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Philippians 4

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Verses 1-99

4:1-9. VARIOUS EXHORTATIONS TO UNITY, JOY, FORBEARANCE, TRUSTFULNESS, PRAYER, ATTENTION TO ALL VIRUTES, AND THE PRACTICE OF ALL THAT THEY HAVE LEARNED FROM PAUL; WITH ASSURANCES OF THE PRESENCE, GUARDIANSHIP, AND PEACE OF GOD

In view of this glorious future, do you, my brethren beloved, continue steadfast in the Lord. I learn that Euodia and Syntyche are at variance. I beseech them to be reconciled; and I entreat you, Synzygus, who are justly so named, to use your influence to this end; for those women were my helpers in the gospel work, along with Clement and other faithful laborers. Rejoice in the Lord, always. I repeat it, rejoice. Let all men see your forbearing spirit; and in no case be anxious, for the Lord is at hand. Commit every matter to God in prayer, and pray always with thankful hearts; and God’s peace which, better than any human device, can lift you above doubt and fear, shall guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, my brethren, take account of everything that is venerable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report—in short, of whatever virtue there is, and of whatever praise attaches to it. Practise what you have learned from me, and the God of peace shall be with you.

1. ὥστε: ‘so that’; ‘accordingly.’ (Comp. Matthew 12:12; Romans 7:4, Romans 7:12; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 2:12.) Connected immediately with 3:20, 21; but through those verses with the whole of ch. 3., since in heavenly citizenship are gathered up all the characteristics which Paul in that chapter has commended to his readers. This verse may therefore be regarded as the proper conclusion of ch. 3.

ἐπιπόθητοι: ‘longed for.’ A hint of the pain caused by his separation from them. Only here in N.T. (Comp. Clem. ad Cor. lxv.) The verb ἐπιποθεῖν occurs mostly in Paul. (See Romans 1:11; 2 Corinthians 5:2; Philippians 1:8, Philippians 2:26.) Ἐπιποθία only in Romans 15:23. Ἐπιπόθησις, 2 Corinthians 7:7, 2 Corinthians 7:11. (See on 1:8.)

χαρὰ καὶ στεφανός μου: ‘my joy and crown.’ (Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:19.) Χαρὰ by metonymy for the subject of joy. Στεφανός in class. mostly of the woven crown—the chaplet awarded to the victor in the games; a wreath of wild olive, green parsley, bay, or pine; or the garland placed on the head of a guest at a banquet. (See Athen. xv. p. 685; Aristoph. Ach. 636; Plat. Symp. 212.) So mostly in N.T., though στεφανός occurs with χρυσοῦν (Revelation 14:14). The kingly crown is διάδημα, found only in Apoc. The distinction is not strictly observed in Hellenistic Greek. (See Trench, Syn. 23) Neither χαρὰ nor στεφανός applied to the Philippians is to be referred to the future, as Calv., Alf. They express Paul’s sense of joy and honor in the Christian fidelity of his readers. (Comp. Sir. 1:11, 25:6.)


οὕτως στήκετε: ‘so stand fast.’ ‘So,’ as I have exhorted you, and as becomes citizens of the heavenly commonwealth. Not, ‘so as ye do stand,’ as Beng., Calv. For στήκετε see on 1:27. The particle ὥστε with the imperative retains its consecutive force, but instead of a fact consequent upon what precedes, there is a consequent exhortation.

ἐν κυρίῳ: With the exception of Revelation 14:13 only in Paul, who uses it more than forty times. See on ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ (1:1). Denoting the sphere or element in which steadfastness is to be exhibited. (Comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:8.)


ἀγαπητοί: repeated with affectionate emphasis.

B, 17, Cop., Syr.sch, add μου.

Two prominent women in the church are urged to become reconciled to each other.

2. Εὐοδίαν—Συντύχην: ‘Euodia—Syntyche.’ Not ‘Euodias,’ as A.V. Both are female names; see αὐταῖς (vs. 3). Both occur in inscriptions, and there are no instances of masculine forms. The activity of the Macedonian women in coöperating with Paul appears from Acts 17:4, Acts 17:12.


I am a little doubtful, however, as to Lightfoot’s view that a higher social influence was assigned to the female sex in Macedonia than was common among the civilised nations of antiquity. I fail to find any notice of this elsewhere. Lightf.’s inference is drawn wholly from inscriptions which do not appear to be decisive. For example, all the inscriptions which he cites to show that monuments in honor of women were erected by public bodies, distinctly indicate Roman influence. The names are Roman, and perpetuate the memory of different Roman gentes, a point which would naturally be emphasised in a Roman colonia distant from the mother city. His assertion, moreover, that the active zeal of Macedonian women is without a parallel in the apostle’s history elsewhere, seems open to question in the light of the closing salutations of the Epistle to the Romans. Klöpper thinks that the names Euodia and Syntyche represent two women in each of whose houses a separate congregation assembled, the one Jewish-Christian and the other Gentile-Christian. Lipsius thinks this possible. For some of the fanciful interpretations of these two names, see Introd. vi. Theo.Mop. mentions a story he had heard to the effect that they were a married pair, the latter name being Syntyches, and that the husband was the converted jailer of Philippi. The climax is reached by Hitzig (Krit. paulin. Br. 5 ff.), who affirms that Euodia and Syntyche were reproductions of the patriarchs Asher and Gad; their sex having been changed in the transition from one language to the other; and that they represent the Greek and the Roman elements in the church.

παρακαλῶ: ‘I exhort.’ See on παράκλησις (2:1). The repetition of the word emphasises the separate exhortation to each.

τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν: ‘to be of the same mind.’ (See on 2:2.)

ἐν κυρίῳ: With τ. αὐ. φρον. In that accord of which the Lord is the bond: each individually in Christ, and each therefore at one with the other.

3. ναὶ: ‘yea.’ The reading καὶ has almost no support. (Comp. Matthew 15:27; Romans 3:29; Philemon 1:20.) The preceding exhortation is enforced by introducing a third party. ‘I have urged Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony; yes, and I entreat you also,’ etc.

ἐρωτῶ καὶ σέ: ‘I beseech thee also.’ Ἐρωτᾷν originally ‘to question,’ as Luke 22:68; John 9:21. Only in that sense in class. The meaning ‘to entreat’ belongs to later Greek. Thus rendered, it usually signifies to ask a person; not to ask a thing of a person; and to ask a person to do; rarely to give. See Trench, Syn. xl.; but his distinction between ἐρωτᾷν and αἰτεῖν does not hold. (See Ezra Abbot, The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel and Other Critical Essays.)

γνήσιε Σύνζυγε: ‘Synzygus, who art rightly so named.’ The A.V. ‘yoke-fellow,’ gives the correct sense of the proper name, and γνήσιε marks the person addressed as one to whom the name is justly applied. (See on γνησίως, 2:20. Comp. ἑτεροζυγοῦντες, 2 Corinthians 6:14.) It is true that this proper name has no confirmation from inscriptions; but such descriptive or punning names are very common, as Onesimus, Chrestus, Chresimus, Onesiphorus, Symphorus, etc.


The attempts to identify the person referred to are numerous, and the best are only guesses. Clem. Alex., Paul’s own wife; Chr., the husband or brother of Euodia or Syntyche; Lightf., Epaphroditus. But it is improbable that Paul would have written thus in a letter of which Epaph. was the bearer. Others, Timothy or Silas; Ellic. and De W., the chief bishop at Philippi. Wiesel., Christ; ναὶ introducing a prayer.

συλλαμβάνου αὐταῖς: ‘help those (women).’ Lit. ‘take hold with.’ Assist them in reconciling their differences. (Comp. Luke 5:7.)


Lips., following Chr. and Theoph., explains the verb in a general sense: ‘interest yourself in them.’ Grot. refers it to their support as widows.

αἵτινες: ‘inasmuch as they.’ See on ἅτινα (3:7). Not as A.V. ‘who.’ The double relative classifies them among Paul’s helpers, and gives a reason why Synzygus should promote their reconciliation.

συνηθλησάν μοι: ‘they labored with me.’ The verb only here and 1:27, on which see note. It indicates an activity attended with danger and suffering. (Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:2.)

ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ: the sphere of their labors. (Comp. Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:2.)


μετὰ καὶ Κλήμεντος: Construe with συνηθ. ‘Who labored with me in the gospel along with Clement and others.’ The position of καὶ between the preposition and the noun is unusual, and shows that the force of the preposition extends over the whole clause.

