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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Philippians 3

Verse 1

1 .] He appears to have been closing his Epistle ( τὸ λοιπόν , and reff.), but to have again gone off, on the vehement mention of the Judaizers, into an explanation of his strong term κατατομή . Chrys., al., find a connexion with the foregoing, but it is farfetched ( ἔχετε Ἐπαφρ ., δι ʼ ὃν ἤλγειτε , ἔχετε Τιμόθ ., ἔρχομαι κἀγώ . τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἐπιδίδωσι · τί ὑμῖν λείπει λοιπόν ;): the sense is evidently closed with ch. 3:30.

τὰ αὐτά ] It seems to me that Wiesinger has rightly apprehended the reference of this somewhat difficult sentence. The χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ , taken up again by the οὕτως στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ , ch. Philippians 4:1 , is evidently put here emphatically, with direct reference to the warning which follows let your joy (your boast) be in the Lord . And this same exhortation, χαίρειν , is in fact the groundtone of the whole Epistle. See ch. Philippians 1:18 ; Philippians 1:25 ; Philippians 2:17 ; Philippians 4:4 , where the πάλιν ἐρῶ seems to refer back again to this saying. So that there is no difficulty in imagining that the Apostle may mean χαίρετε by the τὰ αὐτά . The word ἀσφαλές is no objection to this: because the χαίρ . ἐν κυρ . is in fact an introduction to the warning which follows: a provision, by upholding the antagonist duty, against their falling into deceit. And thus all the speculation, whether τὰ αὐτά refer to a lost Epistle, or to words uttered ( γράφειν ?) when he was with them, falls to the ground. And the inference from Polycarp’s words in his Epistle to these Philippians, § 3, p. 1008, ὃς καὶ ἀπὼν ὑμῖν ἔγραψεν ἐπιστολάς , may be a true one, but does not belong here.

ὀκνηρόν ] troublesome: Mey. quotes from Plato, Ep. ii. 310 D, τἀληθῆ λέγειν οὔτε ὀκνήσω οὔτε αἰσχυνοῦμαι .

Verses 1-21


Verse 2

2 .] βλέπετε , not, ‘ beware of ,’ as E. V. ( βλ . ἀπό , Mar 8:15 reff.), but as in reff., observe , with a view to avoid: cf. σκοπεῖν , Romans 16:17 .

τοὺς κύνας ] profane, impure persons. The appellation occurs in various references; but in the Jewish usage of it, uncleanness was the prominent idea: see, besides reff., Deuteronomy 23:18 ; Isaiah 56:10-11 ; Matthew 15:26-27 . The remark of Chrys. is worth noting in connexion with what follows: οὐκέτι τέκνα Ἰουδαῖοι . ποτὲ οἱ ἐθνικοὶ τοῦτο ἐκαλοῦντο , νῦν δὲ ἐκεῖνοι . But I would not confine it entirely to them, as the next clause certainly generalizes further.

τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτας ] cf. δόλιοι ἐργάται , 2 Corinthians 11:13 , ἐργάτην ἀνεπαίσχυντον , 2 Timothy 2:15 , ἐργάζονται μὲν γὰρ , φησιν , ἀλλ ʼ ἑπὶ κακῷ . By ἐργάτας , he seems to point out persons who actually wrought , and professedly for the Gospel, but who were ‘evil workmen,’ not mere ‘ evil-doers .’

τ . κατατομήν ] ‘gloriosam appellationem περιτομῆς , circumcisionis, vindicat Christianis .’ Beng.

Observe the (I will not say, circumcision, but mere) CONcision (‘ amputation :’ who have no true circumcision of heart, but merely the cutting off of the flesh. Mey. quotes from Diog. Laert. vi. 24, of Diogenes the Cynic, τὴν Εὐκλείδου σχολὴν ἔλεγε χολήν , τὴν δὲ Πλάτωνος διατριβὴν κατατριβήν . Cf. Gal 5:12 note. On the thrice repeated article, Erasmus says, ‘indicat, eum de certis quibusdam loqui, quos illi noverint’):

Verse 3

3 .] for WE are the περι τομή , the real CIRCUMcision (whether bodily circumcised, or not there would be among them some of both sorts: see Romans 2:25 ; Romans 2:29 ; Col 2:11 ), who serve (pay religious service and obedience) by the Spirit of God (cf. John 4:23-24 . The dative is instrumental, Romans 8:13 , expressing the agent, whereby our service is rendered: see Romans 5:5 ; Romans 8:14 ; Romans 12:1 ; Hebrews 9:14 . The emphasis is on it: for both profess a λατρεία . The θεοῦ is expressed for solemnity), and glory in (stress on καυχώμενοι , are not ashamed of Him and seek our boast in circumcision, or the law, but make our boast in Him) Christ Jesus, and trust not in the flesh (stress on ἐν σαρκί ‘but, in the Spirit in our union with Christ’).

