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Bible Commentaries
Philippians 3

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Verses 1-99


As for the rest, my brethren, whatever your trials, past, present, or future, continue to rejoice in the Lord. I am not backward about writing to you concerning a matter of which I have spoken in former letters, but I am moved by my anxiety for your safety to refer to it again. Beware of those dogs; those evil workers; those whose boasted circumcision is no better than a physical mutilation without any spiritual significance. It is we Christians who are the true ‘circumcision’; whose service is prompted by the Spirit of God; whose rejoicing is in Christ Jesus as the only source of true righteousness, and who do not trust the flesh.

It is claimed by many that Paul is here about to close the epistle, but that his attention is suddenly diverted, perhaps by some new reports of the doings of his Judaistic adversaries; and that he is thus drawn on to add to his letter what he had not originally intended. Nothing in the text warrants this conclusion. It is, of course, possible that fresh thoughts may have come to the apostle in the course of his writing; but, on the other hand, we are not forced to conclude that the main topics were not in his mind from the first. (See Introd. VII.)

1. τὸ λοιπόν: ‘as to what remains.’ It may mean ‘finally,’ as 2 Corinthians 13:11; or ‘henceforth,’ as Mark 14:41; 1 Corinthians 7:29; Hebrews 10:13; 2 Timothy 4:8; or ‘for the rest,’ ‘besides,’ ‘as to what remains,’ as 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. The formula is common with Paul in cases where he attaches, in a somewhat loose way, even in the midst of an epistle, a new subject to that which he has been discussing. In 1 Thessalonians 4:1 two entire chapters follow the phrase, and here the special subject introduced by it is followed by several others. If Paul had been intending to close his letter, it is likely that he would have added his thanks for the Philippians’ remittance before he reached τὸ λοιπόν. The formula therefore merely introduces what follows. The preceding topic is closed, and he passes to another.

Ellic., Ead., Lightf., render ‘finally,’ but as an introduction to what remains. ‘For the rest,’ Kl., De W., Lips., Weizs., Beet.

χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ: ‘rejoice in the Lord.’ (Comp. 1:18, 2:18, 4:4, 10.)

Not as Lightf., ‘farewell,’ for which there is no sufficient ground. In class. the word is used as a salutation both at meeting and parting; but it does not occur in N.T. in the sense of ‘farewell.’ 2 Corinthians 13:11 is more than doubtful.

The exhortation need not be specifically referred either to what precedes or to what follows. There has been a reason for encouraging them to rejoice in the face of their former trials, as there is a like reason in the prospect of coming trials of which he is about to speak. The summons to rejoice is general, in view of all trials, past, present, and future, as well as of the eternal consolations of the gospel.

ἐν κυρίῳ: Comp. 1:14, 2:19, 24. The sphere or element of rejoicing.

Several of the older expositors found in ἐν κ. a contrast of the joy in God with the bitterness of the cross (Calv.); or with all worldly things (Theo., Mop., 5. Lyra); or with works of the flesh and fleshly renown (Ans.); or with the Jewish errors treated in the following verses (Calov., Croc., Pisc.).

τὰ αὐτὰ γράφειν: The reference is probably to a former letter, or to former letters to the Philippians, which are lost. (See Lightf.’s excursus on “Lost Epistles to the Philippians,” Comm. p. 138.) This has been inferred from Polyc. ad Phil. iii. (Comp. 13., and see Lightf.’s Ignatius, iii. pp. 327, 348.) The question turns on Polyc.’s use of ἐπιστολαὶ, whether it means one letter or several.

Lightf. decides for the single letter, and collects in his excursus a large number of passages to show the use of the plu. for ‘a letter.’ Mey. thinks that the plu. in Polyc. indicates several letters, and affirms that doctrinal epistles, both in N.T. and the Apost. Fath., are always described in the sing. where only one letter is intended, and in the plu. where several are meant. There can be no doubt that the plu. is used of a single letter in individual cases; but the question of usage is not definitely enough settled to warrant a decision.

Our conclusion rests rather on the antecedent probability of lost letters. Considering Paul’s connection with so many churches during at least twenty-five years, it is highly probable that he wrote more than thirteen letters, and some of them important. Intimations of such are found in 1 Corinthians 5:9; 2 Corinthians 10:10, 2 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:17. If what have come down to us are his only epistles, we must suppose that he wrote several letters within a short time, while at long intervals he wrote nothing. (See Jowett, Eps. of St. Paul, 3d ed. i. p. 107.) Lightf. refers τὰ αὐτὰ to matter in this epistle concerning divisions or dissensions in the Philippian church; but intimations to that effect in 1:27, 2:2, 3, 4, are too slight to warrant this inference. The reference is probably to the character and work of the Judaising Christians. To refer τὰ αὐτὰ to χαίρετε (Alf., Weiss) would be to make Paul say: ‘It is not irksome for me to write to you to rejoice, but it is safe for you.’

ὀκνηρόν: ‘irksome’; orig. ‘sluggish,’ ‘slothful.’ (See Matthew 25:26; Romans 12:11.) Frequent in LXX, in Prov.

ὑμῖν δὲ�

2. βλέπετε τοὺς κύνας: ‘behold the dogs.’ Βλέπετε, not ‘beware of,’ which would be βλέπ.�1 Corinthians 10:18. A caution, however, is implied, ‘look to’; ‘look out for.’ The article with κύν. indicates a well-known class. ‘Dog’ was a term of contempt and loathing with both Jews and Gentiles. The dog was an unclean animal according to the Levitical law. The price of a dog and the hire of a courtesan were placed in the same category, and an Israelite was forbidden to bring either into the house of God in fulfilment of a vow (Deuteronomy 23:18). Gentiles were termed ‘dogs’ by Jews (Matthew 15:27). Comp. Revelation 22:15, of those whose impurity excludes them from the heavenly city. In Hom. often of the audacious or shameless, especially women. The emphasis here is upon the impurity, the profane character of the false teachers contrasted with true Christians. There is no subordinate reference to shamelessness, greediness, snappishness, disorderly wandering or howling. So some earlier expositors, as Chr., Aug., Calov., Calv., Croc., etc.

τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτας: ‘the evil workers.’ The same persons regarded on the side of their activity and its moral quality; as proselytisers; as ‘huckstering’ (καπηλεύοντες) the word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17); as opposing the doctrine of justification by faith. (Comp. Matthew 23:15; 2 Corinthians 11:3, 2 Corinthians 11:13.)

τὴν κατατομήν: ‘the concision.’ Not elsewhere in Bib. The word directs attention to the fact that these persons had no right to claim circumcision in the true sense. Unaccompanied by faith, love, and obedience, it was nothing more than physical mutilation. Thus they belonged in the category of those against whom the legal prohibition of mutilation was directed (Leviticus 21:5). Comp. Paul’s bitter sarcasm in Galatians 5:12.

Reasons have been given for not identifying the persons characterised here with those referred to in 1:15-17. (See note on 1:15.) The reference here is to Judaising Christians. In view of their habit of keeping an eye on the Pauline churches and of introducing their emissaries into them, it is not likely that they had overlooked Philippi; and it is quite probable that Paul had previously found it necessary to warn the church against their designs. Some fresh intelligence of their operations may have prompted him to repeat those cautions.

Against the reference to Jews it may be said that Paul’s dealing with the Jews in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 would lead us to expect something similar here if the parties had been Jews, since their proceedings against the Christians would probably have been marked by the open violence which they practised against the other Macedonian churches. Here Paul’s warning is directed at the misleading of his converts by false teaching, which was quite according to the Judaising method. Moreover his expressions here are similar to those in 2 Cor. and Gal. as respects the motive, object, and methods of these agitators, and the way in which he meets them. That the Judaisers were referred to in those epistles is not questioned. Their object was the overthrow of Paul’s form of Christian doctrine and the establishment of a Christianity in which the Mosaic law should continue in full force, especially in the matter of circumcision. The Messiah was regarded by them solely in his relation to the Jewish law. The attempt of Croc. to show that Paul here designates three classes,—κύνας, Libertine Christians or backsliders to Judaism; κακ. ἐργ., those who would combine Christianity with Gentile wisdom or Jewish superstition; κατατ., unbelieving Jews,—is one of the curiosities of exegesis. Weiss also thinks that three classes are intended: κύν., heathen; κακ. ἐργ., those mentioned in 1:15; κατατ., Jews.

3. ἡμεῖς γάρ ἐσμεν ἡ περιτομή: ‘for we are the circumcision.’ I call them κατατομή, and not περιτομή, for it is we who are the περιτομή. The contemptuous κατατομή suggests the first point of contrast between the Judaisers and the true Israel of God. The abstract περιτομή, ‘circumcision,’ stands for the concrete, ‘the circumcised.’ (SeeRomans 4:9; Romans 4:9; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 2:11, and the phrase οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς, Acts 10:45, Acts 11:2.) We are the true circumcision as compared with them, for their circumcision is only outward, in the flesh, while the true circumcision is that of the heart. (See Romans 2:25-29; Ephesians 2:11; Colossians 2:11; comp. Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Jeremiah 6:10, Jeremiah 6:9:25, Jeremiah 6:26; Ezekiel 44:7. See also Just. M. Dial. Tr. xii., xix., xliii.)

For this claim three reasons are given:

(1) οἱ πνεύματι θεοῦ λατρεύοντες: ‘who serve by the spirit of God.’ A.V. ‘who worship God in the Spirit’ follows TR, which reads θεῷ for θεοῦ.

πνεύματι: Instrumental dat. (See Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:5, Galatians 5:18.) Who serve under the impulse and direction of the divine Spirit. (Comp. Romans 2:29.)

λατρεύοντες: The verb originally means ‘to serve for hire,’ then simply ‘to serve.’ In N.T. both of ritual service, as Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 10:2, Hebrews 13:10, and of worship or service generally, as Luke 1:74; Romans 1:9. Especially of the service rendered to God by Israelites as his peculiar people, as Acts 26:7; λατρεία, Romans 9:4; Hebrews 9:1, Hebrews 9:6. In LXX always of the service of God or of heathen divinities. A Jew would be scandalised by the application of this term to Christian service. It is purposely chosen with reference to ἡ περιτομή.

(2) καὶ καυχώμενοι ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: ‘and boast in Christ Jesus.’ καυχώμενοι: See Romans 2:17; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17; Galatians 6:14.

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: As the only source of true righteousness compared with the legal observance of the Jew.

(3) καὶ οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθότες: ‘and do not trust in the flesh.’ Not the same conception as the preceding (so Chr., Theoph., Calv., De W.), nor is it a more precise definition, to express the purport of καυχ. (Weiss). It indicates and repudiates the disposition out of which the false boasting of the Judaiser proceeds. For πεποιθ., see 1:14.

ἐν σαρκὶ: Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:18; Galatians 6:13, Galatians 6:14. Σάρξ is the human nature without the divine Spirit; the state of man before or in contrast with his reception of the divine element whereby he becomes a new creature; the whole being of man as it exists and acts apart from the influence of the Spirit. It properly characterises, therefore, not merely the lower forms of sensual gratification, but all,—the highest developments of the life estranged from God, whether physical, intellectual, or æsthetic. So here it covers legal observances, circumcision, descent, ritual strictness, as they exist without the spirit of loyalty to God. (See W. St. on Romans 7:5.)

In illustration of the statement that Christians have no confidence in the flesh, he adduces his own case, showing what exceptional ancestral and ecclesiastical advantages as a Jew he renounced for Christ’s sake.

4-7. If any man may think himself warranted in trusting in the flesh, it is myself. For I was circumcised when eight days old, as a genuine Israelite. I was not a proselyte, but of direct Israelitish descent. I belonged to the honored tribe of Benjamin. I was a child of Hebrew ancestors who spoke the Hebrew tongue. As a member of the sect of the Pharisees, I was a strict legalist. I was zealous for my religion, even to the extent of persecuting Christians, and I was blameless in my legal righteousness. But all these advantages I counted as a loss, and renounced them for Christ’s sake.

4. καίπερ ἐγὼ ἔχων πεποίθησιν καὶ ἐν σαρκί: ‘although having myself confidence in the flesh also.’ It might be urged that Paul, in his conversion from Judaism, had renounced and contemned that which he did not himself possess, and of which he did not know the value. He anticipates this by saying that he has renounced advantages which he possessed in an eminent degree, and the value of which no one knew better than himself. This is not urged as an attack upon the Judaisers, but only to show that he had already possessed all that upon which the Jews especially prided themselves. He puts himself for the moment at the Jewish point of view. If the true ground of confidence is the flesh, he has stronger ground than even his Judaising adversaries. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:21 ff.) The apparent awkwardness of construction is owing to the quick transition from the plu. πεποιθότες to a similar participial construction in the singular (ἔχων). The ἐγὼ of vs. 4 really lies in the ἐσμεν of vs. 3, since Paul reckons himself among the ἡμεῖς. He is separated by ἐγὼ. The sentence proceeds from καίπερ ἐγὼ, as if the previous clause had been, ‘I have no confidence in the flesh.’