Lightf. takes μετὰ Κλήμ. with συλλαμβ. According to this, Paul calls upon Clement and the rest whose names are in the book of life to help the women. But the relative clause ὧν τὰ ὀνόμ., etc., associates itself more naturally with συνηθ. Paul gives this confidential commission to one person, and not to an indefinite number.

Philippi was probably the scene of the labors referred to, since Paul speaks of them as familiarly known. Clement appears to have been a Philippian Christian who assisted in the foundation of the church at Philippi. This is suggested by τῶν λοιπῶν.

The attempt to identify him with Clement of Rome, which originated with Origen (In Joann. i. 29), is generally abandoned. (See Lightf. Comm. p. 168 ff.; Langen, Geschichte der Römischen Kirche, Bd. 1. S. 84; Möller, Kirchengeschichte, i. 89; Salmon’s art. “Clemens Romanus” in Smith and Wace, Dict. Chn. Biog.)

συνεργῶν: Comp. ii. 25. Only once in N.T. outside of Paul’s letters. (See 3 John 1:8.)

ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα ἐν βίβλῳ ζωῆς: ‘whose names are in the book of life.’ Supply ἐστί, not εἴη, ‘may they be,’ as Beng., who says, “they seem to have been already dead, for we generally follow such with wishes of that sort.” The names are in the book of life, though not mentioned in the apostle’s letter. The expression βίβλος or βιβλίον τῆς ζωῆς in N.T. is peculiar to Apoc. This is the only exception, and the only case in which ζωῆς occurs without the article. (See Revelation 3:5, Revelation 3:13:8, Revelation 3:17:8, Revelation 3:20:12, Revelation 3:15, Revelation 3:21:7, Revelation 3:22:19.) It is an O.T. metaphor, drawn from the civil list or register in which the names of citizens were entered. The earliest reference to it is Exodus 32:32. (Comp. Isaiah 4:3; Ezekiel 13:9; Daniel 12:1.) To be enrolled in the book of life is to be divinely accredited as a member of God’s commonwealth (comp. Luke 10:20), so that the expression falls in with τὸ πολίτευμα ἐν οὐρανοῖς (3:20). To be blotted out from the book of life (Exodus 32:32, Exodus 32:33; Psalms 69:28) is to be disfranchised, cut off from fellowship with the living God and with his kingdom. The phrase was also in use by Rabbinical writers. (See Wetst.) Thus in the Targum on Ezekiel 13:9: “In the book of eternal life which has been written for the just of the house of Israel, they shall not be written.” Any reference to the doctrine of predestination is entirely out of place. Flacius, cit. by Mey., justly observes that it is not fatalis quaedam electio which is pointed to, but that they are described as written in the book of life because possessing the true righteousness which is of Christ.


Exhortations to the Church at Large

4. χαίρετε: ‘rejoice’; the keynote of the epistle. Not ‘farewell.’ (See on 3:1.)

πάντοτε: With a look at the future no less than at the present, and at the possibility of future trials. Only as their life shall be ἐν κυρίῳ will they have true joy.

πάλιν ἐρῶ: ‘again I will say it.’ As if he had considered all the possibilities of sorrow. ‘In spite of them all, I will repeat it —rejoice.’

Not as Beng., joining πάντοτε with the second χαίρετε, ‘again I will say, always rejoice.’

5. τὸ ἐπιεικὲς ὑμῶν: ‘your forbearance.’ From εἰκός, ‘reasonable’; hence, ‘not unduly rigorous.’ Aristot. Nich. Eth. v. 10, contrasts it with�

Ἐπιεικής in N.T., 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 3:2, where it is joined with ἄμαχος; 1 Peter 2:18; James 3:17, with�Acts 24:4; 2 Corinthians 10:1; the latter with πραΰτης. LXX, ἐπιεικής, Psa_86 (85):5: ἐπιείκεια, Sap. 2:19; 2 Macc. 2:22; 3 Macc. 3:15. Ἐπιεικῶς, not in N.T., 1 Samuel 12:22; 1Sa_2 K. 6:3; 2 Macc. 9:27. The neuter adjective with the article =; the abstract noun ἐπιείκεια. (Comp. τὸ χρηστὸν, Romans 2:4; τὸ μωρὸν, 1 Corinthians 1:25.)


Mey. remarks that the disposition of Christian joyfulness must elevate men quite as much above strict insistence on their rights and claims as above solicitude.

πᾶσιν�

ὁ κύριος ἐγγύς: ‘the Lord is near.’ For κύριος, see on 2:11.In the Gospels usually ‘God.’ In Paul mostly ‘Christ,’ and more commonly with the article (Win. xix. 1). The phrase expresses the general expectation of the speedy second coming of Christ. Comp. Μαρὰν�1 Corinthians 16:22), ‘the Lord will come,’ or ‘the Lord is here.’ See also Romans 13:12; James 5:8. Ἐγγύς, of time. The connection of thought may be either with what precedes, or with what follows; i.e. the near approach of Christ may be regarded as a motive to either forbearance or restfulness of spirit. Most modern expositors connect with the former, but the thought proceeds upon the line of the latter. Apart from this fact there is nothing to prevent our connecting ὁ κύρ. ἐγ. with both, as Alf. and Ellic. ‘Be forbearing; the Lord is at hand who will right all wrongs and give to each his due. Be not anxious. The Lord is at hand. Why be concerned about what is so soon to pass away? The Lord’s coming will deliver you from all earthly care.’ (Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.)

Some of the earlier interpreters, taking ἐγγύς in a local sense, explain of the perpetual nearness of Christ; as Matthew 28:20 (Aug.). Others, taking κύριος =; ‘God,’ of the helpful presence of God’s providence; as Psalms 34:18, Psalms 119:151, Psalms 145:18 (am E., Calov., Ril.). But this does not accord with the Pauline usage of κύριος.

6. μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε: ‘in nothing be anxious.’ Μεριμνᾷν occurs most frequently in the Gospels. In Paul only here and 1 Cor. From the root μερ or μαρ, which appears in the Homeric μερμηρίζειν, ‘to be anxious,’ ‘to debate anxiously.’ The verb may mean either ‘to be full of anxiety,’ or ‘to ponder or brood over.’ In N.T. usage it does not always involve the idea of worry or anxiety. See, for inst., 1 Corinthians 7:32, 1 Corinthians 7:12:25; Philippians 2:20. In other cases that idea is emphasised, as here, Matthew 13:22; Luke 10:41. (See Prellwitz, Etymol. Wörterb. d. griech. Sprache, sub μέριμνα; Schmidt, Synon. 86, 3; W. St. on Matthew 6:25.) The exhortation is pertinent always to those who live the life of faith (1 Peter 5:7), and acquired additional force from the expectation of the speedy coming of the Lord.

ἐν παντὶ: ‘in everything.’ Antithesis to μηδὲν. The formula is found only in Paul. Not ‘on every occasion,’ supplying καιρῷ (see Ephesians 6:18), nor, as Ril., including the idea of time; nor, as Vulg., ‘in omni oratione et obsecratione,’ construing παντὶ with προς. κ. δεής. Prayer is to include all our interests, small and great. Nothing is too great for God’s power; nothing too small for his fatherly care.

τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ τῇ δεήσει: ‘by prayer and supplication.’ The (or your) prayer and the supplication appropriate to each case. In N.T. the two words are joined only by Paul. (See Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:1, 1 Timothy 2:5:5; LXX Psalms 6:10, 55 [54]:2.) For the distinction, see on 1:4. The dative is instrumental.

μετὰ εὐχαριστίας: ‘with thanksgiving.’ The thanksgiving is to go with the prayer, in everything (comp. Colossians 3:17); for although the Christian may not recognise a particular ground of thanksgiving on the special occasion of his prayer, he has always the remembrance of past favors and the consciousness of present blessings, and the knowledge that all things are working together for good for him (Romans 8:28). This more comprehensive application of εὐχαριστία may explain the absence of the article, which appears with both προσευχῇ and δεήσει, and which Paul uses with εὐχαρ. in only two instances (1 Corinthians 14:16; 2 Corinthians 4:15), where the reason is evident. Rilliet observes that the Christian, “being, as it were, suspended between blessings received and blessings hoped for, should always give thanks and always ask. Remembrance and supplication are the two necessary elements of every Christian prayer.” Thanksgiving expresses, not only the spirit of gratitude, but the spirit of submission, which excludes anxiety, because it recognises in the will of God the sum of its desires. So Calv., “Dei voluntas votorum nostrorum summa est.” Paul lays great stress upon the duty of thanksgiving. (See Romans 1:21, Romans 1:14:6; 2 Corinthians 1:11, 2 Corinthians 1:4:15, 2 Corinthians 1:9:11, 2 Corinthians 1:12; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3.)