Verse 4

4 .] Although (see Hartung, Partik. i. 340: πίθου γυναιξί , καίπερ οὐ στέργων , ὅμως , Æsch. Theb. 709: προσεκύνησαν , καίπερ εἰδότες , ὅτι ἐπὶ θανάτῳ ἄγοιτο , Xen. Anab. i. 6. 10) I (emphatic. There is no ellipsis, but the construction is regular, καίπερ , as in the above examples, having a participle after it: had it been καίπερ ἔχοντες , this would have been universally seen: now, only one of the οὐ πεποιθότες , viz. ἐγώ , is made the exception; but the construction is the same) have (not, ‘ might have ,’ as E. V. I have it, but do not choose to make use of it: I have it, in the flesh, but I am still of the number of the οὐ πεποιθότες , in spirit) confidence (not, ‘ ground of confidence ,’ as Beza, Calv., Grot., &c.: there is no need to soften the assertion, see above: nor, with Van Hengel, to understand it of the unconverted state of the Apostle) also (over and above) in the flesh. If any other man thinks ( δοκεῖ is certainly, as De W., Wiesinger, al., and reff., of his own judgment of himself , not of other men’s judgment of him, as Meyer, al.: for how can other men’s judging of the fact of his having confidence be in place here? But it is his own judgment of the existence of the πεποίθησιν ἔχειν which is here in comparison) he has confidence in the flesh, I more :

Verse 5

5 .] “predicates of the ἐγώ , justifying the ἐγὼ μᾶλλον ,” Meyer. He compares himself with them in three particulars: 1. pure Jewish extraction: 2. legal exactitude and position: 3. legal zeal. In circumcision (i.e. ‘as regards circumcision:’ reff. Many (Erasm., Beng., all.) have taken περιτ . as nominative, and understood it concrete, ‘ circumcisus ,’ but wrongly, for the usage applies only collectively, see Winer, edn. 3 (not in edn. 6), § 31. 3), of eight days (Genesis 17:12 ; as distinguished from those who, as proselytes, were circumcised in after life. For usage, see reff.), of the race, of Israel (cf. Romans 11:1 ; 2 Corinthians 11:22 , οὔτε μὴν ἐκ προσηλύτων γεγέννημαι , ἀλλὰ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ αὐχῶ πρόγονον . Thdrt.), of the tribe of Benjamin ( ὥστε τοῦ δοκιμωτέρου μέρους , Chrys.: or perhaps as Calv., merely ‘ut moris erat, singulos ex sua tribu censeri’), an Hebrew, of Hebrews (i.e. from Hebrew parents and ancestry (which the word parents was of course meant to imply in my earlier editions: not, as Ellic., to limit the assertion to St. Paul’s father and mother) on both sides: ἐντεῦθεν δείκνυσιν ὅτι οὐχὶ προσήλυτος , ἀλλ ʼ ἄνωθεν τῶν εὐδοκίμων Ἰουδαίων . ἐνῆν μὲν γὰρ εἶναι τοῦ Ἰσραήλ , ἀλλ ʼ οὐχ Ἑβραῖον ἐξ Ἑβραίων . πολλοὶ γὰρ καὶ διέφθειρον ἤδη τὸ πρᾶγμα , καὶ τῆς γλώσσης ἦσαν ἀμύητοι , ἑτέροις μεμιγμένοι ἔθνεσιν . Chrys.: see also Trench, Synonyms, § xxxix. p. 153 ff. So Demosth. adv. Androt. p. 614, δούλους ἐκ δούλων καλῶν ἑαυτοῦ βελτίους κ . ἐκ βελτιόνων : see other examples in Kypke and Wetst.), as regards the law (with reference to relative legal position and observance), a Pharisee (cf. Acts 23:6 ; Act 26:5 ), as regards zeal (for the law), a persecutor of the church (of Christ: on the participle, see ref.: Ellic. holds the pres. part. to have an adjectival force, being predicate to a suppressed verb subst.), as regards righteousness which is in (as its element: consists in the keeping of) the law, become blameless (i.e. having carried this righteousness so far as to have become perfect in it, in the sight of men. Calvin well distinguishes between the real and apparent righteousness in the law the former before God, never possessed by any man: the latter before men, here spoken of by Paul: ‘erat ergo hominum judicio sanctus, et immunis ab omni reprehensione. Rara sane laus, et prope singularis: videamus tamen quanti eam fecerit’).

Verse 7

7 .] But whatsoever things (emphatic (cf. ταῦτα below) and general: these above mentioned, and all others. The law itself is not included among them, but only his κέρδη from this and other sources) were to me gains (different kinds of gain: cf. Herod. iii. 71, περιβαλλόμενος ἑωυτῷ κέρδεα , these (emphatic) I have esteemed, for Christ’s sake (see it explained below, Php 3:8-9 ), as loss (“ this one LOSS he saw in all of which he speaks: hence no longer the plural, as before κέρδη .” Meyer. Ellicott remarks that the singular is regularly used in this formula, referring to Kypke and Elsner in loc. But the reason of this usage in analogous to that given above, and not surely lest ζημίαι should be mistaken to mean “punishments.” Thus, in the instance from Xen. in Kypke, ἐπὶ μὲν τοῖς οἰκέταις ἀχθομένους καὶ ζημίαν ἡγουμένους , the separate deaths of the servants are all massed together, and the loss thought of as one ).

