Click here to get started today!
THE apostle's mind has been carried away for a moment by a reference to the hostility which was frowning upon the Philippian church. But he immediately reverts to the admonition which he had started in Philippians 2:27. His theme is unity, the cultivation of the feelings which maintain it, and the repression of that selfishness and pride which always retard and so often destroy it. He had joy in their spiritual welfare, but he would have fulness of joy in their harmony and love. Therefore he solemnly calls upon them by four distinct appeals, to fill up the measure of his gladness. His earnestness makes it evident that he apprehended the existence among them of a spirit of jealousy, selfishness, and faction. This suspicion haunted and grieved him, or at least it moderated that delight which he would otherwise have felt in them, and which he so ardently longed to possess. His happiness would be at its height, provided that the one soul and the one mind reigned in the church. What a motive to conciliation and peace lay in the thought that his joy was so far dependent on the absence of feuds and schisms among them! Could they be so unthinking as to grieve their apostle by any report of their differences? And they were to beware of strife and vainglory as elements of disunion, and to cherish a spirit of humility and kind regard for one another's welfare. For Christ is then held up as the great model of self-denying condescension-He whom as Master, they had engaged to obey; and whom as Example, they were pledged to imitate.
(Philippians 2:1.) Εἴ τις οὖν . The illative particle οὖν carries us back in thought to Philippians 2:27, and not to the clauses immediately before it. The “exhortation” and “comfort” are not spoken of, as Barnes supposes, in reference to the afflictions and persecutions just referred to. They had been exhorted to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together;” and now they are solemnly adjured to study unanimity of opinion and action. The simple verb ἐστί is to be supplied to the clauses. The structure of the appeal is peculiar. In using εἰ , the apostle does not doubt the existence of these graces or feelings either absolutely, or as existing among the Philippians; but he says, If these do exist among you, put them into action, or manifest them, so as to fill up my joy. The admonition amounts in fact to an adjuration. Hoogeveen, Doctr. Part. ed. Schütz, p. 151. By the existence of such graces among you-by the exhortation which is in Christ, by the comfort of love, by the fellowship of the Spirit, and by the attachments and sympathies of the gospel, I adjure you to fulfil my joy by being like-minded. That is to say, the four clauses are really so many arguments why the Philippian church should perfect the apostle's happiness by their constant and cordial oneness of judgment and pursuit. And these four clauses, beginning each with the same formula εἴ τις , mark the intensity of the apostle's desire; the arguments so expressed possessing a distinct individual power, and having also a united energy arising from their rapid accumulation. For the apostle writes, as Chrysostom describes his style- λιπαρῶς , σφοδρῶς , μετὰ συμπαθείας πολλῆς .
Εἴ τις οὖν παράκλησις ἐν Χριστῷ “If there be any exhortation in Christ.” In the modal phrase ἐν Χριστῷ , the preposition ἐν means neither per nor propter, means neither “by” Christ, nor “on account of” Christ, as Storr and Heinrichs are disposed to render it. The words are taken by some to denote the sphere of this παράκλησις ; by others to point out its source. In the one case, the meaning is, “if in Christ there be any exhortation;” in the other, if “there be any consolation felt,” or “if ye have any consolation through union with Christ”- in communione Christi, as van Hengel dilutes it. We prefer the former, viewing παράκλησις as objective. Remote from the right exegesis is the idea of Erasmus and Am Ende, that ἐν Χ . is for τοῖς ἐν Χ . “among those who are Christians.” Our exegesis does not, as van Hengel affirms, require ἡ ἐν Χ . Winer, § 20, 2.
The noun παράκλησις , and its verb, have two distinct meanings in the New Testament-that of exhortation, but different from διδάσκειν ; and that of comfort or encouragement. Examples of both are so numerous that they need not be quoted. The meanings are allied in this way, that the exhortation is often intended to impart comfort, or results in it. Thus, Romans 15:4 - διὰ τῆς παρακλήσεως τῶν γραφῶν , is not simply through the consolation contained in Scripture, but the body of consolatory truth which Scripture exhibits; or, again, Matthew 2:18 - ῾Ραχὴλ - οὐκ ἤθελε παρακληθῆναι - “Rachel would not be comforted,” would not feel the effect of words of condolence and solace presented to her. See 1 Corinthians 1:10, and many other places. We do not thus take it here in its specifically Hellenistic sense of comfort, as is done by the Vulgate, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Calvin, Grotius, and Heinrichs, but rather in that of exhortation or hortatory power. 1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:11. Such is the view of Luther, Bos, De Wette, van Hengel, Rheinwald, and Meyer. Those who give the noun the meaning of comfort, add the idea of affording comfort to the apostle. Thus Theodoret - εἴ τινα ἐμοὶ παράκλησιν προσενεγκεῖν βούλεσθε “if ye wish to afford me any comfort.” Such also is the view of Calvin. The supposition of Peter Lombard is as baseless-viz., that the apostle means personal consolation found in the possession of spiritual blessing. But it is not warranted by the words, nor the strain of address; nor yet is the notion of Storr and others, who, giving a peculiar emphasis to τις , render “if exhortation tendered in Christ's name is of any value among you.” We therefore take παράκλησις as meaning that kind of exhortation which moves or induces, and which has its sphere of action in Christ.
The nature of this hortative address is to be gathered from the context. It is not simply exhortation to good, derived from the pardon which Christ bestows, the Spirit which He sends down, the power which He communicates, or the example which He has bequeathed. But it is implied that it is exhortation to unity and concord-exhortation which has its element, and by consequence finds its power in Christ. The apostle exhorts, but, in doing so, he leads them at the same time to a Higher than himself:-
εἴ τι παραμύθιον ἀγάπης “if any comfort of love.” As in the former case, very many render this term vaguely by “comfort;” but Matthies, De Wette, van Hengel, and Hoelemann, assign it rather the sense of encouragement- blandum colloquium. With the latter we are disposed to agree, for we think that this sense prevails uniformly in the New Testament. John 11:19 -Many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary- ἵνα παραμυθήσωνται αὐτάς “that they might speak kind words to them.” So 1 Thessalonians 2:11, and 1 Thessalonians 5:14 - where the phrase occurs- παραμυθεῖσθε τοὺς ὀλιγοψύχους - “encourage the weak-minded.” The noun therefore means verbal encouragement, kind conversation, or that tender address which cheers or excites. The neuter form of the word only occurs here, but another and earlier form is found-1 Corinthians 14:3 - λαλεῖ οἰκοδομὴν καὶ παράκλησιν καὶ παραμυθίαν - “uttereth edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” The following noun ἀγάπης is the genitive of source. The apostle does not mean his own love to them, as van Hengel and Bretschneider suppose; nor yet does he specially allude, as Heinrichs, Schrader, and Storr imagine, to consolation or love specially on the part of the Philippians towards himself. The expression is general. If there exist the “comfort of love,” and that it does exist the apostle does not doubt, then he calls upon them to fulfil his joy. For if such παραμύθιον springs from love, should it not exercise itself in disarming prejudice, in hushing strife, in smoothing asperities, in removing misunderstandings, in preventing aberrations, and generally, by “its still small voice,” knitting together the members of the church, and charming away those evils which so seriously endanger its peace? The apostle thus appeals to another basis of harmony-love, and its winning tongue:-
εἴ τις κοινωνία πνεύματος “if any fellowship of the Spirit,” the genitive being that of object, as in 1 Corinthians 1:9. That this striking expression denotes only community of feeling among themselves, or between them and the apostle, is the view of many expositors, though some of them, as De Wette, Usteri, Rilliet, van Hengel, and Wiesinger, speak of such common feeling as produced by the Holy Ghost. We feel that such a meaning does not come up to the Pauline phrase, and that it is to the Holy Spirit that the apostle refers. For instances of πνεῦμα , etc., with and without the article, see under Ephesians 1:17. Wiesinger admits, that in the apostolic benediction, 2 Corinthians 13:14, the phrase may have such a signification; but, indeed, what other could it have there? Nay, he adds, “How remote would the connection be, between the existence of such a fellowship with the Spirit of God, and the exhortation which follows-‘fulfil ye my joy’!” This appears to us to be a total and unaccountable misapprehension. For the fellowship of the Divine Spirit is the very basis of that like-mindedness, the existence and development of which the apostle covets among them. That correct apprehension of the same truths which leads to like-mindedness, the felt reception of common blessings which creates one-heartedness, position in the church as an organic unity which guards against schism -all is effected by the Spirit of God, of whom they partake. If there be the joint participation of the Spirit, as indeed there is, then it becomes a mighty inducement and power in securing the concord which would fulfil the apostle's joy, and give them the elements of character which he immediately depicts. For, then, participation of the Spirit would produce similarity of tastes, pursuits, and predilections; nay, this κοινωνία πνεύματος was the real basis of that κοινωνία εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον to which he had already adverted:-
εἴ τις σπλάγχνα καὶ οἰκτιρμοί “if any bowels and mercies.” The singular form- τις -has the preponderant authority of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, J; and of the Greek fathers, Chrysostom, OEcumenius, and Theophylact, and has therefore been received by Griesbach, Scholz, and Lachmann. But Winer rejects it, § 59, 5, b, etc. Tischendorf also, in spite of all this evidence, has τινα in his text, and he is followed by Alford and Ellicott. Meyer says that τινα is necessary; De Wette, that τις is grammatically impossible. These critics look upon τις as a copyist's blunder; but how could such an ungrammatical blunder be so widely circulated? There was some temptation to change τις into τινα , but none to write τις , which would have the appearance of a grievous solecism. It is needless to imagine, with van Hengel, that the apostle wrote εἰ σπλάγχνα , and that the pronoun, from a pedantic desire of uniformity, was inserted by some transcriber. Nor will it do, as some propose, to supply ἔχει for οἰκτιρμοί , for that would be a yet greater difficulty. We are disposed to think that the anomaly is only formal. The two nouns σπλάγχνα and οἰκτιρμοί are technically plural, though singular in meaning, and having only the plural form in the New Testament, came, like similar words, to be treated as singulars in sense. Both as representing one Hebrew plural contain only one idea, so that the last of them is sometimes put in the genitive “bowels of mercy.” Standing out to the apostle's mind as one generic idea, he prefixed the singular τις , just as we say, in common English “if there is any news.” In the same way the phrase “bowels of mercy”-is taken as one Christian characteristic. The substantive σπλάγχνα represents the Hebrew רַחֲמִים , H8171, and denotes the thoracic viscera, or as we say “heart.” Οἰκτιρμοί represents the same Hebrew term without a figure. See under Colossians 3:12; Tittmann, Synon. i. p. 69; Fritzsche, ad Rom. 2.315. The bearing of this on the unity of the church is very apparent-that union which is described in the following verse by various connected epithets. For where tender feeling, as expressed by σπλάγχνα , does not exist, such union is impossible. Universal callousness would be universal antipathy. And then, as offences must come-and do often come-as one member may hurt his neighbour by love of pre-eminence, stiff adherence to his own opinion, or depreciation of such as differ from him, there is need for the exercise of these “mercies” in forgiving a brother's trespass up to “seventy times seven.” By the existence of such kind and compassionating temper, the apostle pleads that they should fulfil his joy.
The relation of these four clauses has been variously understood. Calovius takes the “love” of the second clause as the love of God, and imagines that in the three clauses there is a reference to the Trinity, Son, Father, and Spirit. This dogmatic notion does not harmonize with the tenor of the context. Meyer again takes the first and third as objective, and the second and fourth as subjective. This is true so far, and he supposes all the four things described as existing on the part of the readers of the epistle, as if it were said, “If there be among you exhortation in Christ,” etc. But we rather regard each as absolute, and this is the strongest way of putting the case. The apostle does not say “among you,” but speaks in general terms. It is implied, indeed, that such qualifications or arguments for unity were among them; but the apostle specifies them in themselves, without asserting them to be embodied in the Philippian community. Wiesinger again takes the two first clauses as representing what proceeds from the apostle; and the third and fourth, what is to exist on the part of his readers. He supposes the παράκλησις and παραμύθιον to be tendered by the apostle, and the “fellowship of the Spirit,” and “bowels and mercies,” to exist among the Philippians. But his argument against Meyer may be turned against himself “Why should not the apostle have expressed this, if such was his meaning?” There being in short no indication of any change of reference, all the four clauses must be similar. There seems to be no warrant for adding any formal reference, either to himself or his readers, to any of them. It is as if he had said, If there be such an impulsive power as exhortation in Christ; if there be such a preventive of strife as the kind speech of love; if there bé such a basis of unity as the fellowship of the Spirit; if there be such a guard and balance as loving and compassionating temper,-then I adjure you by these to fulfil my joy by your visible and growing harmony.