τὰ αἰτήματα ὑμῶν: ‘your requests.’ Only here; Luke 23:24; 1 John 5:15. According to its termination, αἴτημα is ‘a thing requested,’ and so in all the N.T. instances. Vulg. ‘petitiones.’


In class. it sometimes has the sense of αἴτησις, ‘the act of requesting,’ which does not occur in N.T., as Plato, Repub. viii. 566 B. On the other hand, αἴτησις is found in the sense of αἴτημα, as Hdt. vii. 32; LXX 3 K. 2:16, 20.

γνωριζέσθω: ‘be declared’ or ‘made known.’ (See on 1:22.) As if God did not know them. (Comp. Matthew 6:8.)

πρὸς τὸν θεόν: Not merely ‘to God,’ but implying intercourse with God, as well as the idea of direction. (See on 2:30; and comp. Matthew 13:56; Mark 6:3, Mark 6:9:16; John 1:1; 1 Corinthians 16:6.)


7. καὶ: Consecutive; ‘and so.’

ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ: ‘the peace of God.’ Only here in N.T. Comp. ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης (vs. 9). Not the objective peace with God, wrought by justification (Romans 5:1 [Chr., Theoph., Aug.]); nor the favor of God (Grot.); nor peace with one another (Thdrt., Lips.), since mutual peace cannot dissipate anxiety; but the inward peace of the soul which comes from God, and is grounded in God’s presence and promise. It is the fruit of believing prayer; “the companion of joy” (Beng.). Of course such peace implies and involves the peace of reconciliation with God. In the hearts of those who are reconciled to God through faith in Christ, the peace of Christ rules (Colossians 3:15). As members of the heavenly commonwealth (3:20), they are in a kingdom which is “righteousness and peace and joy” (Romans 14:17). “The God of hope,” to whom their expectation is directed, fills them “with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13). They are not disquieted because they know that “all things are working together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).

ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν: ‘which surpasseth every thought (of man).’ For ὑπερέχειν, ‘to rise above,’ ‘overtop,’ ‘surpass,’ see 2:3, 3:8. The verb is not common in N.T. Only four times in Paul, and once in 1 Peter 2:13. Paul has been enjoining the duty of prayer under all circumstances as a safeguard against anxiety. Hence this assurance that the peace of God surpasses every human thought or device as a means of insuring tranquillity of heart. The processes and combinations of human reasoning result only in continued doubt and anxiety. Mere reason cannot find a way out of perplexity. The mysterious dealings of God present problems which it cannot solve, and which only multiply its doubts and questionings. Within the sphere of God’s peace all these are dismissed, and the spirit rests in the Lord, even where it cannot understand. A different and widely-accepted explanation is that of the Greek expositors: that the peace of God is so great and wonderful that it transcends the power of the human mind to understand it. So Ellic., Ril., Alf., Ead. Aug. and Theoph. add that even the angels cannot comprehend it. But this thought has no special relevancy here, while the other explanation is in entire harmony with the context. Comp. also 1 Corinthians 2:9-16.

Νοῦς is the reflective intelligence; in Paul, mostly as related to ethical and spiritual matters. It is the organ of the natural moral consciousness and knowledge of God (Romans 1:20, Romans 1:28, Romans 1:7:23). It is related to πνεῦμα as the faculty to the efficient power. Until renewed by the divine πνεῦμα, it cannot exercise right moral judgment (Romans 12:2); and although it may theoretically approve what is good, it cannot conform the practice of the life to its theory (Romans 7:25). It is this which is incapable of dealing with the painful and menacing facts of life in such a way as to afford rest.

φρουρήσει: ‘shall guard.’ A promise, not a prayer, ‘may the peace of God guard,’ as the Greek Fathers (Chr., however, says it may mean either), some of the older expositors, and Vulg. ‘custodiat.’ The word, which is a military term, in the N.T. is almost confined to Paul. (See 1 Peter 1:5.) The metaphor is beautiful —the peace of God as a sentinel mounting guard over a believer’s heart. It suggests Tennyson’s familiar lines:


“Love is and was my King and Lord,

And will be, though as yet I keep

Within his court on earth, and sleep

Encompassed by his faithful guard,

And hear at times a sentinel

Who moves about from place to place,

And whispers to the worlds of space,

In the deep night, that all is well.”

All limitations of the promise, such as guarding from the power of Satan, from spiritual enemies, from evil thoughts, etc. are arbitrary. The promise is general, covering all conceivable occasions for fear or anxiety. “He teaches us the certain result of our prayers. He does not, indeed, promise that God will deliver us in this life entirely from calamities and straits, since he may have the best reasons for leaving us in this struggle of faith and patience with a view to his and our greater glory at the appearing of Christ; but he does promise us that which is greater and more desirable than all the good things of this life—the peace of God” (Schlichting).

τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν: ‘your hearts and your thoughts.’ Καρδία in the sense of the physical organ is not used in N.T. It is the centre of willing, feeling, and thinking. Never, like ψυχή, to denote the individual subject of personal life, so as to be exchanged with the personal pronoun; nor as πνεῦμα, of the divine principle of life in man. Like our ‘heart,’ it denotes the seat of feeling, as contrasted with intelligence (Romans 9:2, Romans 9:10:1; 2 Corinthians 2:4, 2 Corinthians 2:6:11; Philippians 1:7). But not this only. It is also the seat of mental action—intelligence (Romans 1:21; Ephesians 1:18), and of moral choice (1 Corinthians 7:37; 2 Corinthians 9:7). It gives impulse and character to action (Romans 6:17; Ephesians 6:5). It is the seat of the divine Spirit (Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Galatians 4:6), and the sphere of his operation in directing, comforting, establishing, etc. (Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17, 2 Thessalonians 3:5). It is the seat of faith (Romans 10:9), and of divine love (Romans 5:5), and is the organ of spiritual praise (Colossians 3:16).

νοήματα, only in Paul. Things which issue from the καρδία; thoughts, acts of the will. Hence, of Satan’s ‘devices’ (2 Corinthians 2:11). (See 2 Corinthians 3:14, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 2 Corinthians 11:3.) The two nouns are emphatically separated by the article and the personal pronoun attached to each.


Calv.’s distinction between καρδ. and νο. as ‘affections’ and ‘intelligence’ is unpauline. Neither are they to be taken as synonymous, nor as a popular and summary description of the spiritual life (De W.).

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: As so often, the sphere in which divine protection will be exercised. This divine peace is assigned as guardian only to those who are in Christ (3:9).

Some, as De W., Ril., Kl., Weiss, explain: ‘Shall keep your hearts in union with Christ.’ So Theoph., ἃστε μὴ ἐκπεσεῖν αὐτοῦ�

ἀληθῆ: ‘true.’ God is the norm of truth. That is true in thought, word, or deed, which answers to the nature of God as revealed in the moral ideals of the gospel of his Son, who manifests him, and who can therefore say, ‘I am the truth’ (John 14:6). Not to be limited to truth in speaking, as Thdrt., Beng.


σεμνά: ‘reverend’ or ‘venerable.’ Exhibiting a dignity which grows out of moral elevation, and which thus invites reverence. In class. an epithet of the gods. ‘Venerable’ is the best rendering, if divested of its conventional implication of age. Matthew Arnold (God and the Bible, Pref. xxii.) renders ‘nobly serious,’ as opposed to κοῦφος, ‘lacking intellectual seriousness.’

With the exception of this passage, σεμνὸς occurs only in the Pastorals, and the kindred σεμνότης only there. (See 1 Timothy 2:2, 1 Timothy 2:3:4, 1 Timothy 2:8, 1 Timothy 2:11; Titus 2:2, Titus 2:7.) In LXX, of the name of God (2 Macc. 8:15); of divine laws (2 Macc. 6:28); of the Sabbath (2 Macc. 6:11); of the words of wisdom (Proverbs 8:6); of the words of the pure (Proverbs 15:26).

δίκαια: ‘just.’ In the broadest sense, not merely in relation to men, but according to the divine standard, satisfying all obligations to God, to their neighbor, and to themselves. (Comp. Romans 2:13.)