καίπερ: Only here in Paul, and, as usual, with the participle. (Comp. Hebrews 5:8, Hebrews 7:5, Hebrews 12:17.) It may be correctly rendered ‘although’ if it is remembered that that sense lies in the participle and not in καίπερ, which literally means ‘even very much.’

ἔχων: Not to be rendered ‘I might have,’ as A.V. and R.V., a translation which grew out of the fear of the older interpreters of seeming to commit Paul to a declaration of his confidence in the flesh. Paul actually possessed these advantages, and, from the Jewish point of view, declares that he had confidence in them.

πεποίθησιν: ‘confidence’ or ‘ground of confidence.’ The noun only in Paul. For the phrase πεποίθ. ἔχ., comp. 2 Corinthians 3:4.

καὶ: In the flesh ‘also.’ As well as in Christ.

Not only have I ground of confidence, but I have more than they.

εἴ τις δοκεῖ ἄλλος πεποιθέναι ἐν σαρκί: ‘If any one is disposed to think that he has ground of confidence in the flesh.’ The indefinite εἴ τις is not introduced for the sake of policy, or in a conciliatory way, as if Paul were avoiding reference to any particular case, since this assumes a polemic bearing of the words. Nor does δοκεῖ imply that the advantage was only apparent (Chrys., Theoph.), or that they had only arrogated it to themselves (Thdrt.); for Paul uses δοκεῖν of himself. He merely says that he possessed advantages on which any Jew might have congratulated himself.

Δοκεῖ may be rendered ‘seems’; so Vulg. videtur; comp. 1 Corinthians 12:22; 2 Corinthians 10:9; Galatians 2:9; or ‘thinks,’ as 1 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 8:2, 1 Corinthians 10:12. The latter is Paul’s more common usage. So here, ‘if any one is disposed to think.’ (Comp. Matthew 3:9; 1 Corinthians 11:16.)

ἐγὼ μᾶλλον: Supply δοκῶ πεποιθέναι ἐν σαρκί. ‘I think that I have reason for confidence in the flesh in a higher degree than they.’

The grounds of this last, general statement are now given in the enumeration of Paul’s advantages as a Jew, beginning with his inherited privileges. First is circumcision, the main point in a Jew’s eyes, and that by which the whole nation was named.

5. περιτομῇ ὀκταήμερος: ‘eight days old in circumcision.’ Ὀκταήμερος not elsewhere in Bib. It denotes here not interval, but duration. ‘I was eight days old when circumcised.’ For the idiom, ‘an eight-day one,’ comp. τεταρταῖος, John 11:39; δευτεραῖοι, Acts 28:13; and see Wetst. on John 11:39 for a long list of class. parallels. The dative is the dat. of reference. (See 2:7; 1 Corinthians 14:20, etc.; Win. xxxi. 6.) Paul was circumcised on the eighth day as a genuine Israelite (Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3). An Ishmaelite was circumcised in his thirteenth year (Genesis 17:25).

He was not a proselyte, but of direct Israelitish descent: ἐκ γένους Ἰσραήλ, ‘of the race of Israel.’ (Comp. Romans 11:1.) He was descended from the patriarch Jacob, whose name of honor, bestowed by God himself (Genesis 32:28), was the sacred name of the Jews as God’s covenant people (Romans 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Ephesians 2:12), and was therefore the Jews’ especial badge and title of honor. Their descent from Abraham they shared with the Ishmaelites; their descent from Abraham and Isaac, with the Edomites. The Israelite claimed descent from the patriarch, not as Jacob ‘the supplanter,’ but as Israel, ‘wrestler with God.’ (See Hosea 12:3, Hosea 12:4.) Ἰσραήλ is the appositive genit., and is the name of the race (γένος), as Galatians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 11:26.

φυλῆς Βενιαμείν: Comp. Romans 11:1. Benjamin was the son of the beloved wife of Jacob (Genesis 35:17, Genesis 35:18). The tribe of Benjamin gave Israel its first king (1 Samuel 9:1, 1 Samuel 9:2). The tribe was alone faithful to Judah at the separation under Rehoboam (1 K. 12:21). After the return from exile, it formed with Judah the kernel of the new colony in Palestine (Ezra 4:1). The tribe always held the post of honor in the army. Hence the battle-cry, ‘After thee Benjamin!’ (Jude 1:5:14; Hosea 5:8). Of the twelve patriarchs, Benjamin only was born in the Land of Promise. The great national deliverance commemorated in the feast of Purim was due to Mordecai, a Benjamite. Paul’s own name, Saul, was probably from the son of Kish, the Benjamite king.

But Paul’s descent was not only from the choice race and tribe, but from parents of the pure Hebrew stock. There is a climax.

Ἑβραῖος ἐξ Ἑβραίων: ‘a Hebrew sprung from Hebrews.’ (Comp.2 Corinthians 11:22; 2 Corinthians 11:22.) The Greek Ἑβραῖος (Lat. Hebraeus) comes through the Aramaic vernacular of Palestine (Hebrājā). Greek and Roman writers, however, rarely used it instead of Ἰουδαῖος (Judaeus) which prevailed after the exile. In the O.T. ‘Hebrew’ was used habitually and consistently to denote the descendants of Abraham as designated by foreigners, or as applied by the Hebrews themselves when addressing foreigners, or when speaking of themselves in contrast with other nations. The name by which the Hebrew nation habitually called itself was ‘Israel’ or ‘the Children of Israel.’ In the N.T. Ἐβραῖος appears in Acts 6:1, where the native Palestinian Jewish-Christians are distinguished from the Hellenists or Greek-speaking Jews. This distinction marks a difference of language. The O.T. does not know the word ‘Hebrew’ with reference to language. The old Hebrew is called ‘the language of Canaan’ (Isaiah 19:18), indicating the close relationship of this Semitic tongue with that of the Canaanites, especially the Phœnicians. In the Apocr. and N.T. the term ‘Hebrew’ is used almost exclusively of the Aramaic vernacular. (See John 5:2, John 5:19:13, John 5:17, John 5:20; Acts 21:40, Acts 22:2, Acts 26:14.) Here the term expresses the difference of language. Though a Hellenist, Paul was trained in the use of the Hebrew tongue by Hebrew-speaking parents. Though born outside of the Holy Land, yet as a child of Hebrew ancestors, and ‘the son of Pharisees’ (Acts 23:6), in speech and habits of life he remained allied to the people of Palestine. He might have been an Israelite and not a Hebrew speaker; but he emphasises the fact that he was both a true Israelite and one who used the language of his forefathers. He was trained under a Hebrew teacher at Jerusalem (Acts 22:3); he spoke Hebrew, i.e. Aramaic (Acts 21:40, Acts 22:2); and he quotes often from the Hebrew Scriptures. (See Riehm. Handw. des bibl. Alterthums, sub “Eber” and “Hebräer”; Trench, Syn. xxxix.)

Similar expressions, denoting position or character as resting upon birth from parents of like position and character, are common in class. (See Aristoph. Ran. 730; Soph. Elect. 589; Philoc. 384; Eur. Alc. 677; Hdt. ii. 143, etc.)

These four specifications of inherited privilege are summed up by Paul in Galatians 2:15. Matheson, Spiritual Development of St. Paul, remarks that a man trained under such influences must, on every side, have been repelled by the spectacle of the cross of Jesus. He was required to accept him precisely at the point where his national characteristics were assailed (pp. 36, 37).

He now passes to advantages of a distinctly personal character, relating to his theological and ecclesiastical position.

κατὰ νόμον Φαρισαῖος: ‘as touching the law a Pharisee.’ (Comp.Acts 22:3; Acts 22:3, Acts 23:6, Acts 26:5.)

νόμον: The Mosaic law, the standing authority of which was the principle on which the Judaisers insisted. This is confirmed by θρησκίας, Acts 26:5; by the allusions here to concision and circumcision, and also by the fact that in all the words connected with νόμον in vs. 5, there is an immediate reference to the Jewish race and ideas. Moreover, δικαιος. τ. ἐν νομ. corresponds with similar phrases in Rom. and Gal. where the Mosaic law is contemplated, as Galatians 3:11, Galatians 3:12. It was the righteousness of the Mosaic system which Paul had abandoned for Christ.

These considerations do not seem to favor Lightf.’s explanation, “the Mosaic law regarded in the abstract as a principle of action, being coördinated with ζῆλος and δικαιοσύνην.”

No sharp distinction can be fixed between νόμ. and ὁ νόμ. It is unquestionable that νόμ. is used of the Mosaic law as well as ὁ νόμ. If Paul sometimes uses νόμ. in a wider sense,—of law considered as a principle, with the stress upon the conception of law itself, rather than upon its historical and outward form,—the Mosaic law is habitually in the background of his thought as the great embodiment and representative of the conception.

Φαρισαῖος: Belonging to the party of the most orthodox defenders, observers, and expounders of the law. There may be a subtle irony in these words. Paul never ceased to reverence the law itself as the expression of God’s holiness (Romans 2:13, Romans 2:20, Romans 2:3:31, Romans 2:7:7, Romans 2:12, Romans 2:14, etc.); but the Pharisees’ treatment of the law struck at its original dignity, since they made it void by the oral tradition with which they overlaid it. (See Matthew 15:2, Matthew 15:3, Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:3, Mark 7:5, Mark 7:8, Mark 7:9, Mark 7:13; and comp. Jos. Antiq. xiii. 10, 6.) Paul then may mean, ‘I kept the law with Pharisaic strictness, practically dishonoring it; observing the traditions rather than the law itself.’ From this point of view comp. Galatians 1:14.

6. κατὰ ζῆλος διώκων τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: Ironical. ‘I was so very zealous that I became a persecutor of the church of Christ.’ Zeal for God, for his house, and for his law, was the highest praise of an O.T. saint. (See Numbers 25:11, Numbers 25:13; Num_1 K. 19:10, 14; Psa_69 [68]:9. Comp. Acts 21:20, Acts 21:22:3; Romans 10:2.) Thdrt. comments: οὐ γὰρ διὰ τὴν φιλοτιμίαν, οὐδὲ διὰ δόξαν κενήν, οὐδὲ φθόνῳ βαλλόμενος, ὡς Ἰουδαίων ἄρχοντες,�

διώκων: Used adjectively, parallel with ἄμεμπτος. Not as a substantive, as Mey., Weiss, Lips., which occurs with the article (Win. xlv. 7).

δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐν νόμῳ: ‘righteousness which is in the law.’ Δικ. is used abstractly, and then concretely defined by τ. ἐν νόμ. ‘As regards righteousness—I mean that which is in the law’: which resides in the righteous law and consists in its strict observance. Δικαιοσύνη is used here in its objective sense of conformity to an external rule of righteousness. The righteousness is in (ἐν) the law, not in the man: in the man only as he conforms to the law. It is not regarded as an inward righteousness like the righteousness of faith. Comp. ἐκ νόμου (vs. 9), where the righteousness is treated as proceeding from the law. The reference need not be confined to the ceremonial law, for the law is a whole (Galatians 3:10).

γενόμενος: ‘having become’: in the course of my pursuit of legal righteousness.

ἄμεμπτος: See on 2:15. Not absolutely blameless, according to God’s standard, but in human judgment. (Comp. Galatians 1:14.)

On Holsten’s attempt to impugn the authenticity of the epistle by endeavoring to show in this statement a contradiction of Paul’s teaching elsewhere that man is unable perfectly to keep the law, see Introd. 6. The blamelessness here asserted is according to human, Pharisaic standards.


ἅτινα: instead of the simple ἃ, because of κέρδη: ‘things which were of such a kind that they could be called κέρδη.’ It presents a category of the things specified in vs. 5, 6. See for this usage Galatians 4:24, Galatians 4:5:19; Philippians 2:20; Colossians 2:23.

μοι: dative of advantage; not of judgment, ‘in my estimation.’

κέρδη: ‘gains,’ taken separately; the profits of descent, of legal strictness, of zeal, etc., each attended with its own particular gain.

ταῦτα: defining and emphasising κέρδη.

ἥγημαι: ‘I have counted’: with deliberate judgment. (See on 2:6.)

ζημίαν: ‘a loss.’ The several gains are massed in one loss. The word only in this epistle and Acts 27:10, Acts 27:21. See farther on ἐζημιώθην (vs. 8).

From his former experience he now turns to his present Christian ideal and his efforts to attain it.

8-14. Since the hour of my conversion my estimate of the worthlessness of my legal righteousness and its profits has not changed. I continue to count them all but loss as compared with the surpassing worth of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. To me they are mere refuse, if I can but make Christ my own and may be found living in him, not having a righteousness of my own, which is of the law, but rather a righteousness which proceeds from God, which is based upon faith, and which becomes mine through faith in Christ: a righteousness which means such intimate and practical knowledge of Christ as that his risen life shall be a power in my life, and his sufferings shall be mine, even unto death; and that so, at last, if this may be, I may be raised from the dead as he was. I speak of my desire, not of my attainment, for I have not yet realised my ideal; but I am pressing on toward the attainment and fulfilment of that which Christ contemplated in my conversion. No, I have not yet attained; but one thing I do. Not encouraged to self-satisfaction or relaxation of effort by what is past, I stretch forward, like a racer to the goal, toward that high destiny to which God in Christ is ever summoning me from heaven.