Verse 8

8 .] But moreover (not only have I once for all passed this judgment, but I continue to count , &c. The contrast is of the present ἡγοῦμαι to ἥγημαι above) I also continue to esteem them all (not, all things , which would require πάντα or τὰ πάντα (see below) before ἡγοῦμαι , emphatic) to be loss on account of the supereminence (above them all: τοῦ γὰρ ἡλίου φανέντος , προσκαθῆσθαι τῷ λύχνῳ ζημία . Chrys. On the neuter adjective (or participle) construction, see ref. and 2Co 4:17 ) of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (‘quod Dominum suum vocat, id ad exprimendam affectus vehementiam facit.’ Calv.), on whose account (explained by ἵνα … below) I suffered the loss of ALL THINGS (now, emphatic and universal. Or, it may be, “them all,” as Ellic.: but this almost involves a tautology; and, besides, τὰ πάντα stands too far from ἅτινα for the τά to be reflexive), and esteem them to be refuse, that I may (by so disesteeming them: ἵνα gives the aim of what went before) gain Christ (not, as the rationalizing Grot., ‘Christi favorem:’ no indeed, it is Christ Himself, His perfect image, His glorious perfection, which he wishes to win. He has Him now, but not in full: this can only be when his course is finished, and to this time the next words allude) and be found (now, and especially at His coming, ‘evadam:’ not as Calv., ‘Paulum renuntiasse omnibus … ut recuperaret (urgrammatical) in Christo.’ Cf. ref. 2 Cor.) in Him (living and being, and included, in Him as my element), not having (specification of εὑρ . ἐν αὐτῷ , but not to be joined, as Lachm., al., with ἐν αὐτῷ , which would make this latter superfluous) my own righteousness (see on Php 3:6 ) which is of (arising from) the law, but that which is through (as its medium) the faith of (in) Christ (a construction of this sentence has been suggested to me, which is perhaps possible, and at all events deserves mention.

It consists in making ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην predicative; “not having as my righteousness that righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ”), the righteousness which is of (answering to ἐκ νόμου , as its source, see Eph 2:8 ) God on my faith (built on, grounded on, granted on condition of, my faith. It is more natural to take ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει with δικαιοσύνην , which it immediately follows, than with Meyer to understand another ἔχων to attach it to. The omission of the article is no objection, but is very frequent, where the whole expression is joined as one idea. Chrys., al., join ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει with τοῦ γνῶναι , as if it were τοῦ ἐπὶ τ . π . γνῶναι , which of course is unallowable: Calv., Grot., Bengel, make the infinitive τοῦ γνῶναι dependent on πίστει (“describit vim et naturam fidei, quod scilicet sit Christi cognitio.” Calv.), which is also inadmissible, for πίστις , as Mey. observes, is never joined with a genitive article and infinitive: and when with a genitive, not the nature but the object of faith is described by it),

Verse 10

10 .] (aim and employment of this righteousness, taking up again the ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως , Philippians 3:8 . De W., al., treat τοῦ γν . as parallel with ἵνα κερδήσω , κ . τ . λ . But as Mey. remarks, it is no real parallel, for there is more in ἵνα χρ . κερδήσω &c. than in τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτόν &c. Besides, thus the process of thought is disturbed, in which, from ἵνα to ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει answers to διὰ τὸν χριστόν above, and from τοῦ γν . to νεκρῶν answers to διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τ . γνώσεως αὐτοῦ . See a similar construction, Rom 6:6 ), in order to know Him (know, in that fulness of experimental knowledge, which is only wrought by being like Him), and (not = ‘ that is to say :’ but additional: His Person, and … and …) the power of His resurrection (i.e. not ‘ the power by which He was raised ,’ but the power which His resurrection exercises on believers in assuring them of their justification, Romans 4:25 ; 1 Corinthians 15:17 ; mostly however here, from the context which goes on to speak of conformity with His sufferings and death, in raising them with Him , cf. Romans 6:4 ; Col 2:12 ), and the participation of His sufferings (which is the necessitating condition of being brought under the power of His resurrection, see as above, and 2Ti 2:11 ), being conformed (the nominative is an anacoluthon, belonging to τοῦ γνῶναι , and referring, as often, to the logical subject) to His Death (it does not appear to me that St. Paul is here speaking, as Mey., al., of his imminent risk of a death of martyrdom, but that his meaning is general, applying to his whole course of suffering and self-denial, as indeed throughout the sentence. This conformity with Christ’s death was to take place by means of that perfect self-abjuration which he here asserts of himself see Romans 8:29 ; 2Co 2:14 ; 2 Corinthians 4:10 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:31 , and especially Gal 2:20 ), if by any means (so Thucyd. ii. 77, πᾶσαν γὰρ ἰδέαν ἐπενόουν , εἴ πως σφίσιν ἄνευ δαπάνης κ . πολιορκίας προσαχθείη : Herod. vi. 52, βουλομένην , εἴ κως ἀμφότεροι γενοίατο βασιλῆες . It is used when an end is proposed, but failure is presumed to be possible: see Hartung, ii. 206; Kühner, ii. 584. ὅμως μετὰ ταῦτα πάντα οὔπω θαῤῥῶ · ὅπερ ἀλλαχοῦ λέγειδοκῶν ἑστάναι βλεπέτω μὴ πέσῃ . κ . πάλιν , φοβοῦμαι μή πως ἄλλοις κηρύξας , αὐτὸς ἀδόκιμος γένωμαι . Chrys.) I may attain (not future, but subjunctive aorist. On the sense, see Acts 26:7 ; from which alone, it is evident that it does not signify ‘ live until ,’ as Van Hengel) unto the resurrection from the dead (viz. the blessed resurrection of the dead in Christ, in which οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ shall rise ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ , 1 Corinthians 15:23 , see also 1 Thessalonians 4:16 . But the ἐξ - in ἐξανάστ . does not distinctively point out this first resurrection, but merely indicates rising up , out of the dust; cf. the verb Mark 12:19 ║ [1] L., Acts 15:5 , and the word itself in ref. Polyb.).