(Philippians 2:2.) Πληρώσατέ μου τὴν χαράν “Fulfil ye my joy;” that is, make my joy full or perfect. The pronoun is, as often, placed before its governing substantive. Winer, § 22, 7, 1; Gersdorf, Beitr. 456. He rejoiced over them, and in their spiritual welfare; but he enjoins them by all these considerations to give him perfect gladness in them. If a spirit of unity reigned among them, it would be the fulness of his joy:-
ἵνα τὸ αὐτὸ φρονῆτε “that you think the same thing.” The conjunction ἵνα indicates purpose. The object of his obtestation was, that they might possess unanimity, and that is represented to his own mind by ἵνα . But in such a form of expression, and after the imperative, that purpose assumes the aspect of result. He besought them, by all the arguments of the previous verse, to fulfil his joy, but that is only personal and incidental; for above and beyond it, and yet connected with it as its cause, the ultimate end he sought was their concord and union. It is clumsy in van Hengel to make ἵνα dependent on a ταύτην understood before χαράν . Bengel regards the clauses as four in number, and as corresponding in order to the four arguments of the previous verse. This is more ingenious than sound. Only three clauses are employed by the apostle to depict that condition of the church in which he should so heartily rejoice. Nor is there very material difference among them. The first clause is the more general, or it describes the result which the apostle proposed to himself in so solemnly counselling them “that ye think the same thought.” The last clause brings back the same idea strengthened “with united soul thinking the one thing;” while the intermediate clause may be taken to specify the means by which the double result is obtained “having the same love.” Hoelemann refers τὸ αὐτό to the sentiments of the previous verse, but this connection is unwarranted in itself, and by the ordinary use of τὸ αὐτό , as in Romans 12:16; Rom 15:5 , 2 Corinthians 13:11, and in the same epistle, Philippians 4:2; nor can it mean, idem atque ego. Some, as Meyer and Wiesinger, look on the first clause as more fully defined by those which succeed it. Beza takes the first as the theme, and the others as the expansion of it. Calvin divides the idea, giving one clause a reference to doctrine, and one to the exercise of mutual charity. Musculus, Crocius, Am Ende, and Matthies hold a similar view. As we have indicated, we take the first phrase as denoting that result which the apostle coveted, and held up to himself as his chief design in this earnest and tender injunction. This “thinking of the same thing” is not to be confined to any sphere of opinion, but to all that might occupy their minds, or to all that pertained to the church. Not in trade, politics, or the common concerns of life, indeed, but in all things on which, as members of the church, they might be expected to form a judgment, they were to think the same thing, or to come to a unanimous decision. And this would not be a difficult achievement if they followed the next counsel:-
τὴν αὐτὴν ἀγάπην ἔχοντες “having the same love.” We regard this as the great or only source and accompaniment of unanimity, though Chrysostom takes it as synonymous with the preceding clause. Equal love would develop equal opinions. The head would be ruled by the heart. The effect of mutual affection in creating oneness of sentiment is of daily experience. Seeming diversities are cemented, like as lumps of various metals, cast into the crucible, come out in refined and perfect amalgamation. Offensive individualism disappears in brotherly love:-
σύμψυχοι τὸ ἓν φρονοῦντες “with union of soul minding the one thing.” The use of this compound adjective, which occurs only here in the New Testament, intensifies the clause, as the third expression of a somewhat similar sentiment, and therefore it is most naturally taken along with the participle. It is not only “that ye mind the same thing,” but “fellow-souled,” or “in deep sympathy minding the one thing.” We want English terms for those expressive Greek compounds. Van Hengel looks on this epithet, σύμψυχοι , as pointing out the source of the “same love.” We regard it rather as a special result, as expressing that state of heart which this sameness of love produces, which, binding each to each, makes them to be like-souled- ὁμοίως καὶ φιλεῖν καὶ φιλεῖσθαι (Chrysos.). This last clause brings up the sentiment of the first in a more earnest and distinct form. To avoid a supposed tautology, Wells long ago proposed to give τὸ ἕν the sense of “the one thing needful;” while Grotius, followed by Bishop Middleton, assigns it a reference to the following verse-minding this one thing, viz. doing nothing in a factious spirit. The distinction made by Tittmann, and the reference suggested by him to the fourth verse, are both artificial ( De Synon. p. 68). The apostle's ordinary phrase is τὸ αὐτό , and this peculiar form occurs only here. It is probable that τὸ ἕν differed very little from τὸ αὐτό , or only as being the stronger expression. This accumulation of clauses as the result of mental excitement and anxiety, imparts intensity to the counsel, without making any formal climax. His soul glowed as it dwelt on its theme; and recurrent phrases, not frigid repetitions, are the natural expressions of its warmth. The same earnestness accounts for the connection of the verb with its own participle, φρονῆτε - φρονοῦντες ; Jelf, § 705, 3; Lobeck, Paralip. p. 532. The two idioms are sometimes used in the same sentence, as in Xenophon, Cyropaed. p. 58, ed. Hutch.; or in Polybius, 1.4- πρὸς ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν σκοπόν ; or in Latin, idemque et unum, Sueton. Nero, 4, 3; unum atque idem, Cicero, Song of Solomon 4:7; Song of Solomon 4:7. ῞Εν , without the article, would, as Green says ( Greek Gram. p. 201), “signify numerical unity, as opposed to plurality, but the abstract implies uniformity, as contrasted with diversity.” The reference does not seem to be to any apprehended differences on matters of faith, but simply to such differences as might arise in ecclesiastical relationship. Toward one another they were to feel, speak, and act in this spirit, so that inviolable unity should characterize them.
It is true that the apostle repeats virtually the same idea. Βαβαὶ , says Chrysostom, ποσάκις τὸ αὐτὸ λέγει ἀπὸ διαθέσεως πολλῆς . Yet, as we have said, we think it is not mere repetition, the first clause with ἵνα describing the purpose or the coveted result; the second pointing out in what spirit it is to be obtained; the third expressing a closer intimacy which ends in thinking the same thing, or being actually and visibly one-minded. The apostle then warns them:-
(Philippians 2:3.) Μηδὲν κατὰ ἐριθείαν μηδὲ κατὰ κενοδοξίαν - “Minding nothing in the spirit of faction and vainglory.” The reading is doubtful. Instead of μηδέ , the Received Text has ἤ , which, however, has not the same amount of external authority as μηδὲ κατά .
The apostle here rebukes the passions which are so fatal to union. The best supplement is φρονοῦντες -not ποιοῦντες , as so many suppose; the former being more in unison with the train of thought. The common and modal sense of κατά glides sometimes into that of occasion and motive (Winer, § 49, d); but here it retains its first signification. It tells how, or after what way, the action of the supplied participle is done. With the first of the nouns, ἐκ is used-1:17-and presents a different aspect of relation. On the meaning of the first noun, see under Philippians 1:17. In its connection with κενοδοξία , one peculiar aspect of its meaning is brought out, and that is, that it does not signify contention for the love of it, troubling the waters to enjoy the confusion, but such contention as tends and is designed to secure pre-eminence. It is self-seeking-the restless battle to be first, no matter what opposition be encountered, or whose feelings or interests may suffer. Κενοδοξία occurs only here in the New Testament. Wis 14:14 . This self-conceit is silly, indeed, but prejudicial to peace. Inordinate self-display absorbs brother-love. What I think is soundest, what I propose is best, my reasons are irrefragable, and my schemes cannot be impugned; to differ from me is evidence of want of judgment; and to oppose me must be ascribed to consummate folly or unpardonable obstinacy. I must lead; why should not I? all must follow; and why should not they?
ἀλλὰ τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν “but in humility regarding others as better than themselves.” The words τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ are not to be joined to the participle, as dativus excellentiae, or as forming norma judicii, as if the meaning were, Let each regard the other on account of his humility, better than himself. Baumgarten-Crusius thus gives it, and then eulogizes it as ein sinnreicher Spruch. But the position of the words plainly joins them to the participle ἡγούμενοι , and they are a modal dative, not, however, exchangeable with κατά and an accusative, or they may be a dynamical and influential dative, meaning “in” or “under the influence of” humility. The article is prefixed to the noun as an abstract term-the virtue of humility. Kühner, § 485; Middleton, on Greek Article, p. 91. This humility is one of the distinctive features of Christianity, for it rests in absolute dependence upon God for everything. Some of the heathen sages might arrive at its meaning, so far as creaturely relations could teach it. But that meaning is immeasurably deepened by the aspect of a sinner's relation to a Redeemer, who died for him in his state of utter unworthiness, bestows upon him blessings to which he has no claims, and notwithstanding all his demerits, maintains the spiritual life within him. Ever unworthy, and yet ever receiving, yea, having nothing that he has not received, how lowly the opinion one should ever form of himself! See under Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12. This humility, placed here as the contrast to self-seeking and vainglory, was to be the spirit in which they should regard one another. It is the true way of forming an estimate. Humility dispels the self-importance which is continually taking and asserting the measure of its own claims, when it comes into contact with others. The one bids its possessor undervalue all about him; the other bids him prefer them. The motto of the former is-first, either first or nothing; the sentiment of the latter is “less than the least of all saints.” The older casuists, and many commentators, refer to the difficulty of forming such an estimate of others. Is it possible to regard all others as superior to ourselves? But the answer is not difficult. Every man that knows his own heart finds, and must find, much in it to give him a low estimate of himself, and he cannot tell what graces may be cherished in the bosoms of those around him; they may be superior to his own. Nor has he any cause to be vain of any gifts conferred on him “What maketh thee to differ?” The original gift, and the impulse to cultivate it, are alike from above. Not that any man is to underrate himself, or in any way to conceal his gifts or graces, for he would by such a spurious modesty be contravening the design of the great Benefactor. Non tam stultae humilitatis, said Luther, ut dissimulare velim dona Dei in me collata. Humility is not undue self-depreciation, but may coexist with fervent gratitude for gifts enjoyed, a thorough consciousness of their number and value, and the utmost desire to lay out “the ten talents” to the utmost possible advantage. But where there is self-assertion or rivalry to secure the “chief seat” and win applause, then the impulses of such vanity necessarily create alienation and disorder. There is no warrant to make the distinction of Storr, referring “strife” to the Jew; or of Rheinwald, referring “vainglory” to the philosophic Gentile.
(Philippians 2:4.) Μὴ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστοι σκοποῦντες ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ ἑτέρων ἕκαστοι “Looking each of you not to your own things, but each of you also to the things of others.” The plural ἕκαστοι is preferred on good authority, such as A, B, F, G, etc., though in other cases it occurs only in the singular, and the participle σκοποῦντες is preferred to σκοπεῖτε , as the reading of A, B, C, D, E, F, G. This counsel is still in unison with the preceding advices. Some understand it as explanatory of the third verse-Regard not every man his own virtues and excellencies, but regard also the virtues and excellencies of others. Calvin, Musculus, Raphelius, Kiel, Hoelemann, Müller, and Baumgarten-Crusius are of this opinion; but it is not so agreeable to the common idiom as the prevalent one, and it does not harmonize with the example of Christ which is immediately set forth. The verse brings out one special phasis of the duty-let each regard others better than himself. The verb σκοπεῖν , connected with such a phrase as τὰ ἑαυτῶν , is to regard one's affairs, or seek his own individual benefit, and is not, as Meyer remarks, materially different from ζητεῖν , similarly used in 1 Corinthians 10:24; 1Co 10:33 ; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:21. Examples abound in the classics, as may be seen in the collection of them by Wetstein. Ζητεῖν is, however, the stronger form, for it is the modal or instrumental idea of σκοπεῖν embodied in active search. In the phrase ἀλλὰ καί , the contrast is softened. Winer, § 55, 8; Fritzsche, ad Marc. 788. The first clause, if taken in an absolute sense, would forbid all regard, and in every form, to one's own interests; but the introduction of καί so far modifies it, that it is supposed to be allowed to a certain extent. The καί is therefore far from being superfluous, as Beelen loosely affirms. The apostle condemns exclusive selfishness- l'égoisme, as Rilliet calls it, and he inculcates Christian sympathy and generosity. One's “own things” are not worldly, but spiritual things. This verse is, in fact, the theme which is illustrated down to the 17th verse. The Philippians were not to consult each his own interests, but to cherish mutual sympathy, and engage in mutual co-operation. They were not to disregard their own things on pretence of caring for each other's-for unless they had first cared for their own things, they were not qualified to care for the things of others. Undue curiosity and impertinent meddlings are far from the apostle's thought, but he requires a holy solicitude and warm fellow-feeling-not absolute self-abnegation, but a vivid substantial interest in the spiritual welfare of others. It is not myself alone or in isolation, as if others did not exist, but myself with them and they with me, in earnest brotherhood and love. My object must not be simply to outstrip them in religious attainment, but to bring them and myself to a higher stage of Christian excellence. Though charity seeketh not her own, still she has her own.
(Philippians 2:5.) Τοῦτο γὰρ φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν , ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ “For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Codices A, B, C 1 , D, E, F, G, have φρονεῖτε , and the Vulgate and Syriac support the reading. The reading φρονείσθω is found in C 3 , J, K, and many other codices, and is adopted by Alford. But φρονεῖτε has high uncial authority, and cannot well be overthrown by any internal argument derived from the structure of the sentence. The probability is that the syntactic difficulty suggested φρονείσθω as an emendation. The particle γάρ is not found in A, B, C 1 , and is omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf. Meyer suggests that the omission was caused by regarding the ἕκαστοι of the last verse as the beginning of this one. If it be genuine, its meaning is more than explicative, or as Ellicott renders, “verily.” It enforces, or gives a reason for the previous injunction. We should expect the sentence to run thus- Have ye this mind in you which Christ had also in Him; whereas the clause reads “which also was in Christ Jesus.” The passive aorist ἐφρονήθη must be supplied, and not ἦν , as is done by Hoelemann. Καί , after the relative, indicates a comparison between the two parts of the clause. Klotz, Devarius, vol. ii. p. 636. The phrase ἐν ὑμῖν is not “among you,” nor is it in any sense superfluous. It points out the inner region of thought which this feeling is to occupy. “This mind” is not a superficial deduction, nor a facile and supine conviction, but a feeling which cannot be dislodged, and which manifests its vitality and power in its incessant imitation of Christ's example. The pronoun τοῦτο , placed emphatically, refers, in our opinion, to the duty inculcated in the preceding verse. The meaning is not, that every feature in Christ's character should have a counterpart in theirs, as if the apostle had generally said, Let the same mind be in you as was in Christ Jesus- ita animati estote, ut Christus Jesus erat animatus. Nor is the reference directly, as Keil and others suppose, to the lowliness of mind already inculcated in 5:3; it is rather to the self-denying generosity and condescension enjoined in the previous verse, though these certainly can have no place where self-seeking and vainglory occupy a ruling position. Thus Victorinus- imitantes Dominum, nos de aliis potius cogitemus, quam de nobis ipsis.