Μὲν confirms ἡγοῦμαι, and οὖν, strengthened by γε, recurs to ἥγημαι and carries it forward, thus guarding against a possible misunderstanding of the last statement. ‘Nay then, if my ἥγημαι be thought to have been a mere impulsive act of breaking with the past,—I am, in truth, also counting all things as loss for Christ’s sake.’ His break with legal righteousness perpetuates itself. For μενοῦνγε see Romans 9:20, Romans 10:18.

Πάντα corresponds with ἅτινα (vs. 7): all things which formed the ground of my false confidence.

διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου: ‘for the surpassing worth of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.’ This expands διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν, thus defining more clearly the motive of ἥγημαι ζημίαν. The ἥγημαι was caused by an overpowering impression of Christ; the ἡγοῦμαι by the knowledge of Christ. The ὃν in the next clause gathers additional force from γνώσεως. Τὸ ὑπ. τ. γνώς. is not a hendiadys, ‘the excellent knowledge,’ as Vulg. ‘eminentem scientiam.’ The neuter participle with the article is more graphic than the noun ὑπεροχή. (See Blass, p. 151.) On substantivised neuters see Win. xxxiv. 2, and comp. Romans 2:4, Romans 2:8:3, Romans 2:9:22; 1 Corinthians 1:25; Hebrews 6:17. Γνῶσις is used in its original, simple sense, as Romans 2:20; 1 Corinthians 1:5, 1 Corinthians 8:1. Not in the later, philosophic sense.

τοῦ κυρίου μου: κυρίου adds emphasis to τὸν Χριστὸν (vs. 7). For μου, with its sense of personal appropriation, comp. 1:3. The knowledge is surpassing because its subject is Lord, to be confessed and worshipped by the created universe (2:11). Christ, as the subject of this knowledge, is regarded with reference to all that he is or becomes to a believer. So Croc.: “Complectitur personam, officium et beneficium, quae separari non possunt.”

The designations of Christ in the Epistles of the Captivity resemble those in the earlier letters. Ἰησοῦς alone occurs only in Ephesians 4:21; Philippians 2:10. Χριστός and ὁ Χρ. are very frequent. The title κύριος added to the personal name occurs chiefly in the beginnings of the epistles, as Ephesians 1:2; Philemon 1:3; Philippians 1:2; but Christ is commonly styled κύριος or ὁ κύριος simply, especially in the formula ἐν κυρίῳ. In Phil. ὁ κυρ. ἡμ. ἸΧ is not found. In Philem., which contains nearly all the formulas, the simple Χτός occurs only in vs. 6.

τὰ πάντα: collectively. (Comp. Romans 8:32, Romans 8:11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6.) Accusative of reference. ‘I became loser in respect of all things.’

ἐζημιώθην: ‘I became loser.’ The verb means ‘to fine,’ ‘to amerce,’ ‘to mulct,’ and is to be taken in its passive sense; not as middle or reflexive, ‘I have made myself lose,’ which is contrary to N.T. usage. (See Matthew 16:26; Luke 9:25; 1 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 7:9; LXX Exodus 21:22; Exodus 19:19, Proverbs 22:3.) The middle sense would ascribe ἐζημ. as an act to Paul himself, whereas the thought is that, having been grasped and possessed by Christ, his former possessions fell away. The aorist points to the definite period of his conversion. In that great crisis all his legal possessions were lost.

καὶ ἡγοῦμαι: continuous present. (See above.) It may be regarded as dependent on διʼ ὃν (Mey., Ellic., Lightf.), or as a new point, and parallel with ἡγοῦμ. πάν. ζημ. (Weiss). The latter seems a little simpler, ἐζημ. having its motive in διʼ ὃν, and ἵνα κερδ. being the motive of ἡγοῦμ. σκύβ., thus contrasting the gain with what he threw away as worthless. On the other explanation, ἵνα κερδ. adds a motive to διʼ ὃν.

σκύβαλα: ‘refuse.’ Only here in N.T. (Comp. LXX; Sir. 27:4.) Belonging wholly to later Gk., as Plut., Jos. The derivation cannot be certainly shown. Suidas says κυσιβαλόν; i.e. τὸ τοῖς κυσὶ βαλλόμενον, ‘that which is thrown to the dogs.’ More probably connected with σκώρ, ‘stercus.’ (See Curtius, Gk. Etym. i. 167 [Eng.].) It signifies either ‘excrement’ or ‘the leavings of the table.’ A strong expression from the man who could write Galatians 1:14. Some of the patristic interpreters were embarrassed by this passage because the apparent disparagement of the law was seized upon by Antinomians, and used in their own interest. Hence they tried to modify Paul’s meaning by referring it to the comparative value of the law. The law was a light, but unnecessary after the sun had arisen. It was a ladder, useful to mount by, but useless after one had mounted. On the same line σκύβαλα was explained by the chaff, which is part of the ripening corn, but is thrown away in the threshing. (See Chr.)

Χριστὸν κερδήσω: Appropriate Christ and make him his own, with all of grace and glory that attaches to him. Paul’s earnestness is shown in his reiteration: κέρδη, ζημίαν, ἐζημιώθην, πάντα, Χριστόν, etc.

He proceeds to show what is involved in winning Christ.

9. καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ: For εὑρεθῶ, see on 2:7. Often in the passive in the sense of ‘to be seen, discovered, or proved to be.’ (See Acts 5:39; Romans 7:10; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:12; Galatians 2:17.) Here pointing to the recognition by others of Paul’s union with Christ. (Comp. Ign. Eph. xi.; Trall. xiii.) By some commentators it is referred to the last day, either wholly or in part (see Lightf.:); but the entire line of thought refers to union with Christ in this life. The final result appears in vs. 11. Calv. wrongly makes εὑρεθῶ active, and explains that Paul had renounced all that he had in order that he might find it in Christ.

ἐν αὐτῷ: See on ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ (1:1). The same idea appears in 1:21; Galatians 2:20: the state of identification with Christ’s life as the principle of salvation; the immanence of that principle in the human life. Comp. also John 14:20, John 14:15:2, John 14:4, John 14:5, John 14:7, John 14:17:21, John 14:23. “The Christian,” says Weiss, “exercises all the functions of his life in Christ. In him, or in fellowship with him, are rooted trust (Philippians 2:19, Philippians 2:24), joy (Philippians 3:1, Philippians 3:4:4, Philippians 3:10), boldness (Philemon 1:8), Christian refreshment (Philemon 1:20). In him one speaks (Ephesians 4:17); executes his ministry (Colossians 4:17); entertains another (Philippians 2:29); maintains unanimity with another (Philippians 4:2); obeys another (Ephesians 6:1). In him one is strengthened, and can do all things (Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13).”—Bib. Theol. § 101. Christ, the personified revelation of the divine love, is the ruling principle of the human personal life, so that this life moves in Christ as in its own peculiar element. To be in Christ is to have the Spirit of Christ and to be one Spirit with him (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:17). See note at the end of this chapter on Paul’s conception of righteousness by faith.

μὴ ἔχων: Expressing the mode, not the condition of being in Christ.

ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην: ‘a righteousness of my own.’ Not ‘my own righteousness,’ as A.V., for no such thing exists; but a righteousness which might be described as my own. ‘My own righteousness’ would be τὴν ἐμὴν δικ. (Comp. Romans 10:3.)

τὴν ἐκ νόμου: Defining ἐμ. δικ. A righteousness which could be called ‘mine’ would be a righteousness ‘proceeding from (ἐκ) the law.’ He lays down a general proposition: Human righteousness is legal righteousness. It is contained in the law (vs. 6), and passes from the law to the man as the man obeys the law (Romans 10:5). The man’s righteousness is generated by its precepts.

διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ: ‘through faith of (in) Christ.’ Διὰ marks faith as the medium of attaining righteousness. (Comp. Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8.) For ‘faith of Christ’ = ‘faith in Christ,’ comp. Mark 11:22; Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Galatians 2:16, Galatians 2:3:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 2:1.

τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει: ‘the righteousness which is from God resting upon faith.’ A further definition of τὴν διὰ πίς. Χρ., describing its source and its basis. It proceeds from God, and is therefore in contrast with ἐμὴν δικ. The phrase is not synonymous with δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ (Romans 1:17), which signifies righteousness which is God’s; which resides in him as his attribute; not, as commonly explained, righteousness which is from God, and is bestowed by him upon man. Δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ is of course assumed in τ. ἐκ θε. δικ. The ideal and the source of righteousness are in God. God is the source of the atoning work of Christ which contemplates man’s righteousness, and Christ is ‘the image of his substance’ (Hebrews 1:3; see 2 Corinthians 5:21, and Sanday on Rom. p. 162). As related to man, the righteousness of God rests upon (ἐπὶ) faith, the (τῇ) faith which each man exercises towards God in Jesus Christ. This is the only instance of the phrase ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει in N.T. It expresses διὰ πίστεως a little more definitely, and sets forth the only true basis of all human righteousness. It is, indeed, true that righteousness rests ultimately on God, and not on faith; but if that is an objection, the same would lie against δικ. ἐκ πίστ. (Romans 9:30, Romans 10:6). Lightf., following Ril. and van Heng., renders ἐπὶ ‘on condition of.’ But Paul is here speaking rather of the essential character of this righteousness than of the terms on which it is received by men. It belongs to the nature of God’s righteousness as imparted to man that it rests upon faith (Romans 4:5).

Lightf. refers to Acts 3:16, though ἐπὶ there is a doubtful reading. WH. omit, with א* B. Tisch., R.T., and Weiss retain.

Mey. supplies ἔχων, repeated after�

10. τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν: ‘that I may come to know him.’ Taken up from the γνώσεως of vs. 8, and explaining it. Τοῦ γνῶναι is the infinitive of design, setting forth the end contemplated in the righteousness of faith. For this usage see Matthew 24:45; Luke 2:24, Luke 2:27; Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 3:10; and Burt. 397; Win. xliv. 4 b.

Lips. and Kl. coördinate τοῦ γν. with ἵνα εὑρεθῶ, as representing, not the purpose of being found in Christ, nor the object for which Paul possesses the righteousness of faith, but the mode in which he desires to be found in Christ. But the dependence on what immediately precedes is most natural. In τὸν Χτὸν κερδ. and εὑρεθῶ two elements are given which do not furnish a parallel to τοῦ γνῶναι, and Paul’s habit is to join two parallel clauses of design with a double ἵνα. (See Romans 7:13; 2 Corinthians 9:3; Galatians 3:14.) The difference, however, is not important. Calv., Grot., Beng., make τοῦ γν. dependent on τῇ πίστ., describing the power and the nature of faith. But this construction with πίστ. has no parallel in N.T. The change of construction from ἵνα in vs. 9 to the infin. of design is not uncommon in Paul. (See Romans 6:6; Colossians 1:9, Colossians 1:10.)

For γνῶναι, see on 1:19. Paul’s end is, indeed, εἰδέναι, the absolute knowledge; but he is here speaking rather of his coming into a knowledge of the riches of Christ in the process of his experience. See Lightf. on Galatians 4:9; and comp. John 7:27; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Galatians 4:8, Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 5:5; 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:29, 1 John 2:3:1, 1 John 2:16, 1 John 2:4:16. It should also be noted that, in N.T. Greek, γινώσκειν often implies a personal relation between the knower and the known, involving the influence of the object of knowledge upon the knower. (See John 2:24, John 2:25; 1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 John 4:8.) In Jn. the relation itself is expressed by the verb (John 17:3, John 17:25; 1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:4, 1 John 2:5:20). Here, therefore, ‘that I may come to know,’ appropriating with the increase of knowledge.

The two following details are involved in personal knowledge of Christ:

καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς�Romans 6:4-11. (Comp. Colossians 3:1 ff.) The resurrection is viewed, not only as something which Paul hopes to experience after death, nor as a historical experience of Christ which is a subject of grateful and inspiring remembrance, but as a present, continuously active force in his Christian development. The beginning of the life of faith is a moral resurrection, a rising with Christ (Romans 6:5; Colossians 3:1), inaugurating ‘newness of life’ (Romans 6:4),—life in the Spirit (Romans 7:6), a life essentially identical with the ζωὴ αἰώνιος and ἐπουράνιος of the glorified Jesus. Comp. Ephesians 1:19, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 1:2:5, Ephesians 1:6; and see the very suggestive remarks of Pfleiderer, Paulinismus, ch. v. “The rising with Christ is put, not as an object of hope, but as belonging to the present, from the moment when ‘the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead’ (Romans 8:11) takes up its abode in believers; so that the rising with Christ is so far a fact as that for them a new life is opened (2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:19). Thus, equipped with the death-overcoming, spiritual life-power of Christ, they enter upon a condition in which they are enabled to overcome the power of sin in their members, so that sin shall not have dominion over them (Romans 6:13, Romans 6:14; Colossians 3:5).”—Klöpper. Thus the knowledge of the power of Christ’s resurrection appears as an element of the righteousness of faith. This explains Paul’s phrase ‘justification of life’ (Romans 5:18). This knowledge includes the assurance of immortality.