[1]║ When, in the Gospels, and in the Evangelic statement, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 , the sign (║) occurs in a reference, it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in the other Gospels, which will always be found indicated at the head of the note on the paragraph. When the sign (║) is qualified , thus, ‘║ Mk.,’ or ‘║ Mt. Mk.,’ &c., it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in that Gospel or Gospels, but not in the other or others .

Verse 12

12 .] not that (I do not mean, that …, see reff.) I have already acquired (this χριστὸν κερδῆσαι : not the βραβεῖον below (Mey.), which is an image subsequently introduced, whereas the reference here must be to something foregoing, nor τὴν ἀνάστασιν , which has just been stated as an object of his wishes for the future: but as Calv., “nempe ut in solidum communicet Christi passionibus, ut perfectum habeat gustum potentiæ resurrectionis, ut ipsum plane cognoseat”) or am already completed (in spiritual perfection. Philo de Alleg. iii. 23, vol. i. p. 101, πότε οὖν , ὦ ψυχή , μάλιστα νεκροφορεῖν σαυτὴν ὑπολήψῃ ; ἆρά γε οὐχ ὅταν τελειωθῇς καὶ βραβείων κ . στεφάνων ἀξιωθῇς ;), but I pursue (the image of a runner in a course is already before him. So διώκω absolute in Æsch. Theb. 89, ὄρνυταιλαὸςἐπὶ πόλιν διώκων . This is simpler than to suppose that an object, the βραβεῖον , is in his mind, though not expressed. See Ellic.’s note) if (nearly = εἴ πως above) I may also (besides διώκειν not as Mey., nicht bloss greife ( ἔλαβον ), sondern auch ergreife: nor does it answer to the καί following, as De W.) lay hold of (Herod. ix. 58, διωκτέοι εἰσί , ἐςκαταλαμφθέντεςδώσουσι δίκας : Lucian, Hermotim. 77, διώκοντες οὐ κατέλαβον ) that for which (this seems the simplest rendering, and has been the usual one. Meyer’s rendering of ἐφ ʼ because ,’ after Chrys., Thdrt., Thl., requires καταλάβω to be absolute , and would more naturally be expressed ἐφ ʼ ᾧ κἀγὼ κατελήμφθην , the emphatic first person hardly admitting of being supplied from the preceding clause: whereas on our rendering the whole forms but one clause, the first person recurring throughout it. Grot.’s, ‘quo ut pervenire possem,’ Beza’s, &c., ‘for which reason,’ all keeping καταλάβω absolute, are not open to the above objection) I was also laid hold of (the καί belongs to the verb, not to ἐγώ understood, nor to the ἐφ ʼ ᾧ , as if there might be other ends for which he was apprehended (Ellic.): see above and brings out, that in my case there was another instance of the καταλαβεῖν . For the sense, cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12 , ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην : and Plato, Tim. p. 39, τῇ δὴ ταὐτοῦ φορᾷ τὰ τάχιστα περμόντα ὑπὸ τῶν βραδυτέρων ἰόντων ἐφαίνετο καταλαμβάνοντα καταλαμβάνεσθαι . The time referred to by the aorist was his conversion : but we need not, as Chrys., al., press the image of the race, and regard him as flying and overtaken ) by Christ .

Verses 12-14

12 14 .] This seems to be inserted to prevent the misapprehension, that he conceived himself already to possess this knowledge, and to have grasped Christ in all His fulness.