ἅγνα: ‘pure.’ Always with a moral sense. So ἁγνότης (2 Corinthians 6:6). Not to be limited here to freedom from sins of the flesh: it covers purity in all departments of the life, motives as well as acts. In class. ἁγνός is ‘pure,’ ‘chaste,’ in relation to life (as of female purity, purity from blood-guilt), or to religious observances, as of sacrifices. (See Schmidt, Synon. 181, 11.) Both ἁγνός and ἅγιος mean pure in the sense of ‘sinless.’ The radical difference between them is, that ἅγιος is ‘holy,’ as being set apart and devoted; ἁγνός, as absolutely undefiled. Christ is both ἅγιος and ἁγνός. See on ἁγίοις, 1:1. In 1 John 3:3, ἁγνός is applied to Christ, and ἁγνίζειν to the imitation of his purity. In 2 Corinthians 11:2, of virgin purity. (Comp. Clem. ad Cor. xxi.) In 1 Timothy 5:22, of moral spotlessness. In James 3:17, as characterising heavenly wisdom. Ἁγνῶς (Philippians 1:17), of preaching the gospel with unmixed motives. Ἁγνίζειν, which in LXX is used only of ceremonial purification, has that meaning in four of the seven instances in N.T. (John 11:55; Acts 21:24, Acts 21:26, Acts 21:24:18). In the others (James 4:8; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:3), of purifying the heart and soul. Neither ἁγνός, ἁγνότης, nor ἁγνῶς occur in the Gospels.

Ἁγνός and all the kindred words which appear in N.T. are found in LXX Ἅγνισμα (Numbers 19:9), not in N.T. For ἁγνιασμός (Numbers 8:7), the correct reading is ἁγνισμός. In LXX. ἁγνός is used of the oracles of God, of the fear of God, of prayers, of the heart, of works, of fire, of a virgin, of a man free from cowardice, and of the soul. (See Psa_12[11]:6 , 19 [18]:10; Proverbs 19:13, Proverbs 19:20:9, Proverbs 19:11:8; Pro_2 Macc. 13:8; 4 Macc. 5:37, 18:7, 8, 23.)


The two following qualities appeal to the affectionate or admiring recognition of others.

προσφιλῆ: ‘lovely,’ ‘amiable.’ Whatever calls forth love. Only here in N.T. In LXX in a passive sense (Sir. 4:7, 20:13).

εὔφημα: ‘fair-sounding.’ A.V. and R.V. ‘of good report.’ ‘Gracious,’ R.V. marg. is vague. Not merely having a fair sound to the popular ear, “vox et praeterea nihil,” but fair-sounding, as implying essential worthiness.

In class. of words or sounds of good omen. Hence εὔφημος, ‘abstaining from inauspicious words’; ‘keeping a holy silence.’ (See Æsch. Ag. 1247; Soph. O. C. 132.)

A comprehensive exhortation follows, covering all possible virtues.

εἴ τις: ‘if there be any’: whatever there is. For the form of expression, comp. ii. 1; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:29. Not ‘whatever other.’

ἀρετὴ: ‘virtue’; moral excellence. In class. it has no special moral significance, but denotes excellence of any kind—bravery, rank, excellence of land or of animals. It is possibly for this reason that Paul has no fondness for the word, and uses it only here. Elsewhere in N.T. only by Peter, who uses it of God (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3), and enjoins it as a Christian quality (2 Peter 1:5). It is found in LXX; of God, Habakkuk 3:3 = δόξα; Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 42:12, plu., in connection with δόξα, and 43:21, signifying God’s attributes of power, wisdom, etc.; Zechariah 6:13, of him whose name is ‘the Branch,’ and who shall receive�


Lightf.’s explanation is ingenious and suggestive. ‘Whatever value may reside in your old heathen conception of virtue’; as if he were anxious to omit no possible ground of appeal.

ἔπαινος: ‘praise.’ If there is any praise that follows the practice of virtue, as the praise of love (1Co_13.). Not ‘that which is praiseworthy’ (Weiss).


ταῦτα λογίζεσθε: ‘these things take into account.’ ‘Reckon’ with them. “Horum rationem habete” (Beng.). It is an appeal to an independent moral judgment, to thoughtfully estimate the value of these things. Not = φρονεῖν, as De W. ‘Think on these things’ (A.V., R.V.) is a feeble and partial rendering.

He now brings the scheme of duties more clearly before them, and at the same time reminds them, by appealing to his own previous instructions and example, that he is making no new demands upon them. “Facit transitionem a generalibus ad Paulina” (Beng.).

9. ἃ καὶ: ‘those things which also.’ Those things which are true, venerable, etc., which also ye learned of me.

Others coördinate the four καὶς: ‘those things which ye have as well learned as received; as well heard as seen’ (Vulg., Calv., Beza, Lightf.).

The four verbs form two pairs: ἐμάθετε and παρελάβετε referring to what they had learned by teaching; ἠκούσατε and εἴδετε, by example.

ἐμάθετε … παρελάβετε: ‘learned’ … ‘received.’ The meanings do not differ greatly, except that παρελ. adds, to the simple notion of learning, that of what was communicated or transmitted.

Kl. ἐμάθ. by personal instruction; παρελ. as oral or epistolary traditions obtained from him or transmitted by his delegates. Mey. renders παρελ. ‘accepted’; but that sense is rare in Paul. 1 Corinthians 15:1 is doubtful. 1 Corinthians 11:23, 1 Corinthians 11:15:3; Galatians 1:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, signify simple reception. (See Lightf. on Galatians 1:12; Colossians 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.)


ἠκούσατε καὶ εἴδετε: ‘heard and saw.’ In their personal intercourse with him. Not through preaching (Calv.), which has already been expressed. Lightf. and others explain ἠκ. of what they heard when he was absent. But all the other verbs refer to the time of his presence at Philippi.

Ἐν ἐμοι properly belongs to ἠκ. and εἴδ., but is loosely taken with all four verbs. Ἐμάθ. and παρελ., strictly, would require παρʼ ἐμοῦ.

πράσσετε: ‘do,’ or ‘practise.’ A distinction between πράσσειν and ποιεῖν is recognisable in some cases; πράσσειν, ‘practise,’ marking activity in its progress, and ποιεῖν in its accomplishment or product. The distinction, however, is not uniformly maintained, and must not be pressed. (See Schmidt, Synon. 23, and Trench, Syn. xcvi.)

καὶ: Consecutive, as vs. 7; ‘and so.’

ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης: ‘the God of peace.’ Who is the source and giver of peace. The phrase only in Paul and Heb. (See Romans 15:33, Romans 15:16:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20.) Peace, in the N.T. sense, is not mere calm or tranquillity. All true calm and restfulness are conceived as based upon reconciliation with God. Christian peace implies the cessation of enmity between God and man (Romans 8:7); the complete harmony of the divine and the human wills; the rest of faith in divine love and wisdom (Isaiah 26:3). God is ‘the God of peace’ only to those who are at one with him. God’s peace is not sentimental, but moral. Hence the God of peace is the sanctifier of the entire personality (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Accordingly ‘peace’ is habitually used in connection with the Messianic salvation, both in the Old and the New Testaments. The Messiah himself will be ‘peace’ (Micah 5:5). Peace is associated with righteousness as a Messianic blessing (Psalms 72:7, Psalms 85:10). Peace, founded in reconciliation with God, is the theme of the gospel (Acts 10:36); the gospel is ‘the gospel of peace’ (Ephesians 2:17, Ephesians 2:6:15; Romans 10:15); Christ is ‘the Lord of peace’ (2 Thessalonians 3:16), and bestows peace (John 14:27, John 16:33). “It is through God, as the author and giver of peace, that man is able to find the harmony which he seeks in the conflicting elements of his own nature, in his relations with the world, and in his relations to God himself” (Westcott, on Hebrews 13:20).


He now returns thanks for the gift which the Philippian church has sent him by Epaphroditus, and praises their past and present generosity.