καὶ κοινωνίαν παθημάτων αὐτοῦ: ‘and the fellowship of his sufferings.’

DFGKLP την before κοιν.

Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:5, 2 Corinthians 1:4:10, 2 Corinthians 1:11; Galatians 6:17; Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 4:13. A participation in the sufferings which Christ endured in his mortal life. (Comp. Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 12:3.) Such participation is involved in the knowledge of Christ. It is not merely ethical. It does not refer, except by implication, to the victorious power of suffering. Nor is a mere likeness to the sufferings of Christ intended. Like the knowledge of the power of the resurrection, the fellowship of the sufferings is involved in the mystical union with Christ, and is treated by Paul as a verification of this “at its hardest and most decisive point” (Weiss). Being in Christ involves fellowship with Christ at all points,—his obedient life, his spirit, his sufferings, his death, and his glory. The order of arrangement here is the true one. The fellowship of the sufferings follows the experience of the power of the resurrection. For the power of the resurrection appears in justification of life; and the new life in and with Christ puts its subject where Christ was,—in that attitude towards the world which engenders contradiction, reproach, and persecution. As Mey. truthfully observes: “The enthusiastic feeling of drinking the cup of Christ is not possible unless a man bears in his heart the mighty assurance of resurrection through the Lord.” One who is not under the power of the resurrection will not share Christ’s sufferings, because his moral attitude will not be such as to call out the assaults of the world. (Comp. John 7:7.) How this desire was fulfilled in Paul appears in the Acts, and in allusions in his letters. (See 1 Corinthians 4:10-13, 1 Corinthians 4:15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:8-12; Galatians 6:17.) Christ had said of him, ‘I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake’ (Acts 9:16).

συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ: ‘becoming conformed unto his death.’

אc Dc EKL συμμορφουμενος.

FG συνφορτειζομενος, ‘being burdened together.’

The conception of fellowship with Christ’s sufferings is further unfolded to its last point—even unto death. (Comp. 2:8.) Συμμορφίζεσθαι not elsewhere in Bib. The adj. σύμμορφος occurs 3:21; Romans 8:29. The participle is in apposition with the subject of τοῦ γνῶναι. (Comp. Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:10.) Not middle, ‘conforming myself to,’ but passive. The conformity is not ethical, as Romans 6:3-11, but is a conformity with the sufferings of Christ’s earthly life, even unto death. It does not necessarily indicate, as Mey., a distinct contemplation of Paul’s martyrdom. (Comp. 1:25, 26, 2:23, 24.) The thought is rather that of 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:10. (Comp. Romans 8:17.) The suffering of this present time works together with all things for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28); and such God ordained to be ‘conformed [συμμόρφους] to the image of his Son’ (Romans 8:29). The participle indicates the process of development.

11. εἴ πως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν: ‘if possibly I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.’ The words connect themselves most naturally with συμμορφ. τῷ θαν. αὐ., according to Paul’s habitual association of resurrection with death. Resurrection, physical or ethical, is attained only through death.

Lips., without assigning any reason, and Kl. for reasons which seem fanciful, connect with γνῶναι.

For εἴ πως see Acts 27:12; Romans 1:10, Romans 11:14. Much unnecessary difficulty has been made over the apparent uncertainty expressed in these words, and the fancied inconsistency with the certainty elsewhere expressed by Paul, as Romans 8:38, Romans 8:39, Romans 8:5:17, Romans 8:18, Romans 8:21; 2 Corinthians 5:1 ff.; Philippians 1:22, Philippians 1:23. He elsewhere urges the necessity of caution against a possible lapse from faith (2:12; 1 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 3:3, Galatians 5:4), and he takes the same caution to himself (1 Corinthians 9:27). His words here are an expression of humility and self-distrust, not of doubt. Weiss remarks that while, on the human side, the attainment of the goal may be regarded as doubtful, or at least conditioned upon humble self-estimate, on the side of the working of divine grace it appears certain.

καταντᾷν: Only in Paul and Acts. In Paul, of persons, 1 Corinthians 10:11, 1 Corinthians 10:14:36; of ethical relations, Ephesians 4:13. In Acts always of places, except 26:7.

καταντήσω is aor. subj., as καταλάβω (vs. 12). Εἰ with the subj. is rare in good class. prose, but occurs in LXX, and is common in later Greek. (See Burt. 253, 276.)

τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν:

KL, Arm., Cop., read ἐξαν. των νεκρων. So TR.

Ἐξανάστασις occurs only here in Bib. The verb ἐξανιστάναι is found Mark 12:9; Luke 20:28; Acts 15:5, but in neither of the passages of the rising of the dead. Why the compound word was selected instead of the simple�Luke 20:35; Acts 4:2; 1 Peter 1:3).

Lightf. says: “The general resurrection of the dead, whether good or bad, is ἡ�1 Corinthians 15:42); on the other hand, the resurrection of Christ and of those who rise with Christ is generally [ἡ]�Romans 1:4,�Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 1 Corinthians 15:43,�Acts 17:31, ἐκ νεκ., of Christ; vs. 32,�

The reference here is clearly to the resurrection of believers. The question of the resurrection of the wicked is irrelevant; and the idea of a reference to a spiritual resurrection while still in the body is entirely without support.

12. οὐχ ὅτι: See on 4:11. Supply λέγω, ‘I say not that.’ (Comp. John 6:46; 2 Corinthians 1:24, 2 Corinthians 1:3:5; Philippians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:9.)

ἤδη ἔλαβον: Ἤδη ‘now,’ marks the point of time at which all the past experience has arrived. Ἔλαβον covers Paul’s entire past up to the time of writing. Its object is not expressed, but is all that is included in vs. 8-11.

Lightf. is wrong in insisting that the aorist points to a definite past epoch, and translating ‘Not as though by my conversion I did at once attain.’ The aorist is frequently used to express duration extending to the present. See Ellic. on 1 Thessalonians 2:16, and comp. Luke 14:18; Romans 3:2; Galatians 5:24; Ephesians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:16. See also Beet, Expositor, 1st ser. xi. p. 375, 6.

The variety of objects suggested for ἔλαβον is bewildering. A favorite one is βραβεῖον from vs. 14. So Chr., Œc., Theoph., Beng., Ellic., Mey., Ead., Beet, Ril. Meyer says that βραβεῖον is the bliss of Messiah’s kingdom, and that ἔλαβον is to be explained of his having attained in ideal anticipation(!); Beet, “the full blessedness of the kingdom of Christ for which he must wait till the resurrection from the dead.” But who could possibly have imagined that he had attained this? There is no reason for anticipating βραβεῖον.

ἤδη τετελείωμαι: ‘am already made perfect.’

DFG add η ηδη δεδικαιωμαι.

Τετελ. explains ἔλαβον more definitely, or puts literally what ἔλ. had put figuratively. Ἔλ. regards the whole past as a completed act; τετ. the whole past gathered up in its relation to the present. The perfection referred to is moral and spiritual perfection. (Comp. Ephesians 3:17-19, Ephesians 3:4:Ephesians 3:13-16; Colossians 1:28; and Ign. Eph. iii. Οὐ διατάσσομαι ὑμῖν, ὡς ὤν τι· εἰ γὰρ καὶ δέδεμαι ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι, οὔπω�

διώκω δὲ: ‘but I pursue,’ or as A.V., ‘follow after’; better than R.V., ‘press on.’ The eagerness of Paul to attain his ideal is emulated by that of some of the commentators to bring βραβεῖον up into this verse. There is no need of supplying it with διώκω, nor need διώκω be taken absolutely. Its object lies in ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην, etc., and is the same as that of ἔλαβον. The pursuit is no groping after something undefined, nor is it prosecuted with any feeling of doubt as to the attainment of its end. Though he had zealously pursued the ‘law of righteousness’ (Romans 9:31) as a son of Israel, he was now pursuing the righteousness of faith with even greater zeal, under a mightier impulse, and with a clearer view of his goal. It is doubtful whether the metaphor of the race comes in here (as Ellic., Mey., Alf., Ead.): κατελήμφθην does not suit it. Διώκειν is often used by Paul, without that reference, for striving after the blessings and virtues of the Christian life. (See Romans 9:30, Romans 9:31, Romans 9:12:13, Romans 9:14:19, 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.) Instead of the idea of the race giving color to διώκω, it is quite as likely that διώκω suggested the metaphor in vs. 14. For διώκειν with καταλαμβάνειν, see Romans 9:30; LXX; Sir. 11:10, 27:8.

εἰ καὶ καταλάβω ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην: ‘if I may also grasp that for which I was grasped.’

Tisch. omits καὶ before καταλάβω with א*DFG, Syr., Cop., Arm., Goth., Æth. και is found in אc ABDKLP, Syr.P. So WH., R.T., Weiss.

καὶ: ‘if I may not only pursue but also attain.’ For εἰ καὶ, see on 2:17. For the progression from διώκειν to καταλαμβάνειν, comp. Romans 9:30. From λαμβάνειν to καταλαμ., and from τρέχετε to καταλαμ., 1 Corinthians 9:24. Καταλαβεῖν is ‘to overtake and seize.’ (See John 1:5, John 1:12:35; Romans 9:30; 1 Corinthians 9:24.)

ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην: The divine grace in Paul’s conversion is the moving power of his Christian development. The fulfilment of the ideal contemplated by Christ when he transformed him from a persecutor to an apostle is the goal which invites him. He desires to grasp that for which he was grasped by Christ. The aorist marks the time of his conversion, which was literally a seizure. Not, however, as Chr. and Thdrt., that Paul is conceived as running to destruction and pursued and seized by Christ.

To view his conversion as a seizure is not to deny the work of previous influences upon his mind preparing the way for the crisis of the journey to Damascus. (See Pfleiderer, Paulinismus, Einl.; Bruce, St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity, ch. ii.; Matheson, Spiritual Development of St. Paul, ch. ii., iii.,—see especially pp. 46, 47.)

Ἐφʼ ᾧ is relative to a suppressed antecedent, ἐκεῖνο, as Luke 5:25, ‘that for which I was grasped.’

Weiss refers the relative to καταλάβω simply, and renders ‘wherefore.’ So Lightf. Others, as Chr., Thdrt., Mey., Lips., make ἐφʼ ᾧ = ἐπὶ τουτῷ ὄτι, and render ‘because,’ taking καταλάβω absolutely. Calv.., ‘quemadmodum, just as.’

Καὶ refers to ἐφʼ ᾧ, adding the purpose of his being grasped to the assertion of his effort to grasp: ‘which I not only strive to grasp, but for which also I was grasped.’

The next two verses substantially repeat the assertions of vs. 12—the disavowal of satisfaction with his attainment, and the declaration of his strenuous pursuit of his spiritual ideal.

13. ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν οὔπω λογίζομαι κατειληφέναι: ‘I count not myself yet to have grasped.’

ουπω, WH. [], Tisch., R.T., with א ADP, 17, 31, 47, 80, Cop., Syr.P, Æth.; BDFGKL, Vulg., Goth., Arm., read ου.

Both ἐγὼ and ἐμαυτὸν are emphatic, expressing strongly his own estimate of himself. (Comp. Luke 7:7; John 8:54; 1 Corinthians 4:3.) It is quite superfluous to introduce an implied comparison with the judgment of others, either of those who think too highly of him, or of those who think too highly of themselves. Such an estimate, in itself, is in strong contrast with self-righteousness and religious conceit.

λογίζομαι: ‘I count’ or ‘reckon,’ very often in Paul, and almost confined to his epistles. Only four times elsewhere in N.T. The idea of a process of reasoning always underlies it.

ἕν δέ: Supply ποιῶ, not λογίζομαι, as Mey., for ἕν refers to what follows, which is a matter of doing, not of reckoning.

Others supply φροντίζω, μεριμνῶ, διώκω, οἶδα, λέγω. Such ellipses of the verb are common in Paul; e.g. 2:3, 5; Romans 4:9, Romans 4:5:18; Galatians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 6:13. (See Win. lxvi. I b.)

τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω: ‘the things which are behind.’ The portion of his Christian course already traversed. Not his experience as a persecutor of the church. With τὰ ὀπίσω, comp. τοῦ νῦν (1:5); τὰ κατʼ ἐμὲ (1:12); τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν (1:27, 2:19, 20); τὰ περὶ ἐμέ (2:23). Ὀπίσω only here by Paul.

The metaphor of the race now first enters.