Verse 13

13 .] Emphatic and affectionate re-statement of the same, but not merely so; he evidently alludes to some whom he wishes to warn by his example. Brethren, I (emphatic: cf. John 5:30 ; John 7:17 ; John 8:33 ; Act 26:9 ) do not reckon myself (emphatic) to have laid hold: but one thing (I do: not λογίζομαι , nor διώκω , nor φροντίζω , none of which correspond to the epexegesis following: nor can we say that nothing requires to be supplied (Grot., al.), for even in τοῦτο δέ this would not be so the sense must have a logical supplement: nor will it do to join ἕν to διώκω (Aug., al.), or to supply ἐστι (Beza)): forgetting the things behind (me, as a runner in the course; by which image, now fully before him, the expressions in this verse must be explained: καὶ γὰρδρομεὺς οὐχ ὅσους ἤνυσεν ἀναλογίζεται διαύλους , ἀλλ ʼ ὅσους λείπεταιτί γὰρ ἡμᾶς ὠφελεῖ τὸ ἀνυσθέν , ὅταν τὸ λειπόμενον μὴ προστεθῇ ; Chr. Thdrt. explains it περὶ τῶν τοῦ κηρύγματος πόνων : but this seems insufficient), but ever reaching out towards (as the runner whose body is bent forwards in his course; the ἐπί giving the continual addition of exertion in this direction (Mey.) or perhaps merely the direction itself. ὁ γὰρ ἐπεκτεινόμενος , τοῦτ ʼ ἐστιν , ὁ τοὺς πόδας καίτοι τρέχοντας τῷ λοιπῷ σώματι προλαβεῖν σπουδάζων , ἐπεκτείνων ἑαυτὸν εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν , κ . τὰς χεῖρας ἐκτείνων , ἵνα κ . τοῦ δρόμου πλέον τι ἐργάσηται . Chr.) the things before (i.e. the perfection not yet reached), I pursue (on διώκω absolute, see note, Php 3:12 ) towards the goal (the contrary of ἀπὸ σκοποῦ , beside the mark, Plato, Tim. p. 25 al.) for (to reach, with a view to; or perhaps simply in the direction of: see reff. for both) the prize (see 1 Corinthians 9:24 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 ; Rev 2:10 ) of my heavenly (reff. and κλῆσις ἐπουράνιος Hebrews 3:1 , Ἱερουσ . ἐπουράνιος Hebrews 12:22 . Not, ‘ from above ,’ = ἄνωθεν : but the allusion is to his appointment having been made directly in heaven, not by delegation on earth) calling (not as we familiarly use the word, ‘calling in life,’ &c. but to be kept to the act of his being called as an Apostle: q. d. ‘the prize consequent on the faithful carrying out of that oummons which I received from God in heaven’) of God (who was the caller: but we must not think of Him, as Grot., al., as the arbiter sitting above and summoning to the course, for in these last words the figure is dropt, and ἡ ἄνω κλῆσις represents real matter of fact) in Christ Jesus (to what are these last words to be referred? Chrys., al., join them with διώκω : ἐν χ . Ἰ . τοῦτο ποιῶ , φησιν . οὐ γὰρ ἔνι χωρὶς τῆς ἐκείνου ῥοπῆς τοσοῦτον διελθεῖν διάστημα · πολλῆς δεῖ τῆς βοηθείας , πολλῆς τῆς συμμαχίας . But I own the arrangement of the sentence thus seems to me very unnatural and the constant practice of St. Paul to join θεός and things said of θεός with ἐν χριστῷ weighs strongly for the other connexion, viz. that with τ . κλήσεως τοῦ θεοῦ . The objection that then τῆς or τοῦ would be required before ἐν , is not valid; the unity of the idea of the κλῆσις ἐν κυρίῳ , 1 Corinthians 7:22 , would dispense with it).