Now, the example of Christ is living legislation-law embodied and pictured in a perfect humanity. Not only does it exhibit every virtue, but it also enjoins it. In showing what is, it enacts what ought to be. When it tells us how to live, it commands us so to live.
What the apostle means by the mind which was in Christ Jesus, he proceeds to explain. His object, in the following paragraph, is neither to prove Christ's Divinity, so as to confirm their faith, nor to argue the perfection of His atonement, so as to brighten their hopes. It is not his intention to dwell on His manhood, with a demonstration of its reality; or to adduce His death with evidence of its expiatory worth; or to dilate on His royal glories, with a summons that every one should look up and worship. His purpose is in no sense polemical. His appeal is not to the merits of His abasement, but to the depth and spirit of it; not to the saving results of His service, but to the form and motives of it. In short, he developes that “mind” which was in Christ, and which was manifested in His self-denying incarnation and death. The apostle's text is “Look not every man at his own things, but every man also at the things of others;” and his argument is, Not only is this your duty, because there is precept for it; but it is your duty, because there is the noblest of all models for it. It was truly exemplified by Him “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant.”
The “form of God” on the one hand, and obedience to the death on the other, are the two termini; or the extent of our Lord's self-denying grace is measured by the distance between equality with God, and a public execution on a gibbet. The question depends to a great extent on the reference in the clause “Who being in the form of God.” Is it after He was born that the apostle so describes Him? Is it of the man Jesus, as He was among men, that this is predicated, or does the apostle take a backward step, and point to the previous impulse which had brought Him down to earth to be one of ourselves? Is the “form of God” descriptive of His incarnate dignity- λόγος ἔνσαρκος -or of His simple Divinity prior to His assumption of humanity- λόγος ἄσαρκος ? Many maintain the former view, that it is solely of Jesus in His earthly state that the apostle speaks. But as the incarnation is not referred to till the next verse, and in the words “He emptied Himself, and took on Him the form of a servant;” may it not be fairly inferred, that what is said of Him in the preceding clauses, describes Him as He was before this period of self-divestment, this assumption of a bondman's aspect, and His subsequent humiliation? De Wette argues from the use of the historic name Christ Jesus, the antecedent to ὅς . But by what other name could the apostle designate Him? For it is to the Mediator that he refers; so that while he gives Him His official designation and human name, may he not under these concrete terms include His pre-existent state? Though first applied to Him infleshed, these names designated a person who combined in His mysterious constitution divinity and humanity. What violation of propriety is there in saying that Christ Jesus was a possessor of the glory of the Godhead anterior to His incarnation? The application of these epithets does not, therefore, necessarily limit the apostle's allusion to one aspect of our Lord's nature and career. The names are given to the ascended Saviour in Philippians 2:10 th and 11 th, for He still wears humanity, though He is now seen to be “equal with God.” Nor can it be objected, as on the part of Philippi, that because the historical Jesus alone is our model, there can be on that account no descriptive allusion to His higher nature. For what made Him become the historical Jesus-what induced Him to discharge the functions of the Christ, and take the name of Jesus? The very application to Him of the names of Jesus Christ, presupposed a “mind” in Him, which prompted Him to leave the glories and felicities of His Father's bosom-a mind which, in our place and circumstances, we are summoned to imitate, though at an infinite distance. For the apostle does not propose a literal imitation of our Lord's example in all its various steps down to crucifixion. That would be an impossibility. It is true that no man can imitate Christ's incarnation; but it is equally true that no one can, in its nature and purpose, imitate His death. But it is not the action, so much as the spirit of it, that the apostle delineates, and Christians may be summoned to possess in their own spheres and limits, as well the condescension that brought Him down to the manger, as the self-abasing generosity which led Him to the Cross. It is another extraordinary statement of Philippi, that as the humiliation here spoken of was put an end to by the ascension, then, if that humiliation is held to consist of His assumption of our nature, it must follow that when He ascended, He left our nature behind Him. But we do not hold that it lay solely in the incarnation, and every one sees that the glorification of the incarnate nature was as really the termination of its inferior state, as would have been its abandonment. The historical title, Christ Jesus, suggested the lesson which the apostle wished to impress, for it belonged to the Saviour in His state of condescension and suffering; and it still identifies the “Man of sorrows” with Him who was in the “form of God,” and with the exalted “Lord,” to whom has been given the name above every name.
As this passage has long been a chosen field of challenge in polemical warfare, we need not wonder that so many names can be quoted on both sides of the view which we have been considering. For the opinion which we have defended are Chrysostom and the Greek expositors; of the Reformation period and subsequently, Beza, Vatablus, Zanchius, Clarius, Calixtus, Cocceius, Crocius, Aretius; among the Catholics, Estius and a-Lapide; and among others of later date, Semler, Storr, Keil, Usteri, Kraussold, Hufnagel, Seiler, Lünemann, Müller, Hoelemann, Rilliet, Pye Smith, Neander, Meyer, Ellicott, Alford, Lechler, Beelen, and Bisping. Among those who hold the opposite doctrine are to be found Novatian and Ambrose among the Latin Fathers; Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Piscator, Hunnius, Cameron, Musculus, Calovius, Le Clerc, Grotius, Bengel, Vorstius, Zachariae, Kesler, Heinrichs, van Hengel, Am Ende, Rheinwald, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, De Wette, Philippi, and Conybeare.
(Philippians 2:6.) ῝Ος ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ ὑπάρχων “Who being (or existing) in the form of God.” The meaning assigned to μορφή is of primary importance. It denotes shape or figure; and we believe with Pott, that it has no connection by metathesis with the Latin forma. Hesychius defines it by ἰδέα , εἴδος ; Suidas adds to these πρόσωψις ; and the Syriac renders by בַדמוּתֹא “in likeness.” If this be its meaning, it is not to be confounded with φύσις or οὐσία . It may imply the possession of nature or essence, but it does not mean either of them. The Greek Fathers, and after them Calvin, Beza, Müller, Robinson, and others, have fallen into this blunder. Thus Chrysostom says- οὐκοῦν καὶ ἡ μορφὴ τοῦ Θεοῦ Θεοῦ φύσις . Gregory of Nyssa maintains the same definition- ἡ μορφὴ τοῦ Θεοῦ ταυτὸν τῇ οὐσίᾳ πάντως ἐστίν . Orat. contra Eunomium, ii. p. 566; ed. Paris, 1638. Cyril of Alexandria has the same notion of the identity of form and essence. Athanasius explains μορφή by πλήρωμα , and Augustine by naturalis plenitudo. Suicer, sub voce. Petavius, too, says ( De Incarnatione, 3.6)- formam hic pro natura sumi perspicuum est. Phavorinus, professing exactness of definition, gives- ἡ μορφὴ κυρίως , ἡ οὐσία . The Greek commentators, as may be seen in Chrysostom, were polemically necessitated to give the term such a meaning, and the pressure of the same feeling has shown itself in almost every century.
Wherever the word occurs in the New Testament, it refers to visible form, as in the next verse, and in Mark 16:12. And so, too, with μόρφωσις , 2 Timothy 3:5. The verb μεταμορφόω , as applied to the transfiguration in Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2, has the same signification, referring simply to change of external aspect, and neither of essence nor person. In the Septuagint, μορφή represents the Chaldee זִיו , denoting external appearance, and is applied to Nebuchadnezzar, in reference to his lunacy; to Belshazzar, when he saw the handwriting, and was appalled, and his “form was changed;” and to Daniel himself (Daniel 7:28), “my form returned to me.” In the reference to Belshazzar and the prophet, the verb ἀλλοιόω is employed, and the change is principally one of countenance. It represents תַּבְנִית , H9322 in Isaiah 44:13 - ὡς μορφὴν ἀνδρός , an idol in shape of a man; and also תְּמוּנָה , H9454, Job 4:16 - καὶ οὐκ ἦν μορφὴ πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν μου . The instances sometimes adduced to show that μορφή may mean nature, will not sustain the assertion. Robinson, after Schleusner, quotes Euripides, Bacch. 54- μορφήν τ᾿ ἐμὴν μετέβαλον εἰς ἀνδρὸς φύσιν . Besides that this is the somewhat loose language of poetry, it may be remarked that the quotation rather shows that φύσις may signify form, and not μορφή signify nature. Bacchus means not to say that he had abandoned Divinity, but only that he had concealed its form in an assumed humanity. He declares, in the previous clause, that he had changed his form into a mortal one; but he does not aver that he had ceased to be immortal in essence. Toward the commencement of the drama, similar language is employed- Μορφὴν δ᾿ ἀμείψας ἐκ θεοῦ βροτησίαν πάρειμι “And having taken a mortal form in exchange for that of a God, I am here.” Another passage is adduced from Plato, where he says of God the Best- μένει ἀεὶ ἁπλῶς ἐν τῇ αὑτοῦ μορφῇ . It is hard to say how much Plato's idea of the Divinity was anthropomorphic; but the sense is, not simply that He remaineth always simply in the same essence, but that He unchangeably manifests the same characteristics. Other and similar passages have been adduced, in which μορφή is supposed to signify not form, but that which form represents. But even granting an occasional metonymy, we find the word used with precise discrimination. Thus Josephus ( Contra Apion, 2.22) speaks of God as being beginning, middle, and end of all things, and adds, that by His works and blessings He is manifest, and more glorious, too, than any being; while, as to His form and magnitude, He is to us most obscure- μορφήν τε καὶ μέγεθος ἡμῖν ἀφανέστατος . The meaning, as the context shows, is, that while so much may be learned from His works and ways, there is no visible shape of Him-nothing to warrant any idolatrous image. In the 34th chapter of the same treatise, the author, in reprobating the lewdness and follies of the mythology of the Greeks, says that they had deified madness and fraud, and others of the vilest passions; or, as he expresses it, εἰς θεοῦ φύσιν καὶ μορφὴν ἀνέπλασαν . The two nouns are here distinguished; those vile passions are supposed, first, to receive the nature of God, and then to get His form. They are conceived of as divine, and then their divinity is represented by a visible shape or idol. The examples selected by Wetstein from the classics are scarcely to our point-since every god had his special form, though μορφή and forma are always used of shape or likeness, and not of mere essence, and have very much the meaning of person. We hold, therefore, that μορφή is form, and neither nature nor condition, though it may represent them. Now form is that by which we know or distinguish anything-that by means of which objects are recognized. One person is known from another by his form. True, God has no form, being pure spirit “Ye saw no manner of similitude in the day that the Lord spake to you in Horeb.” The form of God must therefore signify- the mode of divine manifestation-that by which His appearance is understood and characterized. It was the bright cloud for a long period in the history of ancient Israel. The insignia of Godhead were oft revealed in the olden time; and we have what we take to be several descriptions of the form of God, in Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 18:6-15; Daniel 7:9-10; Habakkuk 3:3-11. Such passages, describing the sublime tokens of a Theophany, afford a glimpse into the meaning of the phrase-form of God. It is not the divine nature, but the visible display of it-that which enables men to apprehend it, and prompts them to adore it.
Now Jesus was in this form of God- ὑπάρχων . The participle has a fuller meaning than ὤν . It represents something on which stress is laid, something which is to be borne in mind as essential to the argument. Galatians 2:14; Acts 17:27-29; Acts 21:20. Suidas makes it equivalent to προεῖναι . Pye Smith speaks of it as, “in many cases, denoting a mode already established, conspicuous, and dating from a prior point of time.” Still it would not be warrantable to render it “pre-existing in the form of God.” There is no use in resolving the participial reference by dum, or by the concessive “although,” with Ellicott. The simple statement is the most emphatic.