ἐπιλανθανόμενος: ‘forgetting.’ The word nowhere else in Paul; sparingly in Synop., Heb., and Jas.; often in LXX. No special emphasis attaches to the compound. In class. it occurs sometimes, but rarely, in the sense of ‘forgetting wilfully’ (Hdt. iii.147, iv. 43). But so also does the simple verb (Hom. Il. ix.537; Æsch. Ag. 39). Not to be understood as if Paul were ashamed of what lay behind him in his Christian career, or as if he did not emphasise it as exhibiting the grace of God. (See 1 Corinthians 4:11-16, 1 Corinthians 4:15:10; 2 Corinthians 11:23.) Rather that he does not use the memory of what God has wrought in him and through him to encourage self-satisfaction and relaxation of effort. He is stimulated by the past to renewed energy in Christian self-development and in the building-up of Christ’s church. (See 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.)

τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν: The higher attainments in the Christian life. Only here.

ἐπεκτεινόμενος: ‘stretching forward.’ A graphic word from the arena. The body of the racer is bent forward, his hand is outstretched towards the goal, and his eye is fastened upon it. “The eye outstrips and draws onward the hand, and the hand the foot” (Beng.). The metaphor is from the foot-race, not from the chariot-race. Lightf. observes that not looking back would be fatal to the charioteer. The word has passed into sporting language—‘the home-stretch.’ Ἐπεκ., nowhere else in Bib. Ἐκτείνειν, often in Synop. with χείρ. (Comp. ἐκτένεια, Acts 26:7; ἐκτενής, 1 Peter 4:8; ἐκτενῶς, Acts 12:5; 1 Peter 1:22.)

14. κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω: ‘I press on towards the mark.’

κατὰ: Bearing down upon. Σκοπὸν, only here in N.T. That on which one fixes his look. (Comp. σκοποῦντες, 2:4.) In class. a mark for shooting at; also a moral or intellectual end (Plat. Gorg. 507 D; Phileb. 60 A). In LXX; Job 16:13; Lamentations 3:12, of an archer’s mark. It is not used in a technical sense of an appliance of the race course, as R.V. ‘goal.’

διώκω: “εὐφαντικώτατα δὲ τὸ διώκειν εἶπεν. Ὀ γὰρ διώκων οὐδὲν ἄλλο ὁρᾷ ἠ πρὸς ὅ σπεύδει, πάντα δὲ παρέρχεται, καὶ τὰ φίλτατα καὶ τὰ�

εἰς τὸ βραβεῖον: βραβ., only here and 1 Corinthians 9:24. The kindred verbs, βραβεύειν, ‘to be umpire,’ and καταβραβεύειν, ‘to be umpire against,’ ‘to defraud of a prize,’ are peculiar to the Colossian letter. (See 3:15, 2:18.) βραβ. is not used technically of the prize in the games, the technical word being ἆθλον. Here the heavenly reward; the ‘crown of righteousness’ (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10); a share in the glory of the exalted Christ (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:10, 2 Timothy 2:11). (Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Timothy 6:12.)

τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: ‘of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.’

The expression ἡ ἄνω κλῆσις is unique. The only analogous phrase in N.T. to βραβ. τ. ἄνω κλ. is ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως (Ephesians 1:18, Ephesians 4:4). The genitive of κλ. is the genitive of belonging. The prize is attached to the calling and involved in it.

Lips. and De W. make the genitive appositional: ‘the prize which is the high calling.’ This would identify the calling with the heavenly reward, and would leave βραβ. without definition.

Ἄνω means both ‘above,’ local, as Galatians 4:26, and ‘upwards,’ as John 11:41; Hebrews 12:15. Here the latter. Comp. the striking parall. in Philo, De Plant. Noe. § 6. The whole passage is full of movement, onward and upward. (Comp. Colossians 3:2.)

Most comms., however, make ἄνω = ἐπουράνιος, describing the quality of the calling as heavenly. (Comp. Hebrews 3:1.) Mey. and Weiss say, ‘because it issues from God in heaven.’ Why not then ἄνωθεν?

κλήσεως: The act of calling. Not that to which he is called (De W., Lips.). The word does not lose its active sense in N.T. It may include the original call of God to Paul, but it is not to be limited to that. God is continually summoning men upward in various ways. Nor does the expression suggest God as the judge of the contest, summoning the runners to the race (so some earlier comms. as Wolf, Rosenm., am E., Hoel., van Heng.). The genitive is that of the subject, that which offers the prize. God, in calling men upward, calls them to a heavenly reward. The prize is the object of ‘the hope of the calling’ (Ephesians 1:18).

τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: Connect with κλήσεως. The calling is ‘of God,’ because God is its author, and ‘in Christ Jesus’ as the sphere or element in which it is issued and prosecuted. For the expression ‘called in Christ Jesus,’ comp. 1 Corinthians 7:22; 1 Peter 5:10.

Mey. and Weiss connect with διώκω; but the position is against this.

15-21. Let us, therefore, who, by our profession, are committed to this high Christian ideal of perfection, cherish this spirit of humble dissatisfaction with past attainments and of earnest striving after all that is involved in our heavenward calling. And if, in any particular, your ideal of the possibilities of Christian attainment and of your proper attitude towards these differs from that which I have held up to you, God will correct this by future revelations; but only on the condition that you act up to the ideal which you already have, and follow the rule which it imposes. Brethren, unite in imitating me, and carefully observe those whose conduct resembles mine. For there are many, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you, even weeping, that their conduct marks them as the enemies of the cross of Christ. The end of such is destruction. Their god is their belly. Their minds are set upon earthly things. They glory in that which is their shame. We, on the other hand, are citizens of a commonwealth which is in heaven, whence we await the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; and when he shall appear, he will, by that power which enables him to subject all things to himself, refashion this body which belongs to our mortal state of humiliation, and fashion it after the likeness of that body which belongs to him in his heavenly glory.

The exhortation of vs. 15, 16 shows the effect of the strong emotion which pervades the preceding passage. The general sense is clear, and becomes embarrassing only when the attempt is made to adjust all its parts and their connection according to rigid rhetorical rules. The apostle has just held up his own lofty ideal of Christian character. He has disclaimed the having attained it, because its transcendent greatness will not allow him to be satisfied with past attainments, and only stimulates him to more strenuous effort. In this attitude of humility and aspiring exertion, he exhorts his readers to imitate him. At the same time, he recognises the possibility that their ideal of Christian perfection may differ from his own in some particulars, and be lower than his own, in which case God will correct the defect by future revelations. But the condition of such revelations is, that they practically carry out their own ideals, such as they are, and live strictly according to the rule of conduct which they impose.

15. ὅσοι οὖν τέλειοι, τοῦτο φρονῶμεν: ‘Let as many of us therefore as are perfect be thus minded.’ Paul here includes himself among the τέλειοι, although in vs. 12 he has said οὐχ ἤδη τετελείωμαι. Evidently the two expressions are not used in the same sense. In vs. 12 he is speaking of absolute perfection, such as would relieve him of the necessity of further striving. In τέλειοι he is speaking of relative perfection. (Comp. Matthew 5:48.) Τέλειος has two senses in the N.T.: 1. ‘full-grown,’ ‘mature,’ in contrast with childish ignorance and weakness, as 1 Corinthians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 2:14:20; Hebrews 5:14.Hebrews 5:2; Hebrews 5:2. Absolutely, as Matthew 5:48; James 1:4, James 3:2. Yet, in this absolute usage, there is a distinction which is illustrated in Matthew 5:48. As used there of the absolute perfection of God, it cannot be used of the perfection which is enjoined by Jesus upon men. That perfection is relative. Similarly here, the ideal condition is ascribed to those who are, by their profession, committed to it as their own ideal, just as ἅγιοι is used of those who are, though not absolutely holy, yet consecrated to the holy God. As Rilliet remarks, “The word meaning what ought to be is taken by concession to mean what is, evidently with the intention of attaching the reality to the ideal, and of recalling to believers the obligations involved in the title.” Τέλειοι here is, therefore, a general designation of the Christian condition in all its aspects, not, as Lips., with reference only to Christian knowledge. It is the same, practically, as πνευματικοί (1 Corinthians 3:1; Galatians 6:1). It does not imply any special contrast, as with weaker brethren, Judaisers, indifferentists, etc., nor is there any reason for attributing to it an ironical sense, as Lightf., who compares 1 Corinthians 8:1.

Alf., Mey., Lightf., Ead., Beet, explain τέλειοι as ‘mature,’ ‘advanced in Christian experience.’

τοῦτο φρονῶμεν: For φρον., see on 1:7. A more delicate quality is given to the exhortation by Paul’s associating himself with his readers. (Comp. Romans 5:1.)

The immediate reference of τοῦτο is to vs. 13, 14. Let us beware of thinking that our attainment is such as to make further striving unnecessary. ‘Let us rather cherish that humble self-estimate which shall stimulate us to press toward the mark for the prize of our heavenward calling.’ Nevertheless we cannot entirely separate these two verses from the whole representation of the Christian ideal from vs. 7. To have such an estimate of the greatness of the future as to forget the past, to have such a sense of the magnitude of the prize as to be constantly dissatisfied with former attainments and to be ever pressing on to something higher, to have such an ideal of Christ as to make one constantly feel his own littleness and insufficiency,—implies knowing Christ, being found in Christ, the casting aside of human righteousness, and such knowledge of the eternal possibilities of life in Christ as can be obtained only through mystical union with him.

καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε: Εἰ with the indicative implies a case which is quite supposable. Ἑτέρως, only here in N.T. ‘Otherwise’ than what? The point of comparison must not be too rigidly fixed at any detail of the context, such as the humble self-estimate and the earnest striving, or the great fundamental elements of Christian life, such as having the righteousness of faith, or being found in Christ; for ἑτέρως would express too feebly differences on points so vital, and Paul would have met such with something more than the promise of further revelations. The reference is loose, and concerns minor points in the characteristics of the τέλειοι generally considered. It was entirely possible that many of his readers, although having a genuine faith in Christ, and fully accepting the doctrine of justification by faith, might not have apprehended his profound views of mystical union, or have had the same clear ideas as himself concerning certain practical applications of doctrine; even that they might not have felt the impulse to higher spiritual attainment in its full stringency, and might have been inclined to regard his conduct and sentiments in certain particulars as exaggerated. Such facts are familiar to every Christian pastor. In the first Corinthian letter Paul insists on the unity of the body of Christ and the sin and danger of breaking it. Yet there were those in that church, many of them, no doubt, sincere and earnest believers, who did not grasp the application of this truth to the question of eating idol-meats. The force of φρονεῖτε should be carefully noted. It has been shown (ch. 1:7) that φρονεῖν signifies the general disposition of mind rather than the specific act of thought; and its use here shows that the apostle is not dealing specially, if at all, with differences of opinion, but rather with dispositions which underlie the spiritual life. The differences concern form, point of emphasis, extent of application, rather than substance or subject-matter.

Lightf. explains, ‘if progress be your rule, though you are at fault on any subject, God will reveal this also to you’; translating ἐτέρως ‘amiss.’ So Ril. and Lum. There is classical precedent for this meaning, but it is entirely unknown in N.T.

καὶ τοῦτο: ‘this also’; in addition to what God has already revealed. Τοῦτο refers to τι; ‘this,’ whatever it be, in which you may be otherwise minded. Not, ‘shall reveal that you are wrong, and that I am right’ (Œc., Calv., Grot.), nor ‘shall show whether you are right or I’ (Ew.), nor identical with the preceding τοῦτο (Beng.).

ἀποκαλύψει: Ἀποκαλύπτειν is to unveil something that is hidden, thus giving light and knowledge. (See Galatians 1:16, Galatians 1:3:23; Ephesians 3:5.) Hence, of God’s giving to his servants insight into divine truth (Matthew 11:25, Matthew 11:27, Matthew 11:16:17; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 14:30. See Westcott, Introd. to the Study of the Gospels, p. 9; Trench, Syn. xciv.). Paul here means a revelation by the indwelling Spirit of God (Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16), either directly or through apostolic teaching, experience, or other means.

16. πλὴν: ‘nevertheless’; ‘notwithstanding.’ (Comp. i. 18.) Though there may be things concerning which you need further revelation, ‘nevertheless,’ the condition of your receiving this is your walking according to your present attainment of light and knowledge.

εἰς ὅ: ‘whereunto’; to whatever divinely revealed knowledge. Thus ὅ carries on the thought of�

ἐφθάσαμεν: ‘we have attained.’ The verb means, primarily, ‘to come before,’ ‘to anticipate,’ as 1 Thessalonians 4:15. In N.T. it mostly loses the sense of anticipation, and signifies simply ‘to come’ or ‘arrive at,’ though occasionally with a sense of suddenness or surprise, as Matthew 12:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:16.

τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν: ‘by that same walk.’ That same knowledge already revealed. For the dative of the norm or standard, see Acts 15:1; Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:25, Galatians 5:6:16; Win. 31:6 b.

