is not in vain, 1 Corinthians 15:58.

3) "Let us mind the same thing ’ or be concerned, give attention to the things that have made us grow in the Lord in the past Note: This phrase is not found in some of the most ancient manuscripts--the RV omits it. The translation is an interpolation.’

Verse 17


1) “Brethren, be followers together of me," (summimetai mou ginesthe adelphoi) "Brethren be ye fellow-or colleague- imitators of me," as Paul followed Christ and kept his ordinances he admonished church brethren to follow him in Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2.

2) "And mark them which walk" (kai skopeite tous houto peripatountas) "and mark the ones thus walking," such as Epaphroditus, their own church missionary and Clement, brethren close to them and fellowhelpers of Paul, Philippians 4:3.

3) "So as ye have us for an ensample" (kathos echete tupon hemas) "Just as ye have us (as) an example or type" a pattern, as a "seal" or "stamp," made by a die, in sealing, certifying authenticity, as a notary, corporate, or government seal, a certification of authenticity. Thus, they were to conduct themselves, walk in the Christian way as Paul and his Missionary workers had done, Philippians 4:9; 1 Peter 5:3.

Verse 18

1) “For many walk" (polloi gar peripatousin) Because many walk around, conduct themselves,” behave themselves in moral and ethical ways offensive to Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 6:6-8; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

2) "Of Whom I have told you often," (.hous pollakis elegon humin) "of whom often I said or stated," as the carnal Corinthians had walked in error, morally, ethically, and doctrinally, even denying the resurrection of the dead; often carnal men deny the resurrection of the dead; often carnal men deny the resurrection and Divine judgment for sin to try to avoid the eventual consequences of their own sins, 1 Corinthians 15:12.

3) "And now tell you even weeping," (nun de kai klaion lego) "and now and hereafter I say weeping." This mature, aged apostle was tender and compassionate regarding those who had attempted to lead young Church members away from doctrines. and principles of Christ; in severe words of warning of Divine judgment and at the same time with tears of care, he often wrote Church brethren, Romans 10:1-4; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Galatians 1:6-9.

4) "That they are the enemies of the cross of Christ" (tous echthrous tou staurou tou Christou) "They (are) enemies of the cross of Christ" Galatians 3:1; Titus 1:10-12; 2 Timothy 2:16-18; 1 Timothy 1:18-20.

Verse 19

1) "Whose end is destruction" (hon to telos apoleia) of whom the end, (pay off) (is) destruction," 2 Peter 2:1-2; The end of such false prophets and deceivers is perdition, hell; religious rebels against Divine truth end, find a destiny in hell, as surely as the irreligious rebel, Matthew 7:22-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

2) "Whose God is their belly" (hon ho theos hekoilia) "Whose God is the belly" of gluttony, slow-bellies, (lard- belly - gluttons) as the heathen Cretians called one another, Titus 1:12-14. The aim of their life was gluttony and food-greed, Romans 16:17-18.

3) "And whose glory is in their shame" (kai he doksa en aischune of them) "and whose (occasion of) glory is (to) their shame," The object of their present glory leads to eternal shame, which presently understood, should bring a sense of guilt and shame to call them to repentance, Romans 2:4-6; 2 Corinthians 7-10.

4) "Who mind earthly things" (hoi ta epigeia phronountes) "Even those thinking continually (of) the earthly things." Their minds are fixed, glued onto things earthly, sensual, demonish, which lead to destruction of life and soul, Titus 1:11; Romans 8:6-7; 2 Peter 2:9-22.

Verse 20

1) "For our conversation is in heaven" (hemon gar to politeuma en ouranois huparchei) "Because our citizenship exists in the heavens;" where ones citizenship is, is his homeland --a piece, a part of heaven, belongs to every saved person. John 14:1-3. Jesus has provided and made appropriate reservation for every saint in heaven, 1 Peter 1:3-5; Ephesians 2:6.

2) "From whence also we look for the Saviour" (eks hou kai sotera apekdechometha) "From where we even tarry or await a Saviour deliverer." The personal return of Jesus from heaven to the earth to bring forth the resurrection of the righteous dead for the reunion of body and soul, the putting down of sin, establishing his righteous rule over all the earth, and effecting a new heaven and new earth is a valid expectation of the church and true believers, Deuteronomy 30:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Acts 1:9-11.

3) "The Lord Jesus Christ:" (kurion lesson Christon) "(who -is -the) Lord Jesus Christ:" Jesus is not only Saviour or "deliverer" of the soul from eternal wrath but also from ruin and the grave to reunion of life without cessation in a new body of glory, fitted for a position, place, and service of usefulness and honor for coming ages of the Millennium, and heavenlies, without cessation or end of time and being; this is the fuller import or meaning of the Bible term saved or "redeemed", with its Biblical implications, affirmations, and declarations, Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 1:13.

Verse 21

1) "Who will change" (hos metaschernatisei) "who will change, or alter the schematic" The body of the saved is to be transformed from weakness to power, at the resurrection and coming of Jesus Christ in the air, 1 Corinthians 15:43-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Job 19:25. Nothing less satisfies the hopes, longings, faith, and expectation of the redeemed of the ages, based upon specific Divine prophesies, promises, and pledges.

2) "Our vile body" (to soma tes tapeinoeos hemon) of our body of humiliation vileness," or corruption, now bound and burdened by depravity and sin to earthly limitations, suffering and death, but then set free, James 1:15; Hebrews 9:27; 1 Corinthians 15:54.

3) "That it may be fashioned" (summorphon) making it conformed" or in harmony or symmetry, patterned after or according to, Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

4) "Like unto his glorious body" (to somati tes doksas autou) "to or toward the body of his glory," the glorified likeness of our Lord’s own resurrected body; 1 John 3:2; Colossians 3:4; The dazzle of his transformation preview appearance caused Peter, James, and John to fall before him --What Glory! Luke 9:28-35.

5) "According to the working whereby he is able" (kata ten energeian tou dunasthai auton) "according to the operation of his dynamic power", strange power, complete power, irresistible power, to the extent even Satan can not prevent our Lord’s effecting in his own, the pledge of his seal to the glorified bodily resurrection, Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30-32.

6) "Even to subdue all things unto himself" (kai hupotaksai auto ta panta) "Even to subject or put under all things to himself," the body is only one thing under subjection to him, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Psalms 8:6. This is the Divine goal in the Salvation of man and the universe--complete obedience, subjection and honor to Jesus Christ and his Father.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Philippians 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/philippians-3.html. 1985.
Ads FreeProfile