This meaning, which we give to μορφή , is in harmony with the spirit of the whole passage, and it is not materially different from εἶδος , John 5:37. See under Colossians 1:15. It stands here in contrast with the phrase μορφὴν δούλου λαβών . He exchanged the form of God for that of a servant-came from the highest point of dignity to the lowest in the social scale. And we are the more confirmed in our view, because of the following verb ἐκένωσε , as this self-divestment plainly refers to the previous μορφή . It cannot mean divinity itself, for surely Jesus never cast it off. But He laid aside the form of God, the splendour of divinity, and not the nature of it-the glory of the Godhead, and not the essence of it. Those who hold that the passage refers to Christ in His incarnate state, regard “the form of God” in various ways-some, like De Wette, referring it to the glory of the Godhead potentially ( potentiâ) in Himself; others, like Grotius, finding it in His miracles; or, like Wetstein, in His transfiguration; or as many others, generally in His sayings and doings. At the same time, while we think that the apostle selects with special care the term μορφή , as signifying something different from nature, we must hold that no one can be in the form of God without being of the nature of God, the exhibition of the form implying the possession of the essence. Of Him who was in the form of God, it is now predicated-
οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἶσα Θεῷ . The phrase τὸ εἶναι ἶσα Θεῷ is peculiar, and as τό indicates, it expresses a united idea. Instead of the adverb ἴσως , the neuter singular and plural are frequently used. Passow, sub voce. Winer, § 27, 3. Many instances occur in the Septuagint. The case is common with other words, as πάντα , πολλά . Matthiae, § 443, e. It is therefore too rigid in Matthies to take ἶσα as denoting equal in the manifoldness of essence. It needs not κατά to be supplied, as some grammatical pedants contended, for adverbs of measure and degree have, with the verb of existence, the sense of predicates-Bernhardy, p. 337; John 5:18; Homer, Odyssey, 10.303- ἶσα θεοῖς . The idea expressed by the adverb is not resemblance, but sameness of quantity or measure; and so Pye Smith renders the clause- “the being on a parity with God.” Tertullian employs the phrase pariari Deo. What this parity is, and what its relation is to the μορφὴ Θεοῦ , we shall afterwards consider. The phrase τὸ εἶναι ἶσα Θεῷ is the object to the verb ἡγήσατο , while ἁρπαγμόν , as predicate, is emphatic from its position.
The meaning of this clause has excited no little inquiry, and principally with regard to ἁρπαγμός . The term is of rare occurrence, and therefore its meaning cannot be determined beyond dispute. To theorize upon its formation does not fully satisfy; for the meanings, abstract and concrete, respectively attached to nouns ending in μος and μα , pass into one another-(Buttmann, § 119, 2, 11)-the first, according to Kühner, § 370, embodying the intransitive notion of the verb-the act of seizure; and the second expressing the result of its transitive notion-the thing seized. Such variations are seen in διωγμός , δίωγμα ; φωτισμός , φώτισμα ; βαπτισμός , βάπτισμα ; βδελυγμός , βδέλυγμα ; ὀνειδισμός , ὀνείδισμα , while θεσμός , λαχμός , χρησμός , and other terms, have the meaning of a word ending in μα . So that from the mere form of the uncommon substantive little definite can be gleaned. Nor can we gather much from its use. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and, so far as known, only in two other places among Greek authors, wher it is not professedly a quotation from this verse. The first is an ugly quotation from a tract ascribed to Plutarch, where the word might be rendered “rape.” The other is from Cyril of Alexandria, in a passage where he says, “The angels declined Lot's invitation; and had the patriarch been a churl, he would not have pressed them further, but would have thought it fortunate that they declined.” But the good and generous host urged them the more, and “did not out of a listless and imbecile soul make their declinature a catch, or thing to be caught at - ἁρπαγμόν .” The word has not the same meaning in these two places. In the first quotation it signifies an action, which Strabo explains by ἁρπαγή ; and, like the English translation we have already given of it, and which is in fact derived from it, it denotes a crime named from the force or violence employed in connection with it. In the second instance it points out ideally something which an inhospitable and niggardly soul would lay hold of; viz., that if one declines an invitation, you reckon his denial something you gladly seize on as a pretext for dropping the subject. Therefore the train of thought, connection, and logical dependence, must chiefly guide us to the meaning of the term. The sense hinges very much, as Pye Smith technically puts it, on the solution of the question, where the protasis is supposed to end, and the apodosis to begin.
I. Many join the two clauses closely, as if the one explained or strengthened the other, or were a species of deduction from it. The noun is then taken in an active sense “and did not think it robbery or a seizure to be equal with God.” But those who hold this general view, hold it with many subordinate differences.
1. Some take the word in the plain and easy sense-of a thing not one's own-He did not regard equality with God as a possession not His by right, did not look upon it in any sense as a usurpation. This has been a common exegesis, as may be seen in Chrysostom, Theophylact, OEcumenius, Augustine, Pelagius, Beza, Calvin, Mynster, Estius, and many others. There are shades of distinction, again, among such as hold this view, but the general meaning with them all is, that Jesus, in personating God, in assuming His name or receiving His worship, deemed Himself guilty of no usurpation, or did not in any sense take what was not His own, for He was really and properly God. Some forms of this exposition are tinged more or less with inferential admixtures. Thus-
2. If one obtain booty, he glories in it, boasts of it, or makes a show of it. So some present this idea-He did not make a show of His equality with God.
Such generally is the notion of Luther, Grotius, Meric, Casaubon, Osiander, Piscator, Wolf, Cameron, Calovius, Krebs, Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, Flatt, and Rheinwald. Their main idea is-that Jesus on earth did not revel in His divinity, but vailed it, did not make an ostentatious display of His Godhead, but concealed it. But in the opinion of many, not all who hold it, this exegesis is often bound up with a meaning given to μορφὴ Θεοῦ which we have already considered, and assigned reasons for rejecting-to wit that the phrase, “form of God,” describes the incarnate Jesus, and it is so far consistent with itself in giving ἁρπαγμός the sense we have alluded to.
3. Again, if a person have usurped a thing, he grasps it very closely, the secret consciousness of his want of right not allowing him to abandon it for a moment. This signification therefore is assigned-He would not retain equality with God, as a robber does his prey. Ambrosiaster, Castalio, Vatablus, Matthies, Kesler, Hoelemann, and Usteri hold this notion. The views of these critics differ, indeed, in colouring, though we need not for our present purpose distinguish them.
But none of these opinions commend themselves, for though they give ἁρπαγμός the usual meaning of nouns ending in μος , still the philology is no firm ground of explanation. It is vain to refer to the uses of ἁρπάζω , as in the words ascribed by Chrysostom to Arius- οὐχ ἥρπασε , and to the instances of ἅρπαγμα in later writers. Heliodorus often uses it in the sense of a thing to be caught at, and once connects it with the verb ἡγεῖται . Lib. vii. § 20. Besides, these interpretations not only make the two clauses virtually the same in meaning, but they destroy the parallel between the precept given, and this example adduced in commendation of it. The primary object of the apostle is not to tell how great Christ was by nature, and how low He became, though in his illustration he has done so; but to show how He looked to the things of others, or in what state of mind He descended to the earth. That purpose is so far missed in the previous exegesis. We therefore regard the apodosis as commencing with the clause under review. It begins the tale of His humiliation by referring to the state of mind which led to it; and we look on the clause as having the prime emphasis laid upon it, as virtually asserting that He did not regard His own things, and as saying, in connection with the preceding phrase, what His own things were, and what was His feeling towards them. Though the form of God was His, He did not regard it with a selfish and exclusive attachment, but He laid it aside and became man. So that we agree with those who give the word that signification in which it is used by Cyril in the sentence already quoted in reference to Lot. Therefore-
II. Not a few give ἁρπαγμός this meaning-a seizure, or thing to be snatched at; or, as Müller renders it “ non rem sibi arripiendam et usurpandam indicavit. ” This view is held by Musculus, Elsner, Bengel, Am Ende, Storr, Keil, Stein, Schrader, Rilliet, De Wette, Beelen, Bisping, Wiesinger, Lünemann, Philippi, Müller, Brückner, and others. Though these writers agree in so understanding the noun, they differ greatly among themselves as to what is to be understood by τὸ εἶναι ἶσα Θεῷ , for the views of many of them are modified by referring the passage simply to Christ as incarnate and on earth. Some regard it as a possession He had, but did not use; others, as something He had not, yet did not aspire to. We have already said, the phrase means “the being on a parity with God,” a parity possessed in His pre-incarnate state. Those who apply the term “form of God” to Jesus incarnate, consistently regard this phrase as referring to His abode on earth. While He was among men, lowly and despised, yet He did not aspire to an equality with God, but continued still in the form of a servant. Bengel understands the reference thus- Esse pariter Deo dicit plenitudinem et altitudinem. Van Hengel thus takes it- Hoc vero, vehementer dubito an aliter explicari possit quam aequali modo vivere, quo vivit Deus, and the meaning is thus given further and fully by him- Christus hâc in terra, quanquam poterat, gloriosus esse noluit. Rilliet's notion is somewhat peculiar. He supposes that the element of equality to God is His invisibility, which the apostle signalizes as the distinctive characteristic of the Father- cette invisibilité Christ y a renoncé au lieu de la vie ἐνδιάθετος - immanente, il a accepté l'existence προφορικός - manifestée. His interpretation proceeds upon a wrong idea of μορφή , and does not harmonize with the context. For “form” implies of itself visibility or splendour, and this was parted with. Nay more, the Second Person of the Trinity had, as the Angel of the Covenant, been often patent to the senses prior to the incarnation. Stein and De Wette understand the phrase of the divine honour, a meaning which we reject as limited and insufficient. We do not regard the two phrases, “form of God,” and “equal with God,” as identical in meaning, for then there needed no such repetition; though we cannot venture to say, with van Hengel, that in such a case a simple τοῦτο would have been sufficient. Meyer pleads for the sameness of the two statements-at least with this distinction, that the first refers to Christ as to His appearance- Erscheinungs-Form, and the second as to His essence- Wesen. Wiesinger's view is not very different- forma Dei, conditio divina, quum in forma Dei esset, non arripiendum sibi duxit conditione divina uti. Our view is somewhat different from any of these, and still, as we think, more in accordance with the spirit of the context. The apostle affirms that Jesus, in His pre-incarnate state, was “in the form of God;” and adds, that He thought it not a seizure, or a thing to be snatched at, to be on a parity with God, but emptied Himself. Now, it seems to us very plain that the parity referred to is not parity in the abstract, or in anything not found in the paragraph, but parity in possession of this form of God. He was in the form of God, and did not think it a thing to be eagerly laid hold of to be equal with God in having or exhibiting this form. The apostle adds, ἀλλ᾿ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν “but emptied himself,” and the clause is in broad and decided contrast with ἁρπαγμὸν οὐχ ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἶσα τῷ Θεῷ . That is to say, the one clause describes the result of the other. It was because He did not think it a seizure to be equal with God, that He emptied Himself. And of what did He empty Himself, but of this Form? He was not anxious to be ever on a parity with God in possessing it, and therefore He divested Himself of it. He did not look simply to His own things-the glories of the Godhead; but He looked to the things of others, and therefore descended to humanity and death. His heart was not so set upon His glory, that He would not appear at any time without it. There was something which He coveted more-somewhat which He felt to be truly a ἁρπαγμός , and that was the redemption of a fallen world by His self-abasement and death. Or, to speak after the manner of men, two things were present to His mind-either continuance in the form of God, and being always equal with God, but allowing humanity to perish in its guilt; or vailing this form and foregoing this equality for a season, and delivering, by His condescension and agony, the fallen progeny of Adam. He chose the latter, or gave it the preference, and therefore “humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death.” From His possession of this “mind,” and in indescribable generosity He looked at the things of others, and descended with His splendour eclipsed -appeared not as a God in glory, but clothed in flesh; not in royal robes, but in the dress of a village youth; not as Deity in fire, but a man in tears; not in a palace, but in a manger; not with the thunderbolt in His hand, but with the hatchet and hammer of a Galilean mechanic. And in this way He gave the church an example of that self-abnegation and kindness which the apostle has been inculcating, and which the Lord's career is adduced to illustrate and confirm.
The view of Meyer, followed so far by Alford, and which strives to keep that meaning of ἁρπαγμός which its formation indicates, cannot be borne out. He explains it as- ein Verhältniss des Beutemachens -He did not regard equality with God to be such a relation as is implied in the seizure of a prey, or of a possession which belonged to others. Meyer might object to some things in Wiesinger's inferential expansion of his view, but he says, himself, that this clause, corresponding to the previous one “looking not each at his own things”-describes what Christ's own things were-His equality with God. But whom would Christ have robbed, if, instead of emptying Himself, He had retained equality with God? Without unduly pressing Wiesinger's question as to the parties whom such a ἁρπαγμός would have emptied or robbed, could it have taken place, it may be replied that the idea is out of unison with the course of thought, and that the exegesis based upon it omits the turning-point of the illustration-the mind that was in Christ Jesus-and places the idea of “others” in a totally different relationship from that expressed in Philippians 2:5 th.