Verses 15-16

15, 16 .] Exhortation to them to be unanimous in following this his example . In order to understand this somewhat difficult passage, we must remember (1) that the description of his own views and feelings which he holds up for their imitation ( συμμιμηταί μου γίν .) began with having no confidence in the flesh, Philippians 3:4 , and has continued to Philippians 3:14 . Also (2) that the description commencing with ὅσοι οὖν τέλειοι , is taken up again from Philippians 3:3 , ἡμεῖς γάρ ἐσμενπεριτομή , οἱ πνεύματι θεοῦ λατρεύοντες , κ . καυχώμενοι ἐν χ . Ἰησοῦ , κ . οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθότες . These two considerations will keep us from narrowing too much the τοῦτο φρονῶμεν , and from misunderstanding the ὅσοι οὖν τέλειοι . As many of us then (refers to Philippians 3:3 ; see above) as are perfect (mature in Christian life, = those described above, Php 3:3 ), let us be of this mind (viz. that described as entertained by himself, Php 3:7-14 ): and if in any thing (accusative of reference: see Kühner, Gramm. ii. 220 ff.) ye be differently minded (for ἑτέρως , cf. Od. α . 232 ff., μέλλεν μέν ποτε οἶκος ὅδ ʼ ἀφνειὸς κ . ἀμύμων | ἔμμεναι , ὄφρ ʼ ἔτι κεῖνος ἀνὴρ ἐπιδήμιος ἦεν | νῦν δ ʼ ἑτέρως ἐβάλοντο θεοί , κακὰ μητιόωντες : Demosth. p. 298. 22, εἰ μέν τι τῶν δεόντων ἐπράχθη , τὸν καιρόν , οὐκ ἐμέ φησιν αἴτιον γεγενῆσθαι , τῶν δ ʼ ὡς ἑτέρως συμβάντων ἁπάντων ἐμὲ καὶ τὴν ἐμὴν τύχην αἰτίαν εἶναι . Hence it gives the meaning of diversity in a bad sense. The difference referred to seems to be that of too much self-esteem as to Christian perfection: see below), this also (as well as the rest which he has revealed) will God reveal to you (i.e. in the progress of the Christian life, you will find the true knowledge of your own imperfection and of Christ’s all-sufficiency revealed to you by God’s Spirit, Ephesians 1:17 ff. ὅρα πῶς συνεσταλμένως τοῦτό φησιν . ὁ θεὸς ὑμᾶς διδάξει , τουτέστιν , ὑμᾶς πείσει , οὐχὶ διδάξει ἁπλῶς . ἐδίδασκε μὲν γὰρΠαῦλος , ἀλλ ʼ ὁ θεὸς ἐνῆγε . καὶ οὐκ εἶπεν , ἐνάξει , ἀλλ ʼ ἀποκαλύψει , ἵνα δόξμᾶλλον ἀγνοίας εἶναι τὸ πρᾶγμα . οὐ περὶ δογμάτων ταῦτ ʼ εἴρηται , ἀλλὰ περὶ βίου τελειότητος , κ . τοῦ μὴ νομίζειν ἑαυτοὺς τελείους εἶναι · ὡς ὅγε νομίζων τὸ πᾶν εἰληφέναι , οὐδὲν ἔχει . Chrys.

τοῦτο must not be taken as Œc., Grot., &c. as representing the fact, that ye ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε , but is the thing, respecting which ye ἑτ . φρ .).

Verse 16

16 .] Let not however this diversity, respecting which some of you yet await deeper revelations from God’s Spirit, produce any dissension in your Christian unity.

Nevertheless (notwithstanding that some of you, &c. as above. On πλήν , see Devarius, and Klotz’s note, i. 188; ii. 725) as far as we have attained (towards Christian perfection: ὃ κατωρθώσαμεν , Thl.: including both knowledge and practice, of both which he spoke above in his own case. On the construction, see reff.), walk by the same (path) (reff.: Polyb. xxviii. 5. 6, βουλόμενοι στοιχεῖν τῇ τῆς συγκλήτου προθέσει : see Fritz. ad Romans 3:0 . p. 142. On the elliptic usage of the infinitive for the imperative see Kühner, ii. p. 342, where many examples are given. It appears from these that the usage occurs in the 2 nd person only : which determines this to be not ‘ let us walk ,’ but ‘walk ye’). The exhortation refers to the onward advance of the Christian life let us go on together, each one in his place and degree of advance, but all in the same path.

Verses 17-21

17 4:1 .] Exhortation to follow his example (17): warning against the enemies of the cross of Christ (18, 19): declaration of the high privileges and hopes of Christians (20, 21), and affectionate entreaty to stedfastness ( Php 4:1 ). Be imitators together (i.e. with one another: so, and not imitators together with those mentioned below (Mey., Wies.), must the word here be rendered. The latter would be allowable as far as the word is concerned, but the form of the sentence determines for the other. συμμιμηταί μου γίνεσθε forms a complete clause, in which συμμιμηταί has the place of emphasis, and in συμμιμηταί the preposition: it is therefore unallowable to pass on the sense of the συμ . to another clause from which it is separated by καί and another verb. So that instead of καὶ σκοπεῖτε κ . τ . λ . being a reason for this meaning, it is in fact a reason against it) of me, and observe (for imitation: τοὺς εὐτέλειαν μᾶλλονπολυχρηματίαν σκοποῦντας , Xen. Symp. iv. 42) those who walk in such manner as ye have an example in us . The construction is much controverted. Meyer and Wiesinger would separate οὕτως and καθώς observe those who thus walk (i.e. as implied above); as ye have (emphatic ye are not in want of) an example in us (viz. Paul and those who thus walk). My objection to this is, that if οὕτως and καθώς are to be independent the three verbs γίνεσθε , σκοπεῖτε , ἔχετε , being thus thrown into three independent clauses, will be all correlative, and the ἔχετε τύπον will not apply to οὕτως περιπατοῦντας , but to the foregoing verbs, thus stultifying the sentence: “ Be &c., and observe &c., as ye have an example (viz. of being συμμιμηταί μου and of σκοπεῖν τοὺς οὕτως περιπατοῦντας ) in us .” Besides which, the οὕτως περιπατοῦντας would he (1) very vague as referring back to what went before , seeing that no περιπατεῖν has been specified, whereas (2) it is directly related to what follows , by the πολλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν of Philippians 3:18 . I therefore retain the usuul rendering. Meyer’s objections to it are, (1) that it is ἔχετε , not ἔχουσιν : but this does not affect the matter: for, the example including in its reference the τοὺς οὕτως περιπατοῦντας and the Philippians, the 2nd person would be more naturally used, the 3rd making a separation which would not be desirable: (2) that it is ἡμᾶς , not ἐμέ : but granting that this does not apply to Paul alone, it certainly cannot, as Mey., be meant to include the τοὺς οὕτ . περ . with him, which would be a way of speaking unprecedented in his writings, but must apply to himself and his fellow-workers, Timotheus, Epaphroditus, &c. Of course the τύπον is no objection (as De W.) to the proper plural sense of ἡμᾶς , for it is used of that wherein they were all united in one category, as in ἡδεῖς τὴν ὄψιν (Plato), κακοὶ τὴν ψυχήν (Æsch.): see Kühner, ii. 27.