10-20. I greatly rejoice in the Lord because of your kind thought for me as shown in your gift; a thought which you have indeed entertained all along, but have had no opportunity to carry out. I do not speak as though I had been in want; for I have learned the secret of being self-sufficient in my condition; not that I am sufficient of myself, but I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me. It was a beautiful thing for you thus to put yourselves in fellowship with my affliction; but this is not the first time; for in the very beginning, as I was leaving Macedonia, you were the only church that contributed to my necessities, sending supplies to me more than once in Thessalonica. But my chief interest is not in the gift itself, but in the spiritual blessing which your acts of ministry will bring to you. Nevertheless my need is fully met by this gift which Epaphroditus brought from you—this sacrifice of sweet odor, acceptable to God. And as you have ministered to my need, so God will supply every need of yours, with such bounteousness as befits his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To him, our God and Father, be glory forever. My salutations to all the members of your church. The brethren who are with me send you greeting, and all the members of the Roman church, especially those of Cœsar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

10. ἐχάρην δὲ ἐν κυρίῳ: ‘but I rejoice in the Lord.’ Again the keynote of the epistle is struck. (See 1:18, 2:17, 18, 28, 3:1, 4:4; comp. Polyc. ad Phil. i.) Ἐχάρ.: epistolary aorist.

ἐν κυρίῳ: The gift, its motive, and the apostle’s joy in it, were all within the sphere of life in Christ. The gift has its distinctive and choicest character for him as proceeding from their mutual fellowship in Christ. Thus Chr., οὐ κοσμικῶς ἐχάρην, φησὶν, οὐδὲ βιωτικῶς: “I rejoice, he says, not in a worldly fashion, nor as over a matter of common life.”

μέγαλως: ‘greatly.’ Only here in N.T. (See LXX; 1 Chronicles 29:9; Nehemiah 12:43.) Notice the emphatic position.

ἤδη ποτὲ: ‘now at length.’ Only here and Romans 1:10. Ἤδη marks a present as related to a past during which something has been in process of completion which is now completed, or something has been expected which is now realised. Ποτὲ indicates indefinitely the interval of delay. With ἤδη the writer puts himself at the point where the interval indicated by ποτὲ terminates.


Others, as Weiss, render ‘already once’; which would be a mere reference to something past and now repeated. This is precluded by the connection, and especially by the latter part of vs. 10.

ἀνεθάλετε τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν: ‘ye have revived your thought for me.’ Ἀνεθ. is transitive, and τὸ ὑπ. ἐμ. φρ. is accusative of the object. You caused your thought for me to sprout and bloom afresh, like a tree putting out fresh shoots after the winter. So Weiss, Lips., Lightf., De W.

Others, as Mey., Kl., Ellic., Alf., Beet, regard the verb as intransitive. In that case either τὸ ὑπ. ἐμ. must be taken as accus. of the obj. after φρον., ‘ye revived to think of that which concerned me,’ which is awkward and improbable; or τὸ φρ. ὑπ. ἐμ. must be taken as the accus. of reference, ‘ye revived as regarded the thinking concerning me.’ According to this the following clause would mean, ‘ye took thought concerning the taking thought for me.’ The only serious objection urged against the transitive sense of�Ezekiel 17:24; Sir. 1:18, 11:22, 50:10.


ἐφ ᾧ: ‘wherein,’ or ‘with reference to which’; namely, the matter of my welfare. Ὑπὲρ (ἐμοῦ) emphasises the personal interest; ἐπὶ merely marks a reference to the matter in question.

καὶ: Besides your�

11. οὐχ ὅτι: ‘not to say that,’ or ‘I do not say that.’ A distinctively N.T. formula. (See John 6:46, John 6:7:22; 2 Corinthians 1:24, 2 Corinthians 3:5.) In class. ‘not only’; or, when not followed by a second clause, ‘although.’

καθʼ ὑστέρησιν λέγω: ‘I speak according to want’; i.e. ‘as if I were in a state of want.’ Lightf. aptly, ‘in language dictated by want.’ Comp. κατʼ ἐριθίαν, κατὰ κενοδοξίαν, 2:3. Ὑστέρησις, only here and Mark 12:44. He does not deny the want itself, but the want as the motive and measure of his joy.


ἐγὼ γὰρ ἔμαθον: ‘for I have learned.’ The aorist for the perfect. See on ἔλαβον, 3:12 (Burt. 46, 55). The tuition has extended over his whole experience up to the present. Ἐγὼ emphasises his personal relation to the matter of want. ‘I, so far as my being affected by want.’

ἐν οἷς εἰμὶ: ‘in the state in which I am.’ Not as A.V. and R.V., ‘in whatever state I am,’ but in all the circumstances of the present. For εἶναι or γίνεσθαι ἐν, see Mark 5:25; Luke 22:42; 1 Corinthians 15:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:4.

αὐτάρκης: ‘self-sufficing.’ Only here in N.T.; LXX Sir. 40:18; αὐτάρκεια, 2 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Timothy 6:6. Αὐτάρκεια is an inward self-sufficing, as opposed to the lack or the desire of outward things. Comp. Plat. Tim. 33 D, ἡγήσατο γὰρ αὐτὸ ὁ ξυνθεὶς αὔταρκες ὂν ἄμεινον ἔσεσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ προσδεὲς ἄλλων: “For the Creator conceived that a being which was self-sufficient would be far more excellent than one which lacked anything.” It was a favorite Stoic word. See on πολιτεύεσθε, 1:27. It expressed the doctrine of that sect that man should be sufficient unto himself for all things, and able, by the power of his own will, to resist the force of circumstances. Comp. Seneca, De Vita Beata, 6, addressed to Gallio: “Beatus est praesentibus, qualiacunque sunt, contentus.” A list of interesting paralls. in Wetst. Paul is not self-sufficient in the Stoic sense, but through the power of a new self—the power of Christ in him. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:5.)


He proceeds to explain ἐν οἷς … αὐτάρκης in detail. The ἔμαθον is developed by οἶδα and μεμύημαι.

12. οἶδα: ‘I know,’ as the result of having learned. (See on 1:19, 25.)

καὶ ταπεινοῦσθαι: ‘also how to be abased.’ Καὶ connects ταπ. with the preceding more general statement, ἐμ … αὐτάρ. εἶν. Ταπεινοῦσθαι: ‘to be brought low,’ with special reference to the abasement caused by want. Not in the spiritual sense, which is all but universal in N.T. The usual antithesis of ταπινοῦν is ὑψοῦν. (See 2 Corinthians 11:7; Philippians 2:8, Philippians 2:9; 1 Peter 5:6.) Here the antithesis is περισσεύειν, contrasting abundance with the want implied in ταπ.

οἶδα καὶ περισσεύειν: ‘and I know how to abound.’ Οἶδα is repeated for emphasis. Περις., ‘to be abundantly furnished.’ Not ‘to have superfluity,’ as Calv. Paul says, ‘I know how to be abased and not crushed; to be in abundance and not exalted.’ (Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:8, 2 Corinthians 4:9.)

ἐν παντὶ καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν: ‘in everything and in all things.’ In all relations and circumstances. In every particular circumstance, and in all circumstances generally. “In Allem und Jedem.” (Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:6.) For ἐν πᾶσιν, comp. Colossians 1:18, Colossians 1:3:11; 1 Timothy 3:11; Hebrews 13:18. Paul more commonly uses ἐν παντὶ. Both adjectives are neuter, after the analogy of οἷς (vs. 11).


Such interpretations of ἐν παντὶ as ‘ubique’ (Vulg., Calv., Beza); or reference to time (Chr.); or, taking παντὶ as neuter, and πᾶσιν as masculine (Luth., Beng.), are fanciful.

μεμύημαι: ‘I have been initiated.’ R.V., ‘I have learned the secret.’ In class., mostly in the passive, of initiation into the Greek mysteries, as the Eleusinian. (See Hdt. ii. 51; Plat. Gorg. 497 C; Aristoph. Plut. 846; Ran. 158.) In a similar sense, LXX; 3 Macc. 2:30. The kindred word μυστήριον is common in Paul of the great truths hidden from eternity in the divine counsels, and revealed to believers (Ephesians 3:3, Ephesians 3:4, Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26, Colossians 2:2, etc.). Comp. Ign. Eph. xii., Παύλου συμμύσται τοῦ ἡγιασμένου: “associates in the mysteries with Paul who has been sanctified.” Connect ἐν παν. κ. ἐν πᾶς. adverbially with μεμύ., while the infinitives depend on μεμύ. Thus: ‘In everything and in all things I have been instructed to be full,’ etc.


Others, as De W., Lips., Ellic., while connecting ἐν παν. κ. ἐν πᾶς. with μεμύ. as above, make the following infinitives simply explicative; while that in which Paul has been instructed is represented by ἐν παντὶ, etc. The objection urged against this is that μυεῖσθαι appears to be habitually construed, either with the accusative of the thing, the dative, or, rarely, with the infinitive; though there is one instance of its construction with a preposition, κατὰ (3 Macc. 2:30). This objection is not formidable, and is relieved by our rendering.