The exposition of Lünemann and Brückner is also incorrect. They understand in this clause a reference to that κυριότης which God possesses, and which, though Christ was in God's form, He did not wish to possess, save in the way of obedience and death, while He might have chosen otherwise. This notion is founded upon a supposition as inadmissible as that which Turnbull introduces “did not meditate a usurpation to be equal with God;” “that is, did not avail Himself of His original character, and attempt a sole theocracy for His own exaltation.” Really such a supposition borders on profanity -to say of Jesus, that He did not pervert His divinity to accomplish selfish ends in a spirit of rivalry with God. Bretschneider, too, sub voce, gives this explanation-Christ did not deem equality with God a thing to be seized on vi et astutiâ, but desired rather to merit the honour by His obedience unto the death. But the objections to these views is, that parity with God is not something to which Christ has been raised as the reward of His obedience, but something which He originally possessed as one of His own things, which He did not so cherish as to exclude all regard to the things of others. The error of Arius, so sharply rebuked by Chrysostom, led him to explain the clause of Christ as Θεὸς ἐλάττων -a lesser God, who did not aspire to equality with God τῷ μεγάλῳ “with God the Great, who was greater than He.” The Greek father asks, in triumph, “is there then a great and a less God? And do ye introduce the doctrines of the heathens into the church? . . . If He were little, how could He be God? If man is not greater or less, but his nature is one, and if that which is not of this one nature is not man, how can there be a less or a greater God, who is not of that same nature?” Socinian views are lower still. Thus, in the notes to the Improved Version, we are told that “being in the form of God, means being invested with extraordinary divine powers;” and of the second clause it is said “the meaning is, He did not make an ostentatious display of His miraculous powers. Or if it should be translated with the public version, He thought it not robbery to be as God, the sense would be, He did not regard it as an act of injustice to exert upon proper occasions His miraculous powers.” One knows not how to characterize the weakness and perversity of such misinterpretation. Slichting says- Propterea nec ob tantam divinitatem ac dignitatem suam superbiit, nec eam longius ac diutius retinuit quam auctor et dator illius vellet, sed ad ejus nutum ac voluntatem protinus eâ se abdicavit. But every good man is expected to resign a gift, when God pleases; and in this clause, it is Christ's own generosity, not His submission to any divine mandate, which the apostle is commending, and holding up to the imitation of the Philippian church. The contrast is now brought out-
(Philippians 2:7.) ᾿Αλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε . The pronoun is placed emphatically, but the meaning of this clause is of course shaped or modified by the view which expositors have taken of the preceding clauses. The verb κενόω is literally to make empty, or bring about that which κενός represents- exinanivit, as in the Vulgate. It does not vaguely mean, as Grotius and others render, He became poor, or made Himself poor, or He led a poor life- libenter duxit vitam inopem -for the image is not in harmony with the preceding clauses. Those who maintain that Christ is described here only in His historical state, are driven to such an interpretation. Thus, Tittmann and Keil, followed by van Hengel, give it generally- sed semet ipse depressit -a meaning which the word does not bear, and which anticipates the subsequent ἐταπείνωσεν . De Wette refers the phrase not to the first, but the second preceding clause, and understands it as denoting something He might have had, but did not actually possess. But we must not forget, that in his opinion the reference is to the earthly existence of Christ, and that equality with God means divine honour. Müller holds a similar view. When he puts the question, “of what did Jesus despoil Himself?” he replies, “not of the form of God, for He neither did nor could lay aside the divine nature; but He laid aside equality with God.” Now this confusion proceeds from a previous error-a mistaken idea of the meaning of μορφή -for we have shown that this noun does not signify nature, but external and distinctive aspect, or that by which nature displays itself. The same confusion of thought mars the exegesis of Ellicott, and for the same reason, that he blends the idea of the form of God too much with that of the nature of God, which it implies, but from which it is quite distinct. When we put the question, “of what did He empty Himself?” our reply at once is, “of the form of God;” and if it be asked why He did so? the apostle also answers, because He thought it no object of desire, in comparison with man's salvation, to be equal with God, or to be in the possession of this form. When He came to earth, He divested Himself of His glory. There was an occasional gleam, as one may still recognize the sun even when obscured by a cloud. If we go back to the Old Testament, and contemplate the “form of God” as there portrayed, then, keeping still to the sacred imagery employed, we might in all reverence add the following sentences:-Christ came not in that Majesty which He possessed, and by which the old world had been dazzled. No troops of angels girt Him about; nature did not do Him homage as God; the voice of the seven thunders was silent; the “wings of the wind” were collapsed and motionless; and the “coals of fire” were quenched. Darkness was not His pavilion; Lebanon did not tremble, nor was Jordan driven back. The lamps of the sky were not trimmed to honour the night in which this “man-child was born into the world.” It was not Jehovah, “as He bowed the heavens and came down,” but Jesus made of a woman, and cradled in a manger. It was in short a birth, not a theophany. But Jesus was originally in the form of God, and might have appeared in the world with the appalling majesty of Sinai; or as when the psalmist described Him robed in cloud, storm, and fire-mist, and guarded by a thick spray of burning coals; or as when Habakkuk sublimely sings of Him heralded by the pestilence, the everlasting mountains scattered, and the perpetual hills bowing before Him; or as when He appeared transfigured, His face as the sun, and His raiment as the light. Still further, the apostle says of Him-
μορφὴν δούλου λαβών “having taken the form of a servant.” The participle points out the mode in which this self-emptying was accomplished, and the mode indicates also the means. Kühner, § 668. The act expressed by the aorist participle seems coincident in time with that denoted by the verb. Bernhardy, p. 383; Stallbaum, Phaedo, 62, d. When the process of assuming a servant's form was completed, that of self-divestment was completed too. He exchanged the form of God for the form of a servant. The two phrases, μορφὴ Θεοῦ and μορφὴ δούλου , are therefore in pointed contrast. If the “form of God” signify the external aspect or distinctive characteristics of God, “the form of a servant” will signify the external aspect or distinctive characteristics of a servant.
The phrase is not to be taken as expressing either the humility or sorrow of Christ's life, as Piscator, Heinrichs, and Hoelemann emphasize it. The general meaning is-He bore about Him the marks of servitude. The service referred to is service to God; His uniform declaration being -that He came to do His Father's will. But service which was primarily offered to God, was also in itself of benefit to man, intended for him and done for him. Isaiah 52:13; Isaiah 52:15; Matthew 20:28; Luke 22:27; Romans 15:8. The servant of the Father condescended to minister to man; and Jesus, girt with a towel, and laving the water on Peter's feet, is seen truly in “the form of a servant.” Some, however, lay too much stress on His service, as being almost wholly done to men, while Meyer, Wiesinger, van Hengel, Müller, and Baumgarten-Crusius hold to the idea of exclusive divine service. But in obeying God, He laboured for men. He who might have been served upon the throne, stood before it serving. Such is the striking contrast which the apostle brings out. Chrysostom remarks on the use of the two participles- περὶ τῆς θεότητος , ὑπῆρχε , περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος , ἔλαβεν -
ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος “being made in the likeness of men.” Meyer prefers, “having made His appearance” -referring for examples to Mark 1:4, and Memorab. 3.3, 6. This clause points out how the form of a servant was assumed, though there be no connecting particle. Kühner, § 676; Stuart, § 188. Christ became a servant in becoming man. It is pressing the participle too much to give it, with Rilliet, the strict sense of being born- γίνεσθαι , a le sens de naître; nor does it serve any purpose, with the same author and Rheinwald, to resolve the phrase into- ὅμοιος ἀνθρώποις -though abstract nouns with a preposition are frequent in Hellenistic Greek. Meyer would take ἐν in the sense of Angethanseins - that is, to be in, as one is in his clothes, to be clothed in; a mere refinement. ᾿Ανθρώπων is plural, “approaching,” as Robinson says, “to the nature of an adjective,” and signifying men generally. Jesus had the likeness of men, or appeared as men usually appear, was in no way as a man distinguished from men. But the use of such a noun as ὁμοίωμα may imply, as has been often said, that still He was different from other men. He was not identical in all respects with other men. As Meyer says, He was not purus putus homo; or, as Theophylact said before him, He was not ψιλὸς ἄνθρωπος . He was Divinity incarnate-the Word made flesh. The superhuman was personally allied to the human -the higher nature was united to His manhood. Whether the adjuncts of humanity are referred to in the ὁμοίωμα , may be a question. It is probable that all the ills that characterize humanity generally may be included; for that Christ markedly wanted any of its common characteristics, His likeness to man would have been lessened in proportion. His sinlessness, indeed, did not seem to impress his contemporaries, for they called Him wine-bibber, sabbath-breaker, blasphemer, demoniac, and rebel. But he shared in the common lot of men, and never wrought a miracle to exempt Himself from it. When hungry, He would not change the stones into bread; when wearied, He lay down on the well of Jacob; when faint on the cross, He exclaimed, “I thirst.” But the mere phrase will not of itself express that scorn, contempt, ignominy, and sorrow which threw their shadow over the Saviour's historical career. There is, however, something more in the words than van Hengel deduces- Christum quamquam Dei imaginem referret, Deique filius esset, se hominum tamen instar mandatis ejus subjecisse.
The apostle pauses, as if for a moment, in his rapid accumulation. He had described Christ as being in the form of God, as not regarding equality with God as a seizure, and therefore as emptying Himself, having taken upon Him the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men. This is, however, only the first portion of the representation -Christ's assumption of a serving humanity, but the picture is not complete. From heaven to earth He descended by emptying Himself; but after being on earth, He humbled Himself by His obedience to the death. Or He laid aside the form of God, and took that of a servant; but in that servant's form He still abased Himself even to the cross. The transition from the one depth to the yet lower depth is marked by καὶ εὑρεθείς -the subject is taken up at this point-such a resumption imparting freshness and emphasis. To make the next clause the concluding one of the description, while the finishing account would then begin abruptly by the verb ἐταπείνωσεν , is bald and disjointed.
(Philippians 2:8.) Καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος “And having been found in fashion as a man.” Winer, § 31, 6. The noun σχῆμα , from σχεῖν - ἔχειν , denotes the way in which one holds himself. It sometimes signifies dress-so important in one's tout-ensemble -but here it comprehends more, namely, that complex variety of things which, taken together, make up a man's aspect and bearing. The Syriac translator had no equivalent term, and therefore he has introduced the Greek word into his version. It carries neither the notion of dignity nor of its opposite. Nor is it in any case redundant, as some have conjectured. Examples of its use are given by Raphelius and Elsner. Passow, sub voce. But it is not synonymous with the previous μορφή and ὁμοίωμα . Perhaps, as to use, the distinction is, that the first is the more comprehensive; the second is modal; while the third still further illustrates and confirms. The “form of a servant” does not of itself imply humanity, while the “likeness of men” is only fully evinced by the outer manifestations of this σχῆμα . If He have the σχῆμα , you infer the ὁμοίωμα , and both explain the μορφὴ δούλου . Or μορφὴ δούλου is in direct contrast with μορφὴ Θεοῦ ; ὁμοίωμα ἀνθρώπων has in it an oblique reference to ἶσα Θεῷ , while the clause ἐν σχήματι ὡς ἄνθρωπος depicts the Saviour as He was seen to be, when the form of a servant and the likeness of men could be predicated of Him with equal truth. There is no need whatever to take the particle ὡς as representing the Hebrew Caph veritatis, though some of the older commentators do so. It is simply the adverb of manner. The participle εὑρεθείς is not identical with ὤν , as Elsner, Keil, and Rheinwald regard it, for it preserves its own signification. Herodian 2.12; Luke 17:18; Romans 7:10; Galatians 2:17; Philippians 3:9; 1 Peter 2:22. This verb, and the verb of simple existence, differ as fully as the English phrases-to be, and to be found to be. Nor is there any warrant for giving to ἄνθρωπος other than its usual and natural signification. The phrase is neither כְּאָדָם , “as the first man,” with Grotius; nor as a man vile and despised, according to others. Christ was fully ascertained to be a man. All about Him, His form and fashion, proclaimed it. He was seen to possess a man's shape and symmetry, to be endowed with a man's organs, senses, and instincts, to use a man's food and apparel, and to speak, think, act, and walk, like the other partakers of flesh and blood around him. He showed Himself possessed of a true body and a rational soul -that body no phantom or disguise, but an organism like that of all men born of woman, and within it a soul which grew in wisdom as His body grew in stature, being subject to human emotions, and possessed of the usual powers of thought and will. He was “found in fashion as a man” by those who lived with Him, who saw Him in all aspects, and in every variety of attitude and circumstance;-His mother and kinsmen; His fellow-villagers and friends; His disciples and followers; His enemies and executioners.
Another verb is now used by the apostle, which is not to be confounded in meaning or application with the preceding ἐκένωσεν -
ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν “He humbled Himself.” The position of the verb shows that the emphasis is laid upon the action it represents. In the phrase ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσε , the weight, as Meyer remarks, is laid on the reflexive reference of the act, but here on the reflexive act itself. That is to say, in the first case, when the self-emptying is described, the idea of “Self” predominates, for that “Self” possessed God's form and was on a parity with Him; whereas in the latter case, His glory being vailed in human nature, it is the act of humiliation which arrests the attention: His person underwent no further change, but He stooped to extreme obedience and death. We cannot agree in the opinion of Meyer, that the two verbs stand in a climactic relation, nor can we say with Keil that they are synonymous, and surely the paraphrase of van Hengel comes short of the full import- et cum habitu suo deprehenderetur, ut homo quilibet, Dei minister esse, submisse se gessit. Nor can we say, with Wiesinger, that ἐταπείνωσεν denotes the humiliation which ἐκένωσεν already presupposes. We rather regard the words as quite distinct in reference. By the first verb, ἐκένωσεν , is described the process by which He became man, or laid aside God's form and took upon Him a servant's-in other words, the process by which Divinity became incarnate; but in the second, ἐταπείνωσεν , is described a further act, after the incarnation and dwelling on our world had taken place-something which He did after being in man's nature. Κένωσις is predicated of Him as being in the form of God, but ταπείνωσις of Him in the likeness and fashion of man. “He emptied Himself” in becoming man, but as man “He humbled Himself.” The reference in this verb is therefore to something posterior to the action implied in ἐκένωσεν . Nor is there a climax in this interpretation, for the descent from the throne to the manger is infinitely greater than the step from the manger to the cross. The self-emptying might have existed without this humiliation, for there might have been life, humanity, and service without it.