Verse 18

18 .] For (reason for σκοπεῖτε κ . τ . λ . in the form of warning against others who walk differently) many walk (no need to supply any thing, as κακῶς (Œc.), or ‘ longe aliter ’ (Grot.), nor to understand the word ‘ circulantur ,’ as 1 Peter 5:8 (Storr, al., but inconsistently with Php 3:17 ), still less with Calv. ‘ ambulant terrena cogitantes ’ (ungrammatical: οἱ τὰ ἐπίγ . φρ .): or to consider the sentence as broken off by the relative clause (De W., al.); for περιπατοῦσιν is a ‘verbum indifferens,’ as in Philippians 3:17 , τοὺς οὕτως περιπ .) whom I many times (answers to πολλοί ) mentioned to you (viz. when I was with you) but now mention even weeping ( διὰ τί ; ὅτι ἐπέτεινε τὸ κακόν , ὅτι δακρύων ἄξιοι οἱ τοιοῦτοικλαίει τοίνυνΠαῦλος ἐφ ʼ οἷς ἕτεροι γελῶσι καὶ σπαταλῶσιν . οὕτως ἐστὶ συμπαθητικός , οὕτω φροντίζει πάντων ἀνθρώπων . Chrys.), the enemies (the article designates the particular class intended) of the cross of Christ (not, as Thdrt., Luth., Erasm., all., of the doctrine of the Cross: nor is there any reason to identify these with those spoken of Philippians 3:2 . Not Judaistic but Epicurean error, not obliquity of creed but of practice, is here stigmatized. And so Chrys., ἐπειδή τινες ἦσαν ὑποκρινόμενοι μὲν τὸν χριστιανισμόν , ἐν ἀνέσει δὲ ζῶντες κ . τρυφῇ · τοῦτο δὲ ἐναντίον τῷ σταυρῷ ), of whom perdition (everlasting, at the coining of the Lord: see ch. Php 1:28 ) is the (fixed, certain) end; of whom their belly is the god (cf. the boast of the Cyclops, in Eurip. Cycl. 334 ff., ἃ ʼ γὼ οὔ τινι θύω , πλὴν ἐμοί , θεοῖσι δ ʼ οὔ , | καὶ τῇ μεγίστγαστρὶ τῇδε δαιμόνων | ὡς τοὐμπιεῖν γε καὶ φαγεῖν τοὐφ ʼ ἡμέραν , | Ζεὺς οὗτος ἀνθρώποισι τοῖσι σώφροσιν . Seneca de benef. vii. 26, ‘alius abdomini servit’) and their glory in their shame (“ δόξα is subjective, in the judgment of these men, and τῇ αἰσχύνῃ objective, according to the reality of morals. Cf. Polyb. xv. 23. 5, ἐφ ʼ οἷς ἐχρῆν αἰτχύνεσθαι καθ ʼ ὑπερβολήν , ἐπὶ τούτοις ὡς καλοῖς σεμνύνεσθαι καὶ μεγαλαυχεῖν . On εἶναι ἐν , ‘ versari ,’ to be found in, or contained in, any thing, cf. Plato Gorg. 470 E, ἐν τούτῳπᾶσα εὐδαιμονία ἐστίν , Eur. Phœn. 1310, οὐκ ἐν αἰσχύντὰ σά .” Meyer.

Ambr., Hil., Pel., Aug., Beng., al., refer the expression to circumcision, taking another meaning for αἰσχύνη (‘venter et pudor sunt affinia.’ Beng.), but without reason; and Chrys., al., disown the meaning), who regard (it is not easy to give φρονεῖν , φρόνημα , in this sense, by one word in English. They betoken the whole aspect, the set of the thoughts and desires: τὰ ἐπίγεια , are the substratum of all their feelings) the things on earth (in opposition to the things above, cf. Colossians 3:1 ff. The construction is that of logical reference to the subject of the sentence, setting aside the strictness of grammatical connexion: so Thuc. iii. 36, ἔδοξεν αὐτοῖςἐπικαλοῦντες …, and iv. 108; vi. 24; vii. 42: see more examples in Kühner, ii. 377.

The οἱ serves as τούς above, to indicate and individualize the class).