χορτάζεσθαι: ‘to be full.’ The verb, primarily, of the feeding and fattening of animals in a stall. Comp. Apoc. xix. 21, of feeding birds of prey with the flesh of God’s enemies. In Synop., of satisfying the hunger of the multitude (Matthew 14:20 and paralls.). In Matthew 5:6; Luke 6:21, of satisfying spiritual hunger.

ὑστερεῖσθαι: ‘to suffer need.’ From ὕστερος, ‘behind.’ The phrase ‘to fall behind’ is popularly used of one in straitened circumstances, or in debt. It is applied in N.T. to material deficiency (Luke 15:14; John 2:3); and to moral and spiritual short -coming (Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 8:8; Hebrews 12:15). The middle voice (not pass. as Thay.) indicates the feeling of the pressure of want, as Luke 15:14; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 11:8. The mere fact of want is expressed by the active voice, as Matthew 19:20; John 2:3. In 2 Corinthians 12:11, Paul says that he was in no respect behind the ‘extra super’ apostles; οὐδὲν ὑστέρησα, expressing the fact of his equality, not his sense of it.

See some good remarks of Canon T.S. Evans on 1 Corinthians 1:7 (Expositor, 2d Ser. iii. p. 6); also Gifford, in Speaker’s Comm., on Romans 3:23.


13. πάντα ἰσχύω: ‘I can do all things.’ Not only all the things just mentioned, but everything.

Ἰσχύειν and the kindred words ἰσχὺς, ἰσχυρὸς, are not of frequent occurrence in Paul. The meanings of ἰσχὺς and δύναμις (see ἐνδυναμοῦντι) often run together, as do those of δύναμις and ἐνέργεια. (See on 3:21.) The general distinction, however, is that ἰσχὺς is indwelling power put forth or embodied, either aggressively, or as an obstacle to resistance; physical power organised, or working under individual direction. An army and a fortress are both ἰσχυρὸς. The power inhering in the magistrate, which is put forth in laws or judicial decisions, is ἰσχὺς, and makes the edicts ἰσχυρὰ, ‘valid,’ and hard to resist. Δύναμις is rather the indwelling power or virtue which comes to manifestation in ἰσχὺς. (See Schmidt, Synon. 148, 3, 4, 5.) For the accus. with ἰσχύειν, comp. Galatians 5:6.


ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με: ‘in him that strengtheneth me,’ or, more literally, ‘infuses strength into me.’ The ἐνδυν. appears in the ἰσχύω.

Χριστω is added by אc DFGKLP.

ἐν: Not ‘through,’ but ‘in’; for he is in Christ (3:9). Ἐνδυναμοῦν, mostly in Paul. (See Romans 4:20; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:12.) With the thought here, comp. 2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:1, 2 Timothy 2:4:17; and Ign. Smyr. iv., πάντα ὑπομένω, αὐτοῦ με ἐνδυναμοῦντος τοῦ τελείου�

He guards against a possible inference from his words that he lightly esteems their gift, or thinks it superfluous. Not, as Chr., Œc., and Theoph., very strangely, that he feared lest his apparent contempt for the gift might dissuade them from similar acts in the future. It is characteristic that there is no formal expression of thanks beyond his recognition and commendation of the moral and spiritual significance of the act, in which he virtually acknowledges the benefit to himself. The best thanks he can give them is to recognise their fidelity to the principle of Christian love, and to see in their gift an expression of that principle. On the other hand, there is no attempt to conceal the fact that he was in real affliction (θλίψει), and that their act relieved it; and only the most perverted and shallow exegesis, such as Holsten’s, can read into his words an expression of indifference to the love displayed by the church, and describe them as “thankless thanks,” or see in them a contradiction of 1 Thessalonians 2:9.


14. πλὴν: ‘nevertheless.’ (See on 1:18, 3:16.) ‘Nevertheless, do not think that, because I am thus independent of earthly contingencies, I lightly prize your gift.’

καλῶς ἐποιήσατε: ‘ye did nobly.’ Positive and generous praise: not a mere acknowledgment that they had simply done their duty. It was a beautiful deed, true to the gospel ideal of καλὸς. For the phrase καλῶς ποιεῖν, see Mark 7:37; Luke 6:27; 1 Corinthians 7:37.

συνκοινωνήσαντές μου τῇ θλίψει: ‘that ye made common cause with my affliction’; ‘went shares with’ (Lightf. on Galatians 6:6). The A.V. ‘communicate’ is correct, if ‘communicate’ is understood in its older sense of ‘share,’ as Ben Jonson, “thousands that communicate our loss.” (Comp. Romans 12:13.) The verb occurs only in Ephesians 5:11; Revelation 18:4. The participle, as the complement of ἐποι., specifies the act in which the καλ. ἐποι. was exhibited. For the construction, comp. Acts 5:42; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; Win. xlv. 4. The dative θλίψει expresses that with which common cause was made.


Their gift is not the first and only one which he has received. It is a repetition of former acts of the same kind, a new outgrowth from his long and affectionate relations with them. He might justly expect and could honorably accept help from those who had been the first to minister to his necessities, and who had so often repeated their ministry. The idea of a quasi-apology for his reproach of the Philippians, because his former relations with them had justified his disappointment in not receiving earlier supplies (Chr., Œc., Theoph.), is utterly without foundation, since no reproach had been uttered or implied. There is no specific praise of their earlier gifts, but the καλ. ἐποι. is confirmed by the fact that the last gift was a continued manifestation of the same spirit that had marked them from the beginning.

Baur’s inference from 2 Corinthians 11:9, that the Philippians had been accustomed to send him a regular annual contribution which had now for some time been intermitted, requires no notice.


15. οἴδατε δὲ καὶ ὑμεῖς Φιλιππήσιοι: ‘and ye also, Philippians, know.’ Δὲ passes on to the mention of former acts of liberality, or perhaps marks the contrast between the expression of his own judgment (vs. 14) and the appeal to their knowledge. Καὶ marks the comparison of the Philippians with the apostle himself. ‘Ye as well as I.’ Not, as Calv., ‘ye as well as other witnesses whom I might cite.’ It is quite unnecessary to assume, as Hofn. and Weiss, any special sensitiveness of Paul in alluding to his relations with other churches, which causes him to appeal to the knowledge of the Philippians.

Φιλιππήσιοι: Paul is not accustomed thus to address his readers by name. (See 2 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 3:1.) The address is not intended to point a contrast with other churches, but expresses earnestness and affectionate remembrance.

ὅτι: ‘that.’ Habitual construction with οἶδα. (See 1:19, 25; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Galatians 4:13, etc.) Not ‘because,’ as Hofn., whose explanation, ‘ye know that ye have done well because this is not the first time that you have sent me similar gifts,’ needs no comment. (See Mey. ad loc.)

ἐν�Acts 17:14).

Some, as Lightf., De W., Weiss, refer to the contribution given at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:9), in which case ἐξῆλθον must be rendered as pluperf. This, of course, is grammatically defensible. Lightf. says that as the entrance into Macedonia was one of the two most important stages in Paul’s missionary life, he speaks of his labors in Macedonia as the beginning of the gospel, though his missionary career was now half run. “The faith of Christ had, as it were, made a fresh start” (Biblical Essays: “The Churches of Macedonia”). This is fanciful. (See Ramsay, St. Paul, the Traveller, etc. p. 199.)


Explanations which assume to fix the exact points of correspondence between Paul’s statements here and the narrative in Acts must needs be tentative and indecisive. No doubt the different parts of the N.T., in some cases, exhibit “undesigned coincidences”; but in many other cases the coincidences are imperfect, or are altogether wanting. It is most unlikely that all the contributions of the Philippians to Paul were accurately chronicled by Luke. That Paul in vs. 16 mentions a contribution earlier than that noted in vs. 15 presents no difficulty. Having said that the Philippians were the very first to assist him on his departure from Macedonia, he emphasises that readiness by going back to a still earlier instance. ‘Not only on my departure, but even before I departed you were mindful of my necessities.’

Μακεδονίας: In Paul’s later letters he always prefers to mention provinces rather than cities in connection with his own travels, and does so in cases where a definite city might have been as properly referred to. (See Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 8:1, 2 Corinthians 9:2, and Weizs. Apost. Zeit. p. 195.)