Στοιχεῖν from στοίχος, ‘a row.’ Hence ‘to walk in line.’ (Comp. Acts 21:24; Galatians 6:16.) ‘To march in battle-order’ (Xen. Cyr. vi. 3, 34). Comp. συνστοιχεῖ (Galatians 4:25), ‘answereth to;’ i.e. belongs to the same row or column with. Hence the letters of the alphabet were called στοιχεία, and also the elements or parts of a system. (See Galatians 4:3, Galatians 4:9; Colossians 2:8; 2 Peter 3:10.)

The infin. here for the imperat., as Romans 12:15.

TR after στοιχειν adds κανονι το αυτο φρονειν with אc KLP, Syr.utr; this was inserted from Galatians 6:16; DEFG, 31, 37, 80, It., Vulg., Goth., Arm., read το αυτο φρονειν τω αυτω στοιχειν; Dc E, Vulg., Goth., Arm., add κανονι.

Alf., Mey., Dw., refer εἰς ὅ to the grade of moral and spiritual progress already attained. But this involves an awkwardness in the correlation of εἰς ὅ and τῷ αὐτῷ. Ἑἰς ὃ in that case would imply a common point of attainment which it is impossible to determine, and which does not agree with ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε. Lightf. explains τῷ αὐτῷ as the rule of faith opposed to works, and thinks that the words were added as a parting caution against ‘the dogs,’ ‘the concision,’ etc. He renders, ‘let us walk by the same rule whereunto we attained.’ But the rule is not the point of attainment, but only the way to it. Kl. explains ἐφʼ ὃ of a potential attainment in the possession of the law of righteousness which Israel had not attained in its pursuit (Romans 9:30). This norm, in virtue of which they are new creatures, is the rule by which they are to walk. This seems forced.

17. Στοιχεῖν marks an advance of thought, from the principle and spirit of Christian life (φρονῶμεν) to its practice (περιπατεῖν). The following clause is awkwardly constructed, and lends itself to different interpretations.

Συνμιμηταί μου γίνεσθε, etc.: Render, ‘Brethren, be ye unitedly imitators of me, and carefully observe those who walk as ye have us for an example.’ The exhortation consists of two parts: 1. Unite in imitating me. 2. Observe those whose conduct resembles mine. Thus οὕτω and καθὼς are correlative, ‘who walk so, as ye have,’ etc. The awkwardness is in ἔχετε where we should expect ἔχουσι: ‘observe those who walk as they have us,’ etc. The phrase, however, is compressed, and means ‘walk as you do who have me for an example.’

ἡμᾶς: Paul and his associates, as Timothy, Epaphroditus, and others known to the Philippians. Paul, in speaking of himself, occasionally uses the plural for the singular, as in 2 Corinthians 1:23, 2 Corinthians 1:24, 2 Corinthians 1:11:21; but the instances are not as numerous as is sometimes supposed. (See Lightf. on 1 Thessalonians 2:4.)

Mey., Weiss, Ellic., render ‘Be imitators with others (σὺν) who imitate me (viz. those described in the next clause), and mark those who walk in this way (οὕτω absol. and not correl. with καθὼς): inasmuch as (καθὼς) ye have us (i.e. both myself and those who thus walk) as an example.’ This relieves the awkwardness of ἒχετε, but: 1. It lays unnecessary emphasis on Paul’s calling attention to his own example. 2. It shifts σὺν from its emphatic position in an independent clause to the next clause, from which it is separated by καὶ and another verb. 3. It makes οὕτω περιπ. refer to συνμιμ. γίν., in which, indeed, it may be implied; but by the other construction it is directly and naturally related to what follows by περιπ. of vs. 18.

συνμιμηταί μου: Σὺν signifies the union of the subjects of γίνεσθε: ‘be unitedly imitators of me.’ Not as Beng., ‘be imitators along with me in imitating Christ.’ There is no reference to Christ in the context. Συνμιμ. only here in Bib. No self-conceit is implied in μοῦ. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 4:11:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9.)

σκοπεῖτε: See on 2:4, and comp. Romans 16:17; 2 Corinthians 4:18.

τοὺς περιπατοῦντας: Paul often uses περιπατεῖν to describe conduct. (See Romans 6:4, Romans 6:8:1; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 2:2.) Never in the literal sense. In the Synop., on the other hand, it never occurs in the metaphorical sense, and but once in Acts (21:21). The metaphorical sense appears in John, especially in the Epistles. (See Jn. (Ev.) 8:12, 12:35; 1 John 1:6, 1 John 1:7, 1 John 1:2:6, 11, etc.)

τύπον: Frequent in Paul; as Romans 5:14, Romans 5:6:17; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:7. Originally ‘the impression left by a stroke’ (τύπτειν). (See John 20:25.) Generally, ‘image,’ ‘form,’ always with a statement of the object which it represents. Hence ‘pattern,’ ‘example.’

The exhortation is enforced by the contrast presented by those who follow a different example.

18. πολλοὶ: Precisely who are meant cannot be determined. According to most of the earlier expositors, the Judaisers described in vs. 2. So Lips. Some later authorities, as Weiss and Ril., the heathen. The majority of modern comms., antinomian Libertines of Epicurean tendencies: nominal Christians of immoral life. So Lightf., Mey., Kl., De W., Ellic., Alf., Beet.

Weiss (Am. Journ. of Theol. April, 1897, p. 391) is very severe upon this explanation. He reasons that it is impossible to conceive of such nominal Christians in the beloved Philippian church, and identifies the πολλοὶ with the κύνες of vs. 2, who, according to him, are the heathen. He cites Revelation 22:15 for κύνες, and in his latest commentary, 2 Peter 2:22. But the latter passage is distinctly of apostate Christians.

περιπατοῦσιν: ‘conduct themselves’; ‘behave,’ as vs. 17. It is unnecessary to supply a qualifying word, as κακῶς.

πολλάκις ἔλεγον: When he was at Philippi, or possibly in former letters. (See on vs. 1.)

νῦν: Contrasted with πολλ. ἒλ.

κλαίων: This deep emotion would more probably be excited by recreant Christians than by heathen whose sensuality and worldliness were familiar to the Apostle. He would be most sorrowfully affected by the reproach and injury to the church wrought by professing Christians, and by their own unhappy and perilous condition.

τοὺς ἐχθροὺς: In apposition with the preceding relative οὓς. (See Win. lix. 7.) The article marks the class which they represent.

τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ: Comp. Galatians 6:12. Σταυρὸς is the usual N.T. word for Christ’s cross. In Acts 5:30, Acts 10:39, both quotations, ξύλον occurs; also in 1 Peter 2:24. Paul uses ξύλον in quotation, Galatians 3:13, and in his speech at Pisidian Antioch as reported in Acts 13:29. (Comp. Ign. Smyr. i.; Trall. xi.) Different surmises (for they are little more) have been offered as to the particular point at which Paul conceives this enmity to be directed, such as the preaching of the law against the cross (Theo.Mop., Thdrt.); the hatred of the cross through fear of persecution (Grot., Beng.); the hatred of the gospel because the cross is its central truth (Calv., Weiss); hatred of the cross through reluctance to crucify self or to suffer with Christ (Chr., Mey.). Such limitations of the Apostle’s thought are uncalled for. Enmity to the cross might include any or all of these particulars. Assuredly the title ‘enemies of the cross’ was justly applied to such as are described in vs. 19.

These enemies are more specifically described as to their character and destiny. Their destiny is significantly treated first.

19. ὧν τὸ τέλος�

Τὸ marks the definiteness of the point to which their conduct tends. Τέλος is more than mere termination. Rather consummation; the point into which the whole series of transgressions finally gathers itself up. (Comp. Romans 6:21; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Hebrews 6:8.) Ἀπώλεια occurs in N.T. both in the physical and in the moral sense. For the former see Matthew 26:8; Acts 8:20. The latter is the more common, and Paul always uses it thus.

ὧν ὁ θεὸς ἡ κοιλία: Comp. Romans 16:18; 2 Peter 2:13. The rare word κοιλιοδαίμων, ‘one who makes a god of his belly,’ occurs in the Κόλακες of the comic poet Eupolis, and in Athenæus. (Comp. Eurip. Cyclops, 335.) Xen. Mem. i. 6, 8, ii. I, 2, has δουλεύειν γαστρί, ‘to be the slave of the belly’; and Alciphro, 2:4, γαστρομαντεύομαι, ‘to divine by the belly.’ The contrast appears in Romans 14:17. The suggestion of Lips. (so Theo.Mop.) that the reference may be to Jewish laws about meats, is fanciful.

καὶ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ αἰσχύνῃ αὐτῶν: That in which they glory is their disgrace. Their so-called liberty is bondage to slavish lusts. For δόξα, see on 1:11. With ἐν supply ἔστι; ‘consists in.’ Beng., Mich., Storr, with Lips., refer αἰσχύνη to ‘the concision’ (vs. 2), and explain ‘pudenda.’

οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες: ‘who mind earthly things.’ Their general disposition and moral tendency are worldly. (See on 1:7.) This is the root of their depravity. A contrast is suggested, probably intended, with τοῦτο φρονῶμεν, vs. 15. (Comp. Colossians 3:2.)

The change of construction to the nominative οἱ φρονοῦντες is variously explained. Win. xxix. 2, takes οἱ φρον. as a disconnected nominative with an exclamatory force. So De W., Lightf. Mey. and Hack. refer it to the logical subject of what precedes. Ellic. and Alf. regard it as a return to the primary construction, πολλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν. Of these explanations Win. is the least probable. The two others have grammatical precedent, but it is better to place the construction in the category of those instances which are not uncommon in N.T. and in class., where the nominative is introduced in a kind of apposition with what precedes. This is especially frequent in Apoc. (See Mark 7:19; Acts 10:37; Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:7:4, Revelation 1:20:2; Blass, § 31, 6; Jelf, 477.)

Τὰ ἐπίγ. φρον. is the basis of a new contrast. Their character and conduct mark them as belonging to this world; but we are citizens of a heavenly commonwealth.

20. ἡμῶν: Emphatic as contrasted with οἱ τὰ ἐπίγ. φρον. (vs. 19).

γὰρ: As in Galatians 3:10, Galatians 5:5, confirming the statement concerning the one party by showing the opposite course or character of the other. The connection is with ἐπίγ. φρον. Their course is the opposite of ours; for, while they mind earthly things, our mind is set upon the interests of the heavenly commonwealth to which we belong. The repetition of φρονεῖν as marking the general moral tendency or disposition is noticeable.

τὸ πολίτευμα: ‘commonwealth.’ (Comp. πολιτεύεσθε, 1:27, note.)

No sharp distinction can be drawn between πολίτευμα and πολιτεία. Arist. makes πολίτευμα the concrete of πολιτεία, ‘the government’ as the expression of citizenship (Pol. iii. 6, 1, iii. 7, 2), and also identifies the two (Pol. iii. 13, 8, iv. 6, 8). He defines πολιτεία as ‘commonwealth’ (Pol. iii. 7, 3, iv. 8, 1, iv. 4, 19). In 2 Macc. 4:11, 8:17, πολιτεία is ‘government’; in 13:14, apparently, ‘state’ or ‘commonwealth.’ Lightf. gives only two meanings of πολίτευμα, ‘the state,’ and ‘the functions of citizens.’ But it also means ‘an act of administration’; ‘a measure of government’; and ‘a form of government.’ In the absence of any permanent distinction, the rendering ‘citizenship’ (R.V. ‘commonwealth’ in marg.) is justifiable. The rendering of the A.V., ‘conversation,’ is founded on the original sense of that word, ‘conduct or behaviour in intercourse with society.’

ὑπάρχει: ‘is.’ (See on 2:6.) Due emphasis must be laid on the use of the present tense. The believer now is, in this present world, a citizen of the heavenly commonwealth. The πολίτευμα is not, therefore, as Mey., to be explained as Messiah’s kingdom which has not yet appeared, and of which Christians are citizens only in an ideal or proleptic sense which is to be completely realised at the parousia. While it is true that the full realisation of the heavenly commonwealth will come with the parousia, it is no less true that those who are in Christ, whose ‘life is hid with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3), for whom ‘to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21), who are ‘crucified with Christ’ and live their present life by faith in him (Galatians 2:20), are now members of the heavenly commonwealth, and live and act under its laws. Their allegiance is rendered to it. They receive their impulses to action and conduct from it. Their connection with it is the basis of their life of ‘righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’ (Romans 14:17), as distinguished from the life of belly-worship and worldliness. They are ‘fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19). The commonwealth of believers is an actual fact on earth, because it is one with ‘the Jerusalem that is above’ (Galatians 4:26). Comp. Ep. to Diognetus, 5, which describes Christians: ἐπὶ γῆς διατρίβουσιν�

The consummation of this citizenship, however, is yet to come. As members of the heavenly commonwealth they are still pressing on in obedience to the upward call (vs. 14). Hence they are in an attitude of expectation.