We do not separate γενόμενος ὑπήκοος from the verb ἐταπείνωσεν , the participle expressing the mode in which this self-humiliation was exemplified; but we connect them with the words μέχρι θανάτου , and do not with Bengel and van Hengel join these last terms to the verb ἐταπείνωσεν . The meaning is not, He humbled Himself unto death, but “He humbled Himself having become, or in that He became, obedient unto death.” The preposition μέχρι we regard as one of degree and not of time. 2 Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 12:4. That death is further and sharply pointed out as indeed the death of the cross-
μέχρι θανάτου , θανάτου δὲ σταυροῦ “unto death, the death, ay, of the cross.” The particle δέ , from such a position and use, with a repeated word, makes its clause intensive. Winer, § 53, 7, b; Hartung, 1.168-169. His obedience reached to the point of death, and not only so, but to show its depth and submissiveness, it reached to the most painful and shameful of deaths-the death of the cross. Verily, in doing so, He humbled Himself.
In the term ὑπήκοος is implied some one to whom obedience is rendered, and the obvious meaning is, that such obedience is offered to God, for on this account God highly exalted Him. Grotius, however, represents it thus- non opposuit vim illam divinam his capientibus se, damnantibus, interficientibus. Rosenmüller and Krause agree with him, but the exegesis is wholly unwarranted by the context. Obedience unto death is thus predicated of Christ in His incarnate state-obedience not merely in action, but in suffering. He obeyed as far as it is possible for man to obey-obeyed to the surrender of His life. Death in its most awful form was calmly encountered and willingly endured. And there was no force compelling Him: it was no dark fate or inscrutable destiny which, turn as He might, He could not shun. Nor was it, on the other hand, the sudden outbreak of a wild enthusiasm, or of an irrepressible gallantry, which would not reflect and could not be guided. With all its heroism in meeting the degradation and shock of a public execution, it was yet a calm and collected obedience to a Higher will, under which He had spontaneously placed Himself.
And this death, the death of the cross, was one of special torture and disgrace. Under Roman law, it was inflicted only on slaves and the vilest class of malefactors, and when carried into any of the provinces, its stigma still followed it. Juvenal, 6.184. A death of glory may excite ardour, but death on a gibbet is revolting. Some forms of violent death are sudden and almost painless, but the cross was the means of intense and protracted torture-a thousand deaths in one; and then, to be treated as a felon, to be hanged on a tree by heathen hands and under a sentence of public law,-the shame was worse than the agony. The sun would not gaze upon the scene, and the sky covered itself in sackcloth. Aaron ascended to the summit of Mount Hor, and calmly expired at God's bidding. Moses climbed the hills of Moab, and, descending into some lonely inner valley, put off in the Divine presence his earthly tabernacle. But so far did God's own Son carry His obedience, that He shrank not from scorn and anguish, for He was reviled as a blasphemer and taunted as an impostor and traitor during the trial that led Him to death; ay, and that death was the doom of a felon, and He was stripped and nailed in nakedness to the cross, amidst hooting and execrations, gibes and merriment, as if He had been the veriest wretch and criminal in all Judaea. And this victim of sorrow and persecution, of the fury and sport of men, seized and killed so wantonly and cruelly by them, nay, killed by the cross, as if any other form of death would have been insufficient to mark their sense of His baseness-this man, so hanged upon a tree, was originally in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God.
In this paragraph there are many deep things, and many questions are suggested which we cannot answer. The incarnation is, indeed, a mystery-especially the existence of the two natures in Christ, and their mutual relations and influences. Speculation has always existed on this subject, and the names of Nestorius, Eutyches, Sabellius, Arius, and others, are mingled up from an early period in the controversies. But this passage was especially the theme of keen discussion in Germany in the beginning of the seventeenth century, between the divines of Giessen and Tübingen. The former party, such as Menzer in his Defensio (1621), and Feuerborn in his Sciagraphia (1621), and his Κενωσιγραφία (1627), held that Jesus, during His abode on earth, renounced the possession of the divine attributes; while the latter party, such as Nicolai, and Thummius in his Ταπεινωσιγραφία (1627), maintained, more in accordance with sound exegesis, that Jesus kept the possession of the divine attributes, but without their use-a κτῆσις without a χρῆσις -and that there was only a κρύψις , or concealment of them. The contest involved not a few dialectical subtleties (on the unio hypostatica, and the communicatio idiomatum, etc.), as, for example, with regard to Christ's omnipresence-His immensitas in seipso, and His adessentia, or omnipraesentia operativa. It needs no great dexterity on this mysterious subject, to suggest and press difficulties which seem to imply contradiction, to raise arguments on detached phraseology, and to put questions, the attempt to answer which proves our ignorance of such first principles as are necessary to a full solution. Divinity, in all we are told of it, is so unlike humanity in all we feel of it, that we cannot wonder that the union of these two natures in Christ should present apparent contradictions in development and result. Mystery envelopes us as soon as we think of a human consciousness in personal oneness with a divine essence, for we know not how they coalesce, what reciprocal connection they sustain, or what is the boundary between them. It is easy, and also correct, to employ the ordinary commonplaces, that there is a personal union without mixture or confusion, that the divine is not transmuted into the human, nor the human lifted or expanded into the divine. But the New Testament does not indulge in those distinctions, and He who had these natures premises no such distinction Himself, when in one place He disclaims omniscience, and confesses that He does not know the period of the judgment, and in another gives a promise which implies the possession of omnipresence “Lo, I am with you alway.” So that, on the points involved in this discussion, such acute men as Chemnitz, Hollaz, Gerhard, and Quenstedt, could with no great trouble invest an inimical theory with difficulties beyond solution, thrust an opponent into a dilemma, or put the case against him, so as to fasten the charge of inconsistency upon his argument, and heresy upon his conclusions. Recent reviews of this controversy will be found in Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, vol. ii., Erlangen, 1857; in the second volume of the Entwickelungs-geschichte of Dorner, who does not agree on many points with Thomasius; in Hoffmann's Schriftbeweis, etc.; in the Christologie of Gess and Liebner; in Lechler's das Apostol. und nachapostol. Zeitalter, 1857; in Schmid's Dogmatik der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche, 3rd edit., 1853; in Sartorius; and in Baur's die Christliche Lehre von der Dreieinigkeit und Menschwerdung Gottes, vol. iii. p. 415, etc.
So vivid is the apostle's picture of the mind which was in Christ. So intently did He look at the things of others, so little was He bound up in His own, that He threw a vail of flesh over His glory and descended to earth; and not only so, but when on earth He humbled Himself to yet a lower degree, and suffered the ignominy and death of a public execution. But such self-denial and generosity, involving κένωσις of infinite extent, a subsequent ταπείνωσις of unfathomed depth, with a parallel δουλεία of more than human compass, are not to pass unrewarded. The exaltation is in proportion to the depth of the earlier self-devotion.
(Philippians 2:9.) Διὸ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς αὐτὸν ὑπερύψωσεν “Wherefore, too, God highly exalted Him.” The διό refers to the previous statement-not the obedience in itself, but to that obedience with the previous self-emptying and self-humiliation. On its account, and as a recompense, did God exalt Him. The καί strengthens the inference-connecting it more closely, and by way of contrast, with the premises, while ὁ Θεός occupies an emphatic position. This is the natural connection, and it is not to be explained away as by Calvin, Crocius, Wolf, and others, who render quo facto, or ex quo, as if the formula only indicated the order of events, and not their close and causal connection. It is the doctrine of Scripture that Christ in dying for men, and because He did die for them, has won for Himself eternal renown. Luke 24:26; John 10:17; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 12:2, etc. Verbs compounded with ὑπέρ are favourites with the apostle, and this compound term represents the immeasurable height of His exaltation. We cannot say, with Ellicott, that the meaning of ὑπέρ is purely ethical, for the ethical is figured by a local elevation, which also gives imagery to the following clauses. Psalms 97:9, Psalms 96:10; Daniel 4:34. The phrase is general, though it contains a reference to the previous verbs, ἐκένωσεν and ἐταπείνωσεν . He divested Himself of the Divine form, and came down; but lower and lower still did He descend, till He was put to death along with vulgar criminals, and therefore the exaltation rises in proportion to the previous depth-from the cross up to the crown. It was no common obedience, and therefore it is no common reward. Nothing could be lower than the degradation of the cross, nothing higher than the mediatorial crown. Infinite condescension surely merits highest glory. The compound verb ὑπερύψωσεν compacts into itself the three several terms used in Isaiah 52:13.
The apostle speaks of the God-man, but of Him especially in that nature in which he obeyed to the death. This supreme exaltation implies His resurrection, as proof of the acceptance of His obedience, and His ascension to heaven. The character of His elevation is now stated-
καὶ ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα “and has given Him the name which is above every name.” We prefer τό before ὄνομα on the good authority of A, B, C, 17. Winer, § 20, 4-note. The article specifies the name as something known and honoured. Whether ὄνομα should mean dignity, or have its literal signification, has been disputed. Many assign it the former sense-that of dignity and majesty,-giving emphasis to the word, as when we say in English, He has made himself a name. So the Reformers, Luther, Calvin, and Beza, and among the moderns, Storr, Heinrichs, Hoelemann, Am Ende, Matthies, and Rheinwald. It is, however, more than doubtful whether ὄνομα by itself can bear such a meaning. Such may at times be its sense, but not its undoubted signification. The name itself is still thought of as the centre of the celebrity which it bears. Mark 6:14; John 12:28; Acts 3:16; Romans 1:5. (See van Hengel in loc.) In fact, the word in classic Greek has two opposite senses, evinced by the context. It has on the one hand the accessory idea of renown or honour, and on the other that of pretext and deceit-a name and nothing else. See under Ephesians 1:21.
That name is above every name, and in this lies its glory. There are many high names, but it is higher than all of them. No name is equal to it, all are beneath it, and without exception. What then is this name of lustre? Not the title, Son of God- υἱὸς Θεοῦ -as Theophylact and Pelagius thought; nor as De Wette takes it- Κύριος ; or as van Hengel gives it - nomen domini regni divini; nor is it Θεός , as Aquinas, Estius, Philippi, and Beelen argue; nor yet Χριστός , as Müller contends for. But the context shows that the person who bears this name is Jesus, who for His high function is termed Κύριος . The name referred to, therefore, is Jesus, and the appellation Κύριος , with which every tongue is to greet Him, characterizes that universal presidence with which He is now entrusted. Jesus is Lord. Acts 2:36; Hebrews 1:4. The meaning is, that through His exaltation, He who wears the common name of Jesus, has in it the loftiest of all appellations. Acts 9:5. It commands unlimited homage, and it does so because of the suffering He has endured, and the reward conferred upon Him by the Father, in consequence of His condescension and death. In the verb ἐχαρίσατο is implied the notion of a gift-without denying that it is compensative in nature. Christ won it, and the Father therefore bestowed it-
(Philippians 2:10.) ῞Ινα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι ᾿Ιησοῦ πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων “That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, both of beings heavenly, and earthly, and under the earth.” It is foreign to the entire spirit of the passage to render ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι “in the name,” if it be supposed, with van Hengel and De Wette, that the reference is to mediate homage presented in Christ's name to God. Nor yet does the formula stand for εἰς τὸ ὄνομα , as Storr, Heinrichs, and Keil suppose, and thus mean “in honour of.” The phrase points out the foundation or sphere of the homage, as Meyer remarks. 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17; James 5:14; 1 Peter 4:14. See under Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17. In such passages, at least in the majority of them, the same idea is apparent, modified more or less by the context. “In the name of Jesus” is in recognition of it, or of the authority and majesty of Him who bears it. The dative is usually placed after κάμπτειν , to express the object worshipped, but here no object is expressed, as in 2 Chronicles 29:29, and the inference is, that the object is not Θεῷ , as van Hengel supplies. If beings bow in recognition of the name of Jesus, it is to Jesus Himself as bearing such a name, that they offer homage. Acts 7:59; Acts 9:14; Acts 22:16; Romans 10:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2. According to Pliny's testimony, the early Christians sang hymns Christo quasi Deo. It has been remarked, too, that the angels “in heaven” do not need to bow the knee through a mediator, but they bow to Him as Lord. The church adores Him as its Saviour, and the universe adores Him for having saved His Church. Revelation 5:8-13. The phrase expresses homage to Jesus, universal and direct-
πᾶν γόνυ κάμψῃ - “every knee should bow.” This posture is one of homage. Psalms 95:6; Isaiah 45:23; Acts 21:5; Romans 14:11; Ephesians 3:14. And this profound adoration is not limited in its sphere; it is the homage-
ἐπουρανίων καὶ ἐπιγείων καὶ καταχθονίων “of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.” These words are evidently to be taken not in the neuter, but in the masculine. The first term designates the inhabitants of heaven; but why should Meyer, Ellicott, and Alford confine it to angels, when the New Testament declares that saints are in glory too? The second epithet describes the inhabitants of earth. But who are meant by the καταχθόνιοι , a word which occurs only here? A large number suppose it to mean the dead, as Alford and Ellicott, or the inhabitants of Hades, as Theodoret, Grotius, Meyer, De Wette, Rilliet, Rheinwald, etc. Many, on the other hand, understand the phrase of demons, such as Chrysostom, Theophylact, OEcumenius, with not a few of the scholastic interpreters, and also Wiesinger. The καταχθόνιοι may be taken as the population of Hades, or the Underworld, in which Hades is pictured as being-and that population is twofold, devils and lost souls. That both are there, is the doctrine of Scripture. As to the last, see Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalms 9:17; Proverbs 23:14; Matthew 11:23; Luke 16:23: and as to the former, Luke 8:31; Revelation 20:3; Matthew 25:41. There is no doubt, however, that Hades is sometimes a general term for the spirit - world of the departed, without reference to character. As the result of death, it is personified. 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 20:13-14. At the same time, it is the doctrine of the apostle and of the New Testament, that the souls of the blessed are with Christ in heaven. Perhaps, however, the three terms are not to be too strongly pressed. The apostle, by the use of them, seems to designate all ranks of beings in the universe-that is, every form of rational existence in it. For the apostle dwells on the idea of universality-a name above every name- every knee shall bow- every tongue confess. Isaiah 45:23. The name above every name demands universal submission. No sphere is exempted, no rank of creatures is beyond its jurisdiction, all shall bend the knee; angels, and happy human spirits; all who have lived, or shall live upon earth; the souls of even the finally impenitent; nay, Satan and all his fiends. James 2:19. It is scarcely worth while to refer to some other interpretations, such as the fancy of Lakemacher, who supposes the heathen gods, heavenly, earthly, and subterranean, to be represented by the three terms. That idea is far from the apostle's thoughts. As grotesque is the folly of Stolz, that the term denotes the dead, the living, and the unborn, there being supposed an allusion in the last term to Psalms 139:15; or that of those who suppose that the apostle so designates Christians, Jews, and Gentiles; or that of Teller, who takes the triple classification to be one of rank- homines sortis nobilioris, mediae, et infimae. Estius and Bisping suppose the allusion to be to purgatory. Pudet has nugas.