μοι … ἐκοινώνησεν: ‘became partner with me,’ or ‘entered into partnership with me.’ See on συνκοιν., vs. 14. Comp. Ril., “ne se mit en rapport avec moi.” For the construction with dat. of the person, see Galatians 6:6, and Ellic.’s note there.


εἰς λόγον δόσεως καὶ λήμψεως: ‘as to an account of giving and receiving.’ The matter is expressed in a mercantile metaphor. He means that the question of money given and received did not enter into his relations with any other church. The Philippians, by their contributions, had ‘opened an account’ with him.

Others, as Ril. and Lightf., dismiss the metaphor and render εἰς λόγον ‘as regards,’ or ‘with reference to.’ This has classical but not N.T. precedent. (See Thuc. iii. 46; Dem. De Falsa Leg. 385; Hdt. iii. 99, vii. 9.) But the recurrence of λόγον in vs. 17, where the metaphor is unmistakable, seems to point to the other explanation.

For ἐκοιν. εἰς comp. κοιν. εἰς (1:5), and see Win. xxx. 8 a. Ἐκοιν. εἰς λόγ. forms one idea. For λόγος, in the sense of ‘account’ or ‘reckoning’, see Matthew 12:36; Luke 16:2; Romans 14:12; and comp. Ign. Philad. xi., εἰς λόγον τιμῆς, “as a mark of honor”; Smyr. x., οἳ ἐπηκολούθησάν μοι εἰς λόγον θεοῦ, “who followed me in the cause of God.”

Δός. καὶ λήμψ., in the sense of credit and debt, occurs in LXX, Sir. 41:19, 42:7. (Comp. Arist. Eth. Nic. ii. 7, 4; Plat. Repub. 332 A.) Δόσις in N.T. only here and James 1:17. The giving by the Philippians and the receiving by Paul form the two sides of the account. Chr., Theoph., Œc., Aug., followed by Calv., Weiss, Lips., and others, explain of an exchange: Paul giving spiritual gifts to the Philippians, and receiving their material gifts. This is possible, but seems far-fetched.

εἰ μὴ ὑμεῖς μόνοι: ‘but ye only.’ (Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:6-18; 2 Corinthians 11:7-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:9.) In all those cases he is speaking of rightful remuneration for apostolic service, and not, as here, of free offerings.


16. ὅτι: ‘for,’ or ‘since,’ justifying the statement of vs. 15. Not ‘that,’ as Ril., Weiss, connecting with οἴδατε.

καὶ ἐν Θεσσαλονίκῃ: ‘even in Thessalonica.’ A Macedonian city, near Philippi, where a church was founded by Paul before his departure into Achaia (Acts 17:1-9); yet the contribution came from Philippi, and not from Thessalonica, and that while he was actually in Thessalonica. Ἐν cannot be explained as ‘to.’

καὶ ἅπαξ καὶ δὶς: ‘not merely once, but twice.’ (Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:18.)

εἰς τὴν χρείαν: ‘with reference to the (then) present need.’ Εἰς, as in 1:5; 2 Corinthians 2:12. Τὴν with a possessive sense, ‘my,’ or the particular need of the time. For χρείαν, comp. 2:25.


They are not, however, to understand him as implying that he desired their gifts principally for his own relief or enrichment. He prizes their gift chiefly because their sending it will be fruitful in blessing to them. In vs. 11 he disclaimed the sense of want. Here he disclaims the desire for the gift in itself considered.

17. οὐχ ὅτι: See on vs. 11.

ἐπιζητῶ: Used by Paul only here and Romans 11:7. The continuous present, ‘I am seeking,’ characterising his habitual attitude.


Ἐπὶ marks the direction, not the intensity of the action. See on ἐπιποθῶ, 1:8.

τὸ δόμα: ‘the gift.’ In Paul only here and Ephesians 4:8. Not the particular gift which they had sent, but the gift as related to his characteristic attitude, and which might be in question in any similar case.


ἀλλὰ ἐπιζητῶ: The verb is repeated in order to emphasise the contrary statement. (Comp. the repetitions in vs. 2, 12.)

τὸν καρπὸν: ‘the fruit.’ (See on 1:11.) The recompense which the gift will bring to the givers. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:6.)

τὸν πλεονάζοντα: ‘that increaseth’ or ‘aboundeth.’ The verb, which is often used by Paul, signifies large abundance. Paul does not use it transitively, exc. 1 Thessalonians 3:12, though it is so found in LXX, as Numbers 26:54; Psa_50(49):19; 71(70):21; 1 Macc. 4:35. In class. mostly, ‘to superabound.’ It is associated with ὑπεραυξάνειν in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (see Lightf. ad loc.), and with περισσεύειν in 1 Thessalonians 3:12. The phrase πλεον. εἰς is unique, since πλεον. habitually stands alone. In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, εἰς goes with�

λόγον: ‘account’ or ‘reckoning,’ as vs. 15. The idea of ‘interest’ (τόκος), as Kl., is, perhaps, not exactly legitimate, though it suits the metaphor in πλεον. εἰς λόγ., and καρπὸς is used in class. of profit from material things, as flocks, honey, wool, etc. Mey.’s objection that this sense is unsuited to δόμα is of little weight, since the δόμα might be figuratively regarded as an investment. It is arbitrary to limit the meaning to the future reward (Mey., Alf., Ellic.). The present participle may, indeed, signify, ‘which is rolling up a recompense to be awarded in the day of Christ’; but it may equally point to the blessing which is continually accruing to faithful ministry in the richer development of Christian character. (Comp. Romans 6:21, Romans 6:22.) Every act of Christian ministry develops and enriches him who performs it. (Comp. Acts 20:35.) Aug., distinguishing between the gift as such and the gift as the offering of a Christian spirit, says that a mere gift might be brought by a raven, as to Elijah.


18.�

ἀπέχω: ‘I have to the full.’ Nothing remains for me to desire. Ἀπὸ marks correspondence; i.e. “of the contents to the capacity; of the possession to the desire” (Lightf.). (See Win. xl. 46.) So Matthew 6:2. “They have their reward in full.” There is nothing more for them to receive. (Comp. Luke 6:24.) Not a formal acknowledgment of the gift, omitted in vs. 17 (Chr., Œc., Theoph.).

καὶ περισσεύω: ‘and abound.’ Not only is my need met, but I have more than I could desire. On περισσεύειν see Lightf. on 1 Thessalonians 3:12.


πεπλήρωμαι: ‘I am filled.’ Hardly the completion of a climax (Ellic.), since fulness is not an advance on περισς. It rather introduces the following clause, which is an explanatory comment upon what precedes.

δεξάμενος: Explanatory of πεπλ. ‘I am filled, now that I have received.’

παρὰ Ἐπαφροδίτου: See on 2:25.

τὰ παρʼ ὑμῶν: ‘the things sent from you’ (through him). Παρὰ emphasises the idea of transmission, and marks the connection between the giver and the receiver, more than�Galatians 1:12; Schmidt, Synon. 107, 18.)

ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας: ‘an odor of a sweet smell.’ Their offering of love is described as a sweet-smelling sacrifice. The expression is common in O.T. to describe a sacrifice acceptable to God. (See Genesis 8:21; Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 1:13, Leviticus 1:17. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:15, 2 Corinthians 2:16; Ephesians 5:2.) Ὀσμὴν is in apposition with τὰ παρʼ ὑμῶν; εὐωδίας is genit. of quality. Ὀσμὴ is more general than εὐωδία, denoting an odor of any kind, pleasing or otherwise.

θυσίαν: ‘a sacrifice.’ Not the act of sacrifice, but the thing sacrificed. (See on 2:17.) Here in the same sense as Romans 12:1.

δεκτήν: ‘acceptable.’ Rare in N.T., and only here by Paul, 2 Corinthians 6:2 being a quotation. (See LXX; Leviticus 1:3, Leviticus 1:4, Leviticus 19:5, Leviticus 22:19.)

εὐάρεστον: ‘well-pleasing,’ as Romans 12:1. In N.T. only in Paul and Heb. (See Romans 14:18; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Ephesians 5:10; Hebrews 13:21; LXX; Sap. 4:10, 9:10.)


τῷ θεῷ: Connect with both ὀσμ. εὐωδ. and θυς.