Verse 20

20 .] For (I may well direct you to avoid τοὺς τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντας : for our state and feelings are wholly alien from theirs) our (emphatic) country (the state , to which we belong, of which we by faith are citizens, ἡ πατρίς , Thl.; meaning the Kingdom of God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:26 . Colossians 3:1 ff.). This objective meaning of the word is better than the subjective one, ‘ our citizenship ’ ( πολιτεία , Acts 22:28 ; but they seem sometimes to be used indifferently, see Palm and Rost’s Lex., and Aristot. Pol. iii. 4, κύριον μὲν γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα τῆς πόλεως · πολίτευμα δ ʼ ἐστὶνπολιτεία , cf. however, on the other side, Ellicott: and his note through out), or, ‘ our conversation ,’ as vulg. E. V., which rendering seems to want precedent. Conyb. renders it ‘ life :’ but this is insufficient, even supposing it justifiable, as giving the English reader the idea of ζωή , and so misleading him. I may remark, in passing, on the unfortunate misconception of St. Paul’s use of the plural, which has marred so many portions of Mr. Conybeare’s version of the Epistles, and none more sadly than this, where he gives the Apostle’s noble description of the state and hopes of us Christians, as contrasted with the τὰ ἐπίγ . φρονοῦντες , all in the singular ‘ For my life, &c. , from whence also I look, &c. ’) subsists (the word is more solemn, as indicating priority and fixedness, than ἐστιν would be: see notes, ch. Philippians 2:6 , and Act 16:20 ) in the heavens, from whence ( οὗ does not refer to πολίτευμα , as Beng., al. nor = ὧν , nor to be rendered ‘ ex quo tempore ,’ as Erasm., but ἐξ οὗ is adverbial, ‘ unde ,’see Winer, § 21. 3, and cf. Xen. Anab. i. 2. 20, ἡμέρας τρεῖς , ἐν ᾧ ) also (additional particular, following on heaven being our country) we wait for (expect, till the event arrives: see note on Romans 8:19 , and a dissertation in the Fritzschiorum Opuscula, p. 150 ff.) a Saviour (emphatic: therefore we cannot τὰ ἐπίγ . φρονεῖν , because we are waiting for one to deliver us from them. Or, as Saviour (Ellic.): but perhaps the other is preferable, as being simpler), ( viz. ) the Lord Jesus Christ ,

Verse 21

21 .] (describes the method, in which this Saviour shall save us a way utterly precluding our making a God of our body) who shall transform (see 1 Corinthians 15:51 ff. The words assume, as St. Paul always does when speaking incidentally, the ἡμεῖς surviving to witness the coming of the Lord. The change from the dust of death in the resurrection, however we may accommodate the expression to it, was not originally contemplated by it; witness the ἀπεκδεχόμεθα , and the σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν . It is quite in vain to attempt to escape from this inference, as Eilicott does, by saying that “every moment of a true Christian’s life involves such an ἀπεκδοχήν .” This is most true, but in no way accounts for the peculiar expressions used here) the body of our humiliation (beware of the hendiadys, by which most Commentators, and even Conyb. here enervate the Apostle’s fine and deep meaning. The body is that object, that material, in which our humiliation has place and is shewn, by its suffering and being degraded πολλὰ πάσχει νῦν τὸ σῶμα , δεσμεῖται , μαστίζεται , μυρία πάσχει δεινά , Chrys. He once had such a ταπείνωσις , and has passed through it to His glory and He shall change us so as to be like Him. Whereas the rendering ‘ our vile body ’ sinks all this, and makes the epithet merely refer to that which is common to all humanity by nature. It is besides, perhaps, hardly allowable: for ταπείνωσις cannot unless the exigency of context require it, as in ref. Luke (not in Pro 16:19 ), signify mere ‘ vileness ,’ ταπεινότης , but must imply the act whereby the body ταπεινοῦται ) ( so as to be ) conformed to (on this common idiom, εὔφημον , ὦ τάλαινα , κοίμησον στόμα , Æsch. Ag. 1258, al. freq., cf. Kühner, ii. 121) the body of His glory (in which, as its object or material, His glory has place and is displayed: see above), according to (after the analogy of) the working of His power also (besides the μετασχήμ . &c. spoken of) to subject to Him all things ( the universe : see the exception, 1Co 15:25-27 ). ταῦτα δὲ ποιήσει , says Thdrt., ἅτε δὴ δύναμιν ἄῤῥητον ἔχων , κ . ῥᾳδίως κ . τὴν φθορὰν κ . τὸν θάνατον καταπαύων , κ . εἰς ἀθανασίαν τὰ ἡμέτερα σώματα μεταβάλλων , κ . παρασκευάζων ἅπαντας εἰς αὐτὸν ἀποβλέπειν . And Chrys.: ἔδειξε μείζονα ἔργα τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ , ἵνα κ . τούτοις πιστεύσῃς .

αὐτῷ , used of the αὐτός of the whole sentence, from the position of the writer, not of the agent in the clause itself.

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Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Philippians 3". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.