(Philippians 2:11.) Καὶ πᾶσα γλῶσσα ἐξομολογήσεται ὅτι κύριος ᾿Ιησοῦς Χριστὸς εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ πατρός . The future form of the verb is read in A, C, D, G, H, J, and K, but the common form- ἐξομολογήσηται -is found in B, and is retained by Lachmann, a reading probably from Romans 14:11. The noun - γλῶσσα -is not used in the figurative sense of nation or people- πάντα τὰ ἔθνα -as Theodoret paraphrases it. “Every tongue” corresponds to “every knee;” or, as Wiesinger says, “the tongue confesses that at which the knee bows.” The compound verb adds strength to the idea, for though the Hellenistic usage delights in such verbs, still here the apostle certainly wished to express a plenary confession. See Fritzsche on Matthew 3:6. The meaning of the verb is not to praise, as Rheinwald and van Hengel understand it, adopting a peculiar view of the connection. The confession made is, “that Jesus Christ is Lord”-that He who vailed His glory, assumed human nature, and in it humbled Himself to death, yea, the death of the cross, that He who stooped to the lowest point of ignominy and agony, has been raised to the highest glory, and now is Universal Governor. For meaning and use of κύριος , see under Ephesians 1:2. Compare Ephesians 4:10; 1 Corinthians 15:27, etc. The worship of Jesus is absolute, not relative, as some authors quoted by Ellicott seem to hold. They who believe with Bull, Pearson, Cudworth, and others, that the Son in some sense has His origin from the Father, and yet hold Him to be divine, co-eternal- συναΐδιος -and yet derived, not co-ordinate, but subordinate, may suppose that the worship of the Son is reflected upon the Father. See under Ephesians 1:17. We cannot, however, regard the statement as sound or scriptural - ex Deo Patre ( Filius) traxit originem. But the honour paid to Christ as Mediator redounds to the Father's glory, for the Father set Him apart for the mediatorial work, sustained Him under it, and rewarded Him for it.
What now is the connection of εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ πατρός , “to the glory of God the Father”? Εἰς cannot signify ἐν , as it is rendered by Pelagius and Bengel, who follow the Vulgate rendering, Quia Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris. Their idea is, that the Lord Jesus Christ possesses the glory of the Father, which is not the statement of the apostle. Calvin regards the clause as connected more with ὅτι than introduced by it,-that Jesus Christ is Lord, or that as the glory of God was manifested by Christ to men, so it is reflected in Christ, and the Father is glorified in the Son. The most natural connection is with the verb ἐξομολογήσεται , and the previous clauses also. The acknowledgment of Christ's exaltation tends to or issues in the glory of God the Father. The economical subordination of the Son to the Father is implied, both in the obedience and in the reception of the reward.
The teaching of the apostle on the exaltation of the Saviour is:-
1. That it is the reward of His self-denial and death. “Wherefore- διό -God hath highly exalted Him.” He had come down on an errand of love; the execution of it involved the indescribable suffering and ignominy of the cross; and the Father, when He had served in this awful enterprise, promoted Him to the highest honour as He returned in triumph. Hebrews 2:6; Hebrews 2:9. This honour, therefore, He has earned for Himself, through the divine appreciation of His career. But might not the results of the service in themselves have been sufficient reward? It may be replied, that there are certain functions which Christ's exaltation enabled Him to discharge. The government or headship of the Church is committed to Him, and He is to be final Judge. But apart from these public reasons, which are not prominently before the apostle's mind, Christ's exaltation proved God's hearty concurrence in the self-abnegation and death of His Son. It exhibits in bright relief those elements of character which God delights to honour. It teaches the universe the majesty of grace, and excites the earth to imitate its Lord's magnanimous example, “for he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
2. That His reward is exaltation to universal government. It is the name above every name-every knee bowing to it, and every tongue confessing that He who bears it is Lord or Governor. No name is surrounded with such splendour, or commands such veneration. He has no superior and no rival. No sphere, however high or distant, is exempted from his control: no creature, however mighty and godlike, has a co-ordinate jurisdiction. Verily, it is the name above every name! If honour consist in elevation, what station can be higher than the throne of the universe? If it consist in adoration, what homage can be nobler than that of cherub and seraph, and every order of holy intelligence throughout His vast domains?
3. That such honour is bestowed especially on His humanity. This exaltation of Jesus is no argument, as some would allege, against our exegesis, that the phrase “form of God” refers to Christ's pre-existent state. It has been objected, that this gift on the part of the Father is a gift of something Christ did not possess before, and which He must have possessed, if the “form of God” describes a pre-incarnate condition. The inference does not hold, for it is not of Christ simply as Divine the apostle speaks, but of the God-man, and Him especially as possessing the form of a servant, and assuming the likeness of men. Nor is it a relative exaltation in reference to us, but a positive advancement to honour and glory. This glory and government He who was in the form of God must have possessed, for by the “Word” all things were made, “and by Him all things consist,” but He did not possess them as God-man or the Son of man, in this complex person, till the Father bestowed them. Theodoret says similarly- οὐ τοίνυν ἔλαβεν ἂ μὴ πρότερον εἶχεν ὡς θεὸς , ἀλλ᾿ ἔλαβεν ὡς ἄνθρωπος ἅπερ εἶχεν ὡς θεός . It has again been asked-if Jesus in His pre-incarnate state be thus described, how can additional honour be conferred on God? The course of the apostle's thought is,-that this form of God was laid aside in the days of His humiliation and obedience, and that in His exaltation He has not simply reassumed it, but a higher glory has now been conferred on Him. Not that the infinite lustre of the Godhead can in itself be increased, but a new element is introduced-the human nature of Christ. The nature in which He vailed His glory and stooped to death, ay, such a death, has been elevated; or, in other words, He has added a new glory to His original splendour, the glory acquired as Redeemer in our nature to that originally possessed “with the Father ere the world was.” This is “His own glory”-what He fondly calls “my glory.” John 17:24. There is special reference to the element of humanity, and probably this is suggested by the striking phrase “at the name of JESUS;” Jesus being His human name, the name which He bore as a man; and which, though it had a special significance, as indicated by the angel, yet passed among men as the familiar appellation of the Son of Mary. He that was known as Jesus among men, specifically as Jesus of Nazareth, He it is who in this very nature commands the homage of the universe. The tablet above Him in his agony indicated this as the name of the sufferer. But the brow once crowned with thorns now wears upon it the diadem of universal sovereignty; and that hand once nailed to the cross now holds in it the sceptre of unlimited dominion. The man Jesus is Lord of all-our nature in His person occupies the loftiest position in God's empire.
4. The result is-the divine glory “to the glory of God the Father.” Meyer speaks of a strong monotheism being manifest in this passage “Absolute Godhead can be ascribed only to the Father-only the Father is ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων Θεός .” Still economic subordination, as of the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both, is very different from essential or absolute inferiority. If the Son be not God in the highest sense, would not this universal worship be universal idolatry? and might not the same charge be brought against the homage and minstrelsy described as being offered to the Lamb throughout the Apocalypse? Christ as God has the right to the adoration of the universe, but as God-man He has for His special service received a special investiture. He could not be worshipped at all, if He were not God, and He is now worshipped on this peculiar ground, because He has done and suffered as the apostle tells us. But the prime place is occupied by God the Father, to whom service was rendered by Christ, while the success of such service and its consequent reward by Him are a source of glory to Him. In the honour paid to His exalted Son, His own character is more fully seen and admired.-See under Ephesians 1:14.
Were we to be guided simply by what appears to be the train of thought and counsel, we should say that the apostle now proceeds to apply the lesson. He had begun with the charge “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others;” and in order to confirm the admonition, he had adduced the wondrous example of Jesus, showing how He minded not His own things, but laid aside His glory, and submitted to death, in pursuance of the welfare of others; and how the Father, for this unparalleled generosity, raised Him to the throne of the universe. And now we naturally expect him to bring home the great practical truth to be gathered from such an inspiring statement.
(Philippians 2:12.) ῞Ωστε , ἀγαπητοί μου . The particle ὥστε introduces an inferential lesson. 1Co 3:21 ; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 10:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:18, etc. Followed thus by the imperative, this particle which is so often followed by the infinitive, has the sense of itaque - ὡσ - τε . Tittmann, Philippians 2:6; Winer, § 41, 5, 1; Klotz, Devarius, ii. p. 776. It does not reach back in its sweep to all the preceding statements. We cannot, with Wiesinger, give this as its ground “Christ has attained to His glory only by the path of self-denial,-Wherefore.” We take in the whole picture from the 6th to the 11th verse “wherefore,” or since such were Christ's spirit and career, such His self-denial and reward, since such an example is set before you, you are bound by your very profession to “work out.” If He has set it, shall you hesitate to follow it? Will it not endear itself to your imitation as you look upon it- ἀφορῶντες τὸ παράδειγμα ? The heart of the apostle warms towards them, his soul is bound up in them, and he calls them “my beloved,” adding a prefatory note-
καθὼς πάντοτε ὑπηκούσατε , μὴ ὡς ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ μου μόνον , ἀλλὰ νῦν πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἐν τῇ ἀπουσίᾳ μου - κατεργάζεσθε . The apostle appeals to their uniform obedience rendered in one sense to himself, but primarily to God, having the same object as ὑπήκοος applied to Christ in Philippians 2:8. There should be a comma after ὑπηκούσατε , for the next words belong to the concluding clauses, as the use of μή - νῦν seems to indicate. The construction of the verse is peculiar from its very compactness. Two comparisons are inwoven-my presence, my absence-or “not in my presence only, but much more in my absence;” and “as ye have always obeyed,” “so now carry out your salvation.” The fervid heart of the apostle was not fettered by the minutiae of formal rhetoric; parallel thoughts are intertwined, and ideas that should follow in succession are blended in the familiar haste of epistolary composition. Παρουσία , in contrast with ἀπουσία , is not a future presence, as Wiesinger renders it. 2 Corinthians 10:10. It is, indeed, applied especially to a future advent of Christ, a presence not now, but afterwards, to be enjoyed. The apostle uses in this epistle the words παρουσία πάλιν , Philippians 1:26. The adverb ὡς does not simply denote comparison, but it indicates a supposed or imagined quality which the apostle, indeed, warns against, and will not believe to exist. Romans 9:32; 2 Corinthians 2:17; Galatians 3:16. The claim of the injunction did not cease with his presence. His absence did not make the obligation less imperative, but it demanded more earnestness and vigilance from them in the discharge of the duty. His voice and person were a guide and stimulant, his addresses and conversations reproved their languor, and excited them to assiduous labour, so that His presence among them wrought like a charm. And now that he was not with them, and they were left to themselves, they were so much the more to double their diligence, and work out salvation. This was to be done μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου “with fear and trembling.”- See under Ephesians 6:5, where the phrase has been explained. 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Psalms 2:11. The phrase means something more than Jerome's non cum negligentia. It restricts the feeling described too much to one aspect of it, to suppose it to be awe before an omnipresent God, as do the Greek expositors; or a sense of dependence on God, as does De Wette; or the apprehension that the work is not performed sufficiently, as do Meyer and Wiesinger. In fact, the phrase describes that state of mind which ought ever to characterize believers-distrust of themselves-earnest solicitude in every duty-humble reliance on divine aid, with the abiding consciousness that after all they do come far short of meeting obligation. There does not seem to be any reference, as some suppose, to the spirit of Christ's δουλεία , but there may be a warning against that pride and vainglory already reprobated by the apostle. In this spirit they are enjoined-
τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθε “carry out your own salvation.” The compound verb here expresses the idea of carrying out, or making perfect. Fritzsche on Romans 2:9; also Raphelius, vol. ii. p. 495. This sounder philology opposes the explanation of Chrysostom- οὐκ εἶπεν ἐργάζεσθε , ἀλλὰ κατεργάζεσθε , τουτέστι μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς σπουδῆς , μετὰ πολλῆς τῆς ἐπιμελείας . The verb describes not the spirit in which the work is done, but the aim and issue “carry through;” while the idea of the Greek Father is only inferential. In the translation “work out one another's salvation”-which is that of Pierce, Michaelis, Storr, Flatt, and Matthies, we should at once concur, but for a reason to be immediately stated. The reciprocal meaning given to ἑαυτῶν may be found in Ephesians 4:32; Col 3:16 ; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Peter 4:10. The context, as van Hengel admits, is in favour of the latter translation which we have given. De Wette contends that the reference in the verse is quite general-an idea which the inferential particle ὥστε does not sanction; and he carries the reference back to Philippians 1:27, without any warrant whatever. Rheinwald, Rilliet, and others, uphold the idea that the verse is an inference from the preceding exhibition of Christ's example. We think that this cannot be doubted, so close and inseparable is the connection. But what is that example intended to illustrate? Might we not say the injunction “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” If the career of our Lord be introduced to show us what mind was in Him, surely the lesson deduced will be in unison. If he bid them have the mind of Christ, and then go on to show what it is, surely his inference must be that they should, in their own sphere, exhibit the same mind. Now the great truth which the exhibition of Christ's example illustrates is self-denying generosity-the very charge He has already given them, and the inference is expected to be in harmony with the starting lesson. The command- τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθε -will therefore be synonymous in spirit with the previous one in Philippians 2:4-5. In this way the ὥστε would connect homogeneous ideas. If the words be rendered, “work out your own salvation,” we do not see how it can with the same force be derived as a lesson. The connection brought out by Alford is “considering the immense sacrifice which Christ has made for you, and the lofty eminence to which God has now raised Him, be ye more than ever earnest, that you miss not your own share in such salvation.” But there is no hint of this connection in the preceding verses: for, in referring to Christ, the apostle does not speak of Him as a Saviour, nor yet of the salvation which He has secured. He does not say He died for sin, or died for us. His reference is to the spirit of His death, and not to its character and results. It is true that His exaltation proved His mission divine, and His mediation effectual. But the apostle does not allude to this, nor does he in this paragraph in any way connect the glory of Jesus with a completed redemption. If he had said-He has died and risen again to save you, the connection could easily be-therefore salvation is perfect, and you are summoned either to receive it, or more fully to realize it. But it is simply of the fact that Christ denied Himself to benefit others that the apostle writes, and the Philippians are to do service to others, and thus evince that the same mind is truly in them which was also in Christ Jesus. Nay more, the connection usually brought out seems also to have this peculiarity, that it seems to make the apostle begin the paragraph with one injunction, and end it by enforcing its opposite. He commences formally “Look not every man on his own things;” and he ends by saying virtually “Look every man on his own things-work out your own salvation.” Is he to be understood as either modifying or withdrawing his first injunction, an injunction commended by the example of Christ Jesus.