ἐξ οὗ: ‘whence’: from heaven. Not from the πολίτευμα as Beng., Lips. The phrase is adverbial. (See Win. xxi. 3.)

Καὶ marks the correspondence of the expectation with the fact of the πολίτ. ἐν οὐρ.

ἀπεκδεχόμεθα: ‘we await.’ (Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:10.) The word occurs but twice outside of Paul’s letters (Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 3:20; comp. Romans 8:19, Romans 8:23, Romans 8:25; Galatians 5:5). It denotes earnest expectation. (See on�

σωτῆρα: ‘as Saviour.’ Without the article, and predicative. Notice the emphatic position. The Lord is also to come as Judge; but they come not into judgment (John 3:18, John 5:24). Among the privileges of Christians described in Hebrews 12:22-24, is that of drawing near to the Judge who is God of all. It is in the capacity of Saviour that they await him—the same capacity in which they have already received and known him. They look for him to complete their salvation, and therewith to deliver them from the sufferings which they have shared with him, and from the infirmities and limitations of the flesh. (Comp. Romans 8:19 ff.; 2 Corinthians 5:4.)

To await him as Saviour from�Ephesians 5:23. In six cases in the Pastorals and one in Jude, it is applied to God.

κύριον: See on 2:11. Answering to the idea of πολίτευμα.

The special aspect in which the expected Saviour is viewed is that of a transformer, changing the mortal body of the believer into the likeness of his own glorified body.

21. ὃς μετασχηματίσει: ‘who shall refashion.’ For the verb see 1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. (See on 2:8, and comp.�1 Corinthians 15:51].) The verb signifies the change of the outward fashion (σχῆμα), the sensible vesture in which the human spirit is clothed. See Just. M. Dial. Try. i., where σχῆμα is used of the philosopher’s dress.

The Jews looked merely for the restoration of the present body. Paul’s idea includes an organic connection with the present body, but not its resuscitation. The new body is not identical with the present body. There is a change of σχῆμα, but not a destruction of personal identity. “There is a real connection or some correlation between the present and the future embodiment, but not identity of substance. The life, the principle of life, the individuality of it, shall remain unbroken, but ‘the matter of life,’ as the physiologists say, shall be changed” (Newman Smyth, Old Faiths in New Light, p. 364). Paul’s conception is developed under the figure of the seed-corn in 1 Corinthians 15:0.

τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν: ‘the body of our humiliation.’ Not as A.V. ‘vile body.’ To construe the phrase as a hendiadys is grammatically wrong (see on 3:8), and the apostle is far from characterising the body which Christ honored by his tenancy as base in itself. Such a sense, moreover, would lend countenance to the Stoic contempt for the body. The meaning is, the body in which our mortal state of humiliation is clothed. This body is called ‘the body of our humiliation,’ primarily in order to emphasise the contrast between it and the glorified body of the Lord, but also with a subordinate reference to its weakness, its subjection to vanity, corruption, and death,—its sufferings, and the hindrances which it offers to Christian striving and spiritual attainment. (Comp. Romans 8:20-24.)

There may possibly be an implied contrast of the glory of the transformed body with that glory of the sensualists which is their shame (Ellic., Mey., Weiss), but this must not be pressed. Nor do I find in the expression the hortative element which Ellic. thinks that he detects, and likewise Kl., who says it is an exhortation to preserve their bodies as temples of the Holy Ghost.

σύμμορφον: ‘that it may be conformed.’

TR. adds εις το γενεσθαι αυτο with Db and c EKLP, Syr.utr., Probably supplied to meet the apparent difficulty of the appositional accusative.

The adjective denoting the effect of the transformation is added appositionally instead of forming an independent sentence with εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτό. (Comp. Matthew 12:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; and see Win. lxvi. 3 g.) As μετασχ. denoted change of outward fashion, σύμμορφ. denotes conformation to what is essential, permanent, and characteristic in a body which is the appropriate investiture of Christ’s glorified condition—a ‘spiritual body’: a conformity which is inward and thorough, and not merely superficial. On the union of Christians with the spiritual life of Christ which belongs to the heavenly world (Romans 6:5), rests their hope that they shall be saved in his life and conformed to its heavenly investiture. (See Romans 5:9, Romans 5:10, Romans 5:8:10, Romans 5:11.)

σώματι τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ: ‘to the body of his glory.’ Not as A.V. ‘glorious body,’ by hendiadys, which dilutes and weakens the conception. See on vs. 8, and for other misapplications of the figure hendiadys, comp. A.V. Romans 8:21, ‘glorious liberty’; 2 Corinthians 4:4, ‘glorious gospel’; Ephesians 1:19, ‘mighty power’; 1 Peter 1:14, ‘obedient children.’ The resurrection in the N.T. is habitually conceived in connection with corporeity, but a corporeity in keeping with the heavenly life. (See Weiss, Bib. Theol. Eng. §§ 19, 34.) The phrase ‘body of his glory’ signifies the body in which he is clothed in his glorified state, and which is the proper investiture of his heavenly glory; the form in which his perfect spiritual being is manifest. This glory is peculiarly and originally the glory of the incorruptible God, and therefore belongs to an embodiment which retains no trace of earthly materiality or corruption, but is altogether informed and determined by the higher vital principle (πνεῦμα) and is its appropriate organ (σῶμα πνευματικόν, 1 Corinthians 15:44). Accordingly this glorified body is no longer in antithesis to the πνεῦμα. It is the investiture which the πνεῦμα forms for itself, and which perfectly reveals it. In the resurrection, through which, as completed by the ascension, Christ received this body, he became wholly πνευματικός—a πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν (1 Corinthians 15:45), and therefore is called τὸ πνεῦμα (2 Corinthians 3:17). A foreshadowing of this appeared in his bodily manifestation between the resurrection and the ascension. His body appeared as πνευματικόν though not in its full manifestation as the σῶμα τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ. (See Newman Smyth, Old Faiths in New Light, p. 358; Westcott, Gospel of the Resurrection, ch. ii. p. 19-21; J. Oswald Dykes, Expositor, 1st ser. iii. p. 161; Mey. on 1 Corinthians 15:45.)

The change into the body of Christ’s glory is the consummation of the believer’s life in him. (Comp. vs. 9-11.) The entire passage (vs. 9-21) is a complete statement of the Pauline doctrine of salvation:

1. The beginning, the intermediate stages, and the sum of all are Christ (vs. 9).

2. Justification by faith and mystical union with Christ form one conception—righteousness of God by faith and being found in Christ (vs. 9).

3. This conception is carried out on the line of mystical union with Christ: to know him, the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death. Notice the repetition of αὐτοῦ, keeping Christ continually before the eye (vs. 10).

4. The life in Christ is marked by earnest striving to realise the ends for which the believer was grasped by Christ. He follows the beckoning of God which ever summons him heavenward, in order that he may at last win the heavenly prize (12-16).

5. Vital communion with Christ constitutes him a member of a heavenly commonwealth. To this his allegiance is rendered; by its laws his life is regulated; its members are his brethren. As a citizen of this commonwealth he eagerly awaits its consummation in the final triumph and eternal establishment of the Messianic kingdom (vs. 20).

6. Therefore, living in the power of Christ’s resurrection, he awaits in hope the actual resurrection from the dead, wherein the saving power of Christ will be displayed in the change of the mortal bodies of all believers into the likeness of Christ’s glorified body, and which will inaugurate the absolute and eternal dominion of the commonwealth of God (vs. 21).

The warrant for this confident expectation is the divine power of Christ to subject all things to himself.

κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ δύνασθαι αὐτὸν: ‘according to the working whereby he is able’; or, more literally, ‘according to the energy of his ability.’

κατὰ: The change is ‘in accordance with’ or ‘appropriate to’ Christ’s power of universal subjection. The statement both as to the change itself and the power which effects it, is in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Corinthians 6:15:53, 55; Ephesians 1:19.

Ἐνέργεια occurs only in Paul. It is power in exercise; “potentia in actu exserens” (Calv.), and is used in N.T. only of superhuman power. (See Colossians 1:29, Colossians 1:2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9.) It is the active energy in which δύναμις displays itself. (Comp. Ephesians 3:7, and see on ὁ ἐνεργῶν, 2:13.) The power or virtue which was in Christ when the woman touched the hem of his garment (Mark 5:30; Luke 8:46) was δύναμις. In the healing of the woman it became ἐνέργεια.

καὶ: ‘also’ or ‘even,’ marking the measure of the power. Able not only to transform the body but also to subject all things to himself.

ὑπόταξαι: Originally ‘to arrange’ or ‘marshal under.’ Often simply ‘to subject.’ (See 1 Corinthians 15:27, 1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 1:22; Hebrews 2:8; James 4:7.)

τὰ πάντα: ‘all things,’ collectively, as vs. 8.


M. Ménégoz, in his treatise Le Péché et la Rédemption, says that Philippians 3:8-10 contains the most precise statement of the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith. Without assenting to his view that Christ was justified by his own death and resurrection, I agree with him as to the importance of the statement contained in these verses. It does not contradict any previous utterance of Paul, nor does it present any new feature; but it combines and exhibits as a single conception what are commonly regarded as two distinct elements of the righteousness of faith. These two elements are assumed to be separately treated in the Epistle to the Romans. They are, the initial, objective, judicial act of declaring righteous, whereby a believer is placed in a state of reconciliation with God, and the establishment, through faith, of a vital union with Christ; or, to put the matter more briefly, the righteousness of faith viewed as objective justification and as subjective sanctification. I say ‘regarded’ and ‘assumed,’ because, both on the ground of this passage and of the Epistle to the Romans, I do not regard this separation as justifiable. For I think that these two elements are inseparably united in the Apostle’s conception of righteousness by faith. The distinction between justification and sanctification I regard as largely technical. They represent, it is true, respectively, the initiation and the consummation of the work of salvation; but Paul uses ἁγιασμός both of the state and of the process of sanctification; and that word, in Romans 6:19, is associated with the ‘walk in newness of life’ rather than with the consummation of subjection to righteousness. Having become servants of righteousness, the readers stand committed to an economy of sanctification, in which they are to ‘perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 7:1. See Sanday on Romans 6:19). The point is well stated by Liddon in his Analysis of Romans, pp. 17, 18: “The δικαιοσύνη which God gives includes these two elements,—acquittal of the guilt of sin, or justification in the narrower sense of the word, and the communication of a new moral life, ‘that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us’ (Romans 8:4). These two sides of the gift of δικαιοσύνη can only be separated in thought: in fact they are inseparable.… The true righteousness is one, not two or more. The maxim ‘justitia alia justifications, sanctifications alia’ is not Paul’s. Paul knows nothing of an external righteousness which is reckoned without being given to man; and the righteousness which faith receives is not external only, but internal; not imputed only, but imparted to the believer. Justification and sanctification may be distinguished by the student as are the arterial and nervous systems in the human body; but in the living body they are coincident and inseparable.”

I think that, so far as justification is a judicial act following upon repentance and faith, it is regarded by Paul as the initial stage of a condition of actual inward righteousness, which is to develop itself in the believer’s experience as fruit from seed. (Comp. Lips. Hand-Com. Ep. to Rom. Einl. p. 82.) Hence I differ from Professor Bruce (St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity, p. 158 ff., Amer. ed.), who claims that the two aspects of justification are separately treated by Paul in Romans. He says: “He does not refer to the subjective aspect of faith as a renewing power till he has finished his exposition of the doctrine of justification. He takes up faith’s function in establishing a vital union with Christ in the sixth chapter.… Does not this amount to the exclusion of faith’s sanctifying function from the grounds of justification?” I think not. For, as Professor Bruce admits, Paul already alludes to the subjective aspect of justification in the opening of the fifth chapter. Being justified, we have peace with God, joy in hope of glory, in tribulation, and in God himself. But, what is more to the point, Paul, in the third and fourth chapters, does not treat of the operation of justification. His main point is the essential quality of justification, as being by faith and not by works of the law. When he does take up the operation of justification in ch. vi., he treats the two aspects in combination. He does not confine himself to what follows justification. He begins with the death to sin. With Christ we die to sin; we are raised up with him unto a walk in newness of life. Union with him by the likeness of his death implies union with him by the likeness of his resurrection. Our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin. “But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him (here, not only hereafter); knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once for all: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.” Comp. “be found in him” (Philippians 3:9).

(1) In our passage Paul represents the righteousness of faith as a real righteousness in the believer. It is not founded upon human merit; it is not a righteousness of legal obedience. It proceeds from God and comes to man through faith in Christ (vs. 9). It is not perfect (vs. 12-14). None the less it is an actual righteousness in the man. Justification contemplates rightness—right living, feeling, and thinking. Faith is not a substitute for this rightness. It is its generative principle; its informing quality. God’s plan of salvation is not intended to effect, by a mere legal adjustment, something which cannot be an actual fact. It is not true that God practically gives up the possibility of righteous men, and merely allows the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to stand for it. God’s intent is to make men personally righteous. Paul does not teach, nor is it anywhere taught in Scripture, that the requirement of personal righteousness is fulfilled for man by some one else, and that man has only to accept this substitute by faith. Rather Paul declares explicitly that God predestined his children ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son’ (Romans 8:29).