19. ὁ δὲ θεὸς μου πληρώσει πᾶσαν χρείαν ὑμῶν: ‘and my God shall fulfil every need of yours.’ My God who has made you his instruments in fulfilling my need (πεπλήρωμαι, vs. 18) will fulfil every need of yours. The δὲ is not adversative, ‘but’ (Beng., De W., A.V.), which would seem to emphasise the loss incurred in sacrifice by setting over against it the promise of the divine supply. It rather adds this statement to the preceding; and this statement expresses God’s practical approval of the Philippians’ offering, and not their compensation by him. (Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:8-11.)


κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος αὐτοῦ: ‘according to his riches.’ The measure or standard of the supply; the infinite possibility, according to which the πληρώσει will be dispensed.

ἐν δόξῃ: ‘in glory.’ The mode or manner of the fulfilment, ‘gloriously’; in such wise that his glory will be manifested. Construe with πληρώσει, not with πλοῦτος (as Grot., Rhw., Heinr., A.V., R.V.), ‘riches in glory,’ which is contrary to N.T. usage, since δόξα with πλοῦτος is invariably in the genitive. See, e.g., τὸν πλοῦτον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ (Romans 9:23); and comp. Ephesians 1:18, Ephesians 1:3:16; Colossians 1:27. Ἐν δόξῃ is always used in connection with a verb (see 2 Corinthians 3:8, 2 Corinthians 3:11; Colossians 3:4), and so are all similar phrases, as ἐν�2 Thessalonians 1:11).

Mey. makes ἐν instrumental, though dependent on πληρώσει, ‘with glory,’ or ‘in that he gives them glory,’ and characterises the explanation given above as “indefinite and peculiarly affected,” in which he is followed by Alf., who calls it “weak and flat in the extreme.” Nevertheless it is adopted by Thay., Lips., De W., Calv., Ead., Weiss, Kl. Comp. Romans 1:4, where ἐν δυνάμει is adverbial with ὁρισθέντος, and 2 Corinthians 3:7, 2 Corinthians 3:8, 2 Corinthians 3:11. Mey.’s explanation is shaped by his persistent reference to the parousia, which narrows his interpretation of πλεονάζοντα in vs. 17. He cannot conceive how Paul, with his view of the parousia as imminent, could promise, on this side of it, a glorious recompense. So Lightf. ‘by placing you in glory.’ But πληρώσει is not to be limited to the future reward. It includes, with that, all that supply which God so richly imparts in this life to those who are in Christ. (See John 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:5; Ephesians 3:16-20; Colossians 2:10.)


ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: Not to be connected with δόξῃ, but with πληρώσει, as the domain in which alone the πληρώσει can take place.

The dignity and tact with which Paul treats this delicate subject have been remarked by all expositors from the Fathers down. Lightf. has justly observed that Paul had given to the Philippians “the surest pledge of confidence which could be given by a high-minded and sensitive man, to whom it was of the highest importance, for the sake of the great cause which he had advocated, to avoid the slightest breath of suspicion, and whose motives nevertheless were narrowly scanned and unscrupulously misrepresented. He had placed himself under pecuniary obligations to them.” With his tone of manly independence and self-respect, mingles his grateful recognition of their care for him and a delicate consideration for their feelings. He will not doubt that they have never ceased to remember him, and have never relaxed their eagerness to minister to him, although circumstances have prevented their ministry. Yet he values their gift principally as an expression of the spirit of Christ in them, and as an evidence of their Christian proficiency. He can give their generosity no higher praise, no higher mark of appreciation and gratitude, than to say that it was a sacrifice of sweet odor to God. He is not raised above human suffering. Their gift was timely and welcome; yet if it had not come, he was independent of human contingencies. They have not only given him money, but they have given him Christian love and sympathy and ministry—fruit of his apostolic work.

The promise just uttered, by its wonderful range and richness, calls forth an ascription of praise.

20. τῷ δὲ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ ἡμῶν: ‘to our God and Father’; the God who will supply every need out of his fatherly bounty. For the formula, see Galatians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:3:11, 13. Ἡμῶν probably belongs to both nouns, since the article is unnecessary with θεῷ, and is apparently prefixed in order to bind both nouns with the pronoun. On the other hand, Ellic. suggests that, as πατρὶ expresses a relative idea and θεὸς an absolute one, the defining genitive may be intended for πατρὶ only. (See Ellic. and Lightf. on Galatians 1:4.)

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων: ‘to the ages of the ages.’ Forever. For the formula, see Galatians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:18; 1 Peter 4:11, and often in Apoc. LXX habitually in the singular; εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος (Psalms 89:29 [88:30], 111[110]:3, 111:10); εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, omitting τῶν αἰώνων (Psalms 61:4 [60:5], 77 [76]:8; 2 Chronicles 6:2). For similar doxologies in Paul’s letters, see Romans 11:36; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 1:17. Paul has εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας (Romans 1:25, Romans 9:5, Romans 11:36); εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα (1 Corinthians 8:13; 2 Corinthians 9:9); εἰς πάσας τὰς γενεὰς τοῦ αἰῶνος τῶν αἰώνων (Ephesians 3:21). Αἰὼν is a long space of time; an age; a cycle. In the doxology the whole period of duration is conceived as a succession of cycles.


CLOSING SALUTATIONS

21. πάντα ἅγιον: ‘every saint’; individually. Comp. πᾶσιν τοῖς ἁγίοις (1:1); πάντας�1 Thessalonians 5:26);�Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12). The salutation is probably addressed through the superintendents of the church (1:1), into whose hands the letter would be delivered, and who would read it publicly. For ἅγιον, see on 1:1.

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: May be construed either with�1 Corinthians 16:19. Ἅγιος with ἐν Χτῷ Ἰ., 1:1. The passages commonly cited from the closing salutations of Rom. are not decisive. The evidence is rather in favor of ἅγιον. It is true that ἅγ. implies ἐν Χ. Ἰ.; but the same reason may possibly apply here which is given by Chr. for the phrase in 1:1; namely, that he speaks of them as ‘saints,’ in the Christian as distinguished from the O.T. sense.


οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ�

23. ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν: ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.’ So Philemon 1:25; Galatians 6:18.


For μετα του πνευματος, TR reads μετα παντων with אc KL, Syr.utr.

א ADKLP, Vulg., Cop., Syr.utr, Arm., Æth., add αμην, which is omitted by WH., Tisch., Weiss, with BFG, 47, Sah.









Comp. Compare.

Athen. Athenæus.

Aristoph. Aristophanes.

Calv. Calvin.

Alf. Alford.

Beng. Bengel.

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

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

Cop. Coptic, Memphitic, or Bohairic.

Syr. Schaaf’s ed. of Peshitto.

A.V. Authorized Version.

Lightf. Lightfoot.

Theo.Mop. Theodore of Mopsuestia.

Chr. Chrysostom.

Ellic. Ellicott.

De W. De Wette.

Wiesel. Wieseler.

Lips. Lipsius.

Theoph. Theophylact.

Grot. Grotius.

Wetst. Wetstein.

Mey. Meyer.

Aristot. Aristotle.

Ign. Ignatius.

LXX Septuagint Version.

Sap. Wisdom of Solomon.

= Equivalent to.

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.

Aug. Augustine.

am am Ende.

Calov. Calovius.

Ril. Rilliet.

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

Vulg. Vulgate.

Hdt. Herodotus.

Thdrt. Theodoret.

Ead. Eadie.

Kl. Klöpper.

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.

Luth. Luther.

R.V. Revised Version of 1881.

Soph. Sophocles.

Polyc. Polycarp.

Bib. Bible.

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

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

C Cod. Ephraem: 5th century. Palimpsest. National Library, Paris. Very defective. Wanting from τοῦτο οὖν (Ephesians 4:17) to καὶ τί αἱρήσομαι (Philippians 1:22), and from μειν (Βενιαμειν) (Philippians 3:5) to the end. Correctors: C2, 6th century; C3, 9th century.


Thay. Thayer: Greek-English Lexicon of the N. T.

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.

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.

G

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.


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

Œc. Œcumenius.

Hofn. Hofmann.

Weizs. Weizsäcker.

Thuc. Thucydides.

Dem. Demosthenes.

Rhw. Rheinwald.

Heinr. Heinrichs.

TR Textus Receptus.

Syr. Peshitto and Harclean versions.

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

Arm. Armenian.

Æth. Ethiopic.

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

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

47 Bodleian Library: 11th century. Both epistles entire.

Sah. Sahidic.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Philippians 4". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/philippians-4.html. 1896-1924.
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