I shall not enter upon the discussion of the meaning of δικαιοῦν, since the question does not turn upon that. It may be conceded that the dominant sense of that word is forensic, ‘to declare or pronounce righteous.’ That that sense can be vindicated in every instance, I very much doubt. (See E. P. Gould on “Paul’s Use of δικαιοῦν, ” Amer. Journ. of Theol. vol. 1. No. 1, and W.A. Stevens in vol. 1. No. 2.) But, that question apart, it should be noted that the sense of a declared or imputed righteousness, if it belong to δικαιοσύνη at all, is peculiar to Paul. Elsewhere it has the meaning of personal rightness, or righteous quality. In the LXX it occurs in nine instances as the translation of חֶסֶד, ‘kindness’; while צְדָקָה, ‘justice,’ usually translated by δικαιοσύνη, is, in nine cases, rendered by ἐλεημοσύνη, and three times by ἔλεος. In Matthew 6:1, the TR, with the later uncials and most cursives, read ἐλεημοσύνην for δικαιοσύνην; while אa gives δόσιν. (See Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, p. 49 ff.)

(2) This conception of a real righteousness in the believer is opposed to the familiar dogmatic explanation that δικαιοσύνη πίστεως is not a personal but an imputed quality. According to this, the righteousness is not in the man, but in Christ; and Christ’s righteousness is imputed, or reckoned, or set down to his account through his faith. This imputation works no subjective change in the man. It is merely placing to his account the righteousness of another. He is, though not actually righteous, judicially declared to be righteous. Thus Dr. Hodge (Syst. Theol. 3. p. 144 ff.): The imputation of the righteousness of Christ to a believer for his justification “does not and cannot mean that the righteousness of Christ is infused into the believer, or in any way so imparted to him as to change or constitute his moral character. Imputation never changes the inward, subjective state of the person to whom the imputation is made.… When righteousness is imputed to the believer, he does not thereby become subjectively righteous.” Thus justification, having its foundation in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, is only a declarative act whereby a man is pronounced righteous without any actual righteousness in him answering to the declaration, but solely on the ground of another’s righteousness, which, in some inexplicable way, is transferred to his credit. This is simply a legal fiction which reflects upon the truthfulness of God. God declares a man righteous when he is not righteous. “To Paul,” says Sabatier, “the word of God is always creative and full of power. It always produces an actual effect. In declaring a man justified, therefore, it actually and directly creates in him a new beginning of righteousness” (Apostle Paul, Eng. Trans. p. 300).

(3) This is clearly not the conception expressed in this passage. The righteousness of faith which Paul here desires for himself is a winning Christ and a being in Christ. This righteousness is first described generally as knowing Christ, and then, more specifically, as knowing the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, and being made conformable unto his death; that is to say, the righteousness of God by faith is a being and dwelling in Christ in such wise as that his resurrection, his sufferings, his death, become actual parts of Paul’s experience and active forces in it. Christ is not merely apprehended as an object of trust. He is not merely known as an objective personality. The believer is taken up into his life; and his life in turn possesses the believer, and becomes his informing principle and prime motor. (See Galatians 2:20.)

In short, the conception of the righteousness of faith here presented is not that of an external righteousness made over to the believer by a legal declaration, but that of a righteousness which is a real fact in the man, springing from union with the personal Christ. In this mystical union the life and power of Christ are transfused into the believer’s life, so that, in a sense, the personality of Christ becomes his; so that he can say, ‘for me to live is Christ,’ and ‘not I live but Christ liveth in me.’ The old man, the natural ego, is crucified with Christ; the new man is raised up, and, in the power of Christ’s risen life, walks in newness of life, in fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. All the righteousness which inheres in that perfect personality becomes potentially his from the moment that faith puts him into living connection with it. All the experience of Christ’s life becomes a fact and a power in his experience. Did Christ die to sin? He also dies to sin. Was Christ justified from sin by death? So likewise is he. Did Christ rise from the dead? He rises from the death of sin, besides sharing finally in Christ’s physical resurrection. The knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection is not merely an insight into the historical meaning of those facts. Did Christ suffer? The heavenly nature which he receives from Christ insures for him, as it did for Christ, the contradiction of sinners against himself. Was Christ perfected through suffering? He attains perfection by the same road. Does Christ live unto God? He is alive unto God through Jesus Christ, and all the powers of that divine life descend upon him and work in him to conform him to the image of the Son of God.

Says Calvin (Inst. iii. 1): “First, it is to be held that, so long as Christ is outside of us and we are separated from him, whatever he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race is useless and without significance to us. Therefore, in order that he may communicate to us what he has received from the Father, he must become ours and dwell in us. Hence he is called our ‘head,’ and ‘the first-born among many brethren’; while we in turn are said to be ingrafted into him and to put him on, because whatever he possesses is nothing to us until we coalesce into one with him.” And again (xi. 10): “Christ, having become ours, makes us partakers of the gifts with which he is endowed. We do not therefore view him as outside of us, so that his righteousness is imputed to us; but because we put on himself and are ingrafted into his body, he has deigned to make us one with himself. Therefore we boast that we have his righteousness.” So, too, Luther (Werke, Erlang. Ausg. 37, 441): “Christ is God’s grace, mercy, wisdom, strength, comfort, and blessedness. I say not as some, causaliter; that is, that he gives righteousness, and remains without. For in that case righteousness is dead, nay, it is never given. Christ is there himself, like the light and heat of the fire, which are not where the sun and the fire are not.”

(4) This passage presents a conception of faith different from that implied in the imputative theory. According to that, faith is merely a medium by which the man is put into contact with something outside of himself—“a mere hand,” as Professor Bruce puts it, “to lay hold of an external righteousness.” According to Paul’s teaching here, an ethical quality inheres in faith. Faith is a moral energy. It “works by love” (Galatians 5:6). This accords with Heb. 11., where faith is exhibited as the generator of moral heroism. Righteousness, as already observed, is effected in a believer by the transfusion into him of Christ’s life and character, not by Christ’s righteousness being placed to his account. To assume the latter is to fall back from the gospel upon the law. Paul says, “not having a righteousness of my own which is of the law”; but if the righteousness of faith is legally and forensically imputed, it is of the law. Righteousness has its roots in personal relation to God. Sin is more than bad conduct. Bad conduct is only the result of personal separation and estrangement from the Father, God. The terrible significance of sin lies in the break between a human life and its divine source; and the attainment of righteousness is possible only through the reëstablishment of the original birth-relation, as Christ declared in the words, “Ye must be born anew.” The mere genealogical fact of sonship must be translated into a living, personal relation. This is possible only through faith. A handbook of laws will not effect it. Rules will not establish personal relations. Precepts will not put a son’s heart into a man. He will not love to order, nor obey because he is bidden, nor trust because a trustworthy object is commended to him, nor be meek and merciful because it is right to be so. Being righteous is not a matter of assent to a proposition. It is a matter of surrender to a person. Such surrender comes about only through faith, because only faith has in it that element which draws personalities, lives, hearts together. Therefore faith does not count instead of righteousness. It counts as making for (εἰς) righteousness; with a view to righteousness; as tending to righteousness, just as the corn of wheat counts for the full corn in the ear. Therein is its value. It is counted for what it is, not for what it is not. It is the prime agent in righteousness. The righteousness which is of God becomes in man the righteousness of faith, because in faith, which inaugurates the vital union of the man with Christ, which constitutes personal and not mere legal relation, lie enfolded all the possibilities of righteousness. Faith is presumptive righteousness. It is the native element in which righteousness evolves itself. Righteousness is begun, continued, and perfected in the exercise of the faith which holds the life in living contact with the personal source of holiness; in the trust and self-surrender which make possible the inpouring and appropriation of all heavenly forces. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10). In Christ the believer becomes the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). “Faith is that temper of sympathetic and immediate response to another’s will which belongs to a recognised relation of vital communion. It is the spirit of confident surrender which can only be justified by an inner identification of life. Faith is the power by which the conscious life attaches itself to God; it is an apprehensive motion of the living spirit by which it intensifies its touch on God; it is an instinct of surrender by which it gives itself up to the fuller handling of God; it is an affection of the will by which it presses up against God, and drinks in divine vitality with quickened receptivity” (Henry Scott Holland, in Lux Mundi, pp. 17, 18). There is no true faith in Christ without the indwelling of Christ. Paul makes the latter the criterion of the former (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Pfleiderer’s treatment of this subject is interesting and suggestive. (See Paulinismus, ch. iv.)

Ellic. Ellicott.

Ead. Eadie.

Lightf. Lightfoot.

Kl. Klöpper.

De W. De Wette.

Lips. Lipsius.

Weizs. Weizsäcker.

Comp. Compare.

Calv. Calvin.

Ans. Anselm.

Calov. Calovius.

Croc. Crocius.

Pisc. Piscator.

Polyc. Polycarp.

Mey. Meyer.

Alf. Alford.

Weiss Der Philipperbrief ausgesetzt und die Geschichte seiner Auslegung kritisch dargestellt. 1859. A most thorough piece of work. It leaves no point untouched, and treats every point with ample learning, conscientious pains taking, independence, and positiveness. It is valuable in studying the history of the exegesis.

LXX Septuagint Version.

Luth. Luther.

Erasm. Erasmus.

Hom. Homer.

Chr. Chrysostom.

Aug. Augustine.

Bib. Bible.

Just. M. Justin Martyr.

A.V. Authorized Version.

Theoph. Theophylact.

W. St. Vincent: Word Studies in the N. T.

R.V. Revised Version of 1881.

Thdrt. Theodoret.

Vulg. Vulgate.

Wetst. Wetstein.

Win. Winer: Grammar of N. T. Greek. 8th ed. of Eng. Transl. by Moulton. Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachidioms, 8 Aufl., von P. W. Schmiedel. 1 Theil, 1894.

Apocr. Apocrypha.

Aristoph. Aristophanes.

Soph. Sophocles.

Eur. Euripides.

Hdt. Herodotus.

Jos. Josephus.

B Cod. Vaticanus: 4th century. Vatican Library. Contains both epistles entire. Correctors: B2, nearly the same date; B3, 10th or 11th century.

D Cod. Claromontanus: 6th century. Græco-Latin. National Library, Paris. Contains both epistles entire. Corrector: Db, close of 6th century.

F Cod. Augiensis: 9th century. Græco-Latin. Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. Philippians entire; Philemon wanting in the Greek from πεποιθὼς (vs. 21) to the end.


Cod. Boernerianus: 9th century. Græco-Latin. Dresden. Wanting Greek and Latin, Philemon 1:21-25.

An asterisk added to the title of a MS., as D*, signifies a correction made by the original scribe.

K Cod. Mosquensis: 9th century. Moscow. Contains both epistles entire.

L Cod. Angelicus: 9th century. Angelican Library of Augustinian monks at Rome. Wanting from ἐξουσίαν (Hebrews 13:10) to the end of Philemon.

אԠCod. Sinaiticus: 4th century. Discovered by Tischendorf in the convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai, in 1859. Now at St. Petersburg. Contains both epistles complete. Correctors: אa, nearly contemporary; אb, 6th century; אc, beginning of 7th century, treated by two correctors,—אca אcb.

A Cod. Alexandrinus: 5th century. British Museum. Contains both epistles entire.

P Cod. Porphyrianus: beginning of 9th century. Palimpsest. St. Petersburg. Both epistles entire, but many words illegible.

17 National Library, Paris: 9th or 10th century. Both epistles entire.

37 Library of Town Council of Leicester: 15th century. Both epistles entire. See Miller’s Scrivener, vol. i. 202.

Plut. Plutarch.

Ign. Ignatius.

= Equivalent to.

Ril. Rilliet.

van Heng. van Hengel.

WH. Westcott and Hort: The New Testament in the Original Greek.

Tisch. Tischendorf: Novum Testamentum Graece. Editio Octava Critica Major.

Burt. Burton: N. T. Moods and Tenses.

Grot. Grotius.

Beng. Bengel.

Œc. Œcumenius.

Arm. Armenian.

Cop. Coptic, Memphitic, or Bohairic.

TR Textus Receptus.

Goth. Gothic.

Æth. Ethiopic.

Syr. Harclean.

Rosenm. Rosenmüller.

am E. am Ende.

Hoel. Hoelemann.

Lum. Lumby.

Ew. Ewald.

Xen. Xenophon.

Syr. Peshitto and Harclean versions.

31 British Museum: 11th century. Both epistles entire.

80 Vatican: 11th century. Philippians entire; Philemon mutilated.

Dw. Dwight.

Theo.Mop. Theodore of Mopsuestia.

Mich. Michaelis.

Hack. Hackett.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Philippians 3". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/philippians-3.html. 1896-1924.
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