The only difficulty in the way of this view is philological. The pronoun ἑαυτῶν is used in Philippians 2:4 th, to signify one's own things; and in Philippians 2:21 st it is used with the same meaning, and how should the same word in the intervening Philippians 2:12 th be used with precisely an opposite signification? We feel the difficulty to be insuperable, while the leading of the context is so decided. And perhaps this may be the idea- carry forward your own salvation with fear and trembling, for with such a work in progress, and such emotions within you, you will possess the mind of Christ; for he who thus carries out his own salvation will sympathize with the toils and labours of others, and look not alone at his own things. Their own salvation being secured and carried out, they would not be so selfish as to be wholly occupied with it, so unlike Him who made Himself of no reputation, as to creep up to heaven in selfish solitude. For the law of the kingdom is, that he who stoops the lowest shall rise the highest- Christ the first, and each after Him in order. This loving and lowly spirit God rejoices in-it is the heart of His Son, and the genius of His gospel. How this duty is to be discharged, the apostle does not say, but he adverts to its spirit “in fear and trembling.”
(Philippians 2:13.) ῾Ο Θεὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἐνεργῶν ἐν ὑμῖν καὶ τὸ θέλειν καὶ τὸ ἐνεργεῖν , ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας “For God it is who worketh in you both to will and to work, in consequence of His own good pleasure.” The article of the Received Text before Θεός is omitted in A, B, C, D 1 , F, G, and K. Its absence fixes attention upon Divinity, as in contrast to that humanity in which He wills and works. The γάρ indicates the connection, not by assigning a reason in the strict sense of the term, but by introducing an explanatory statement:- Engage in this duty; the inducement and the ability to engage in it are inducement and ability alike from God. It is too much to infer that the Philippians were despondent, and that this verse is to be regarded as an encouragement. But that they needed excitement to duty is plain, however, from the statement “and how much more in my absence” -though certainly Bengel's filling up is far-fetched- Deus praesens vobis, etiam absente me. It is as if he had said- “Work out with fear and trembling, for God it is that worketh in you. Engage in the duty, for God prompts and enables you; engage in it with fear and trembling-emotions which the nature of the work and such a consciousness of the Divine presence and co-operation ought always to produce.” If the impulse sprang from themselves, and drew around it the ability to obey, there might be “strife and vainglory;” but surely if the motive and the strength came alike from God, then only in reliance on Him, and with special humility and self-subduing timidity, could they proceed, in reference to their own salvation, or in offering one another spiritual service.
The position of Θεός shows the emphasis placed upon it by the apostle. God it is who worketh in you-alluding to the inner operation of Divine grace-for ἐν ὑμῖν is not among you. There is special force in the form ἐστιν ὁ ἐνεργῶν . Winer, § 45, 5, note; Fritzsche, ad Roman. vol. ii. p. 212. And the result is twofold-
καὶ τὸ θέλειν καὶ τὸ ἐνεργεῖν “both to will and to work,” first and naturally volition, and then action. Romans 7:18. The double καί is emphatic. Winer, § 53, 4. The apostle uses ἐνεργεῖν both of cause and effect- ἐνεργῶν - ἐνεργεῖν - whereas the verb denoting the ultimate form of action was κατεργάζεσθε . The difference is very apparent. The latter term, the one employed by the apostle in the exhortation of Philippians 2:12 th, represents the full and final bringing of an enterprise to a successful issue; whereas ἐνεργεῖν describes action rather in reference to vital power or ability, than form or result. The will and the work are alike from God, or from the operation of His grace and Spirit; not the work without the will-an effect without its cause; not the will without the work-an idle and effortless volition.
The concluding words- ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας -have given rise to a good deal of discussion. The phrase has no pronoun, and what then is its reference? The Syriac renders מדֶם דצוֹבֶא אנַתוּן - that which you wish. And so Ambrosiaster, followed partly by Erasmus, Grotius, and Michaelis. But εὐδοκία , as is indicated by the article, belongs here to the subject of the verb. The preposition ὑπέρ is not “according to,” as it is rendered by Luther and Cameron, nor pro, as Beza and Bengel write it. It signifies “on account of.” John 11:4; Acts 5:41; Romans 15:8; Winer, § 47, 1, (3). It is not very different in result from δἰ εὐδοκίαν -1:15-though the mode of representation somewhat varies-the ὑπέρ giving a reason, not in a logical, but rather in an ethical aspect. See under Ephesians 1:5. The noun itself is defined by Suidas- τὸ ἀγαθὸν θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ . Suicer, 1.1241. OEcumenius gives the true meaning in his paraphrase- ὑπὲρ τοῦ πληρωθῆναι εἰς ὑμᾶς τὴν εὐδοκίαν καὶ τὴν βουλὴν αὐτοῦ . It is in consequence of, or to follow out His own good pleasure, that He works in believers both to will and to work. He is not an absolute or necessary, but a voluntary or spontaneous cause. He does it because He freely wills it, or because it seems good to Him. His efficacious grace is at His own sovereign disposal. Conybeare joins ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας to the following verse, but the connection is neither natural nor warranted.
The sentiments of the preceding verses have been adduced as objections both to Pelagianism and Calvinism. Augustine made good use of them in his day, in defence of the doctrine of divine grace, and in overthrow of that meagre system which is based at once on shallow conceptions of man's nature, and superficial expositions of Scripture, and which, in denuding the gospel of its mysteries, robs it of its reality and profound adaptations. In later times, commentators on this passage have attacked with it what is usually called Calvinism. “The Calvinistic writers,” says Bloomfield in his Recensio Synoptica, “are exceedingly embarrassed with it;” and after reprehending Doddridge for a paraphrase of the verses, not a whit worse or weaker than his ordinary dilutions, he adds, “When we see so sensible a writer, and so good a man, acting so disingenuous a part, we cannot but perceive the weakness of the system of doctrines he adopts, which drives him to such unwarrantable measures.” Now, if we understand Calvinism at all, these two verses express very definitely its spirit, belief, and practice. Divested of technical points, it is this-profound and unquestioning trust in God, united to the utmost spiritual activity and necessarily leading to it-acting because acted upon, as the apostle here describes. The terms employed by him exclude a vast amount of questions often raised upon the verses-as the injunction is addressed, not to the unbelieving and unregenerate, but “to saints in Christ Jesus,” to those who not only believed in Christ, but had suffered for Him. The allusion is not to man's laying hold of salvation, or to his first reception of it, and the necessity of gratia praeveniens, and therefore queries as to free-will and grace-their existence or antagonism-are away from the point. The apostle writes to persons who have received salvation, and he bids them carry it out. And who doubts that man's highest energies are called out in the work-that every faculty and feeling is thrown into earnest operation? What self-denial and vigilance-what wrestling with the Angel of the Covenant-what study of the Lord's example-what busy and humble obedience-what struggles with temptation- what putting forth of all that is within us-what fervent improvement of all the means of grace-industry as eager and resolute as if no grace had been promised, but as if all depended on itself! The believer's own conscious and continuous effort in the work of his sanctification, is a very prominent doctrine of Scripture, and the apostle often describes his own unrelaxing diligence. On the other hand, the doctrine of divine influence is caricatured by any such hypothesis as is implied in the phrase- homo convertitur nolens -or, when even under its “Dordracene” representation, it is styled, as by Ellicott, “all but compelling grace.” For in no sense can faith be forced; and the freest act of the human spirit is the surrender of itself under God's grace to Himself. The rational nature is not violated, the mental mechanism is never shattered or dislocated, and the freedom essential to responsibility is not for a moment disturbed or suppressed. Though God work and work effectually in us “to will,” our will is not passively bent and broken, but it wills as God wills it; and though God work and work effectually in us “to do,” our doing is not a course of action to which we are helplessly driven; but we do, because we have resolved so to do, and because both resolve and action are prompted and shaped by His power that worketh in us- agimur ut agamus. This carrying out of our salvation is a willing action; but the will and the acts, though both of man and by him as agent, are not in their origin from him-the vis from which they spring being non nativa sed dativa. Lazarus came forth from the tomb by his own act, but his life had been already restored by Him in whom is life. The Hebrews walked every weary foot of the distance between Egypt and Canaan, yet to God is justly ascribed their exodus from the one country and their possession of the other. As man's activities are prompted and developed by Him who works in us both to will and to do, so is it that so many calls and commands are issued, urging him to be laborious and indefatigable; for still he is dealt with as a creature that acts from motive, is deterred by warning, swayed by argument, and bound to obey divine precept. And what an inducement to work out our salvation-God Himself working in us- volition and action prompted and sustained by Him who “knoweth our frame.” It is wrong to say with Chrysostom “If thou wilt, in that case, He will work in thee to will.” For the existence of such a previous will would imply that God had wrought already. The exposition of Pelagius was, that as there are three things in man, posse, velle, agere, and that as the first is from God, and the other two from ourselves, so the apostle here puts the effect for the cause- Deus operatur velle, id est, posse, quia dat mihi potentiam ut possim velle. Lex et doctrina are with him equivalent to, or are the explanation of, gratia divina. But law and revelation only tell what is to be done, and as Augustine says, qua gratia agitur, non solum ut facienda noverimus, verum etiam ut cognita faciamus.-Opera, vol. x. p. 538, ed. Paris, 1838. The command, “work out your own salvation,” is certainly not in itself opposed to what Ellicott calls the “Dordracene doctrine of irrevocable election;” for the divine purpose does not reduce man to a machine, but works itself out by means in perfect harmony with the freedom and responsibility of his moral nature; so that every action has a motive and character. Were this the place, one might raise other inferential questions-whether this divine operation in the saints can be finally resisted, and whether it may be finally withdrawn? or, in another aspect, whether a man whom God has justified can be at last condemned? or whether the divine life implanted by the Spirit of God may or can die out? But the discussion of such questions belongs not to our province, nor would the mere language of these verses warrant its introduction.
(Philippians 2:14.) Πάντα ποιεῖτε χωρὶς γογγυσμῶν καὶ διαλογισμῶν “do all things without murmurings and doubts.” This counsel is still in unison with the preceding injunctions, and is not to be taken, with Rheinwald, as an isolated or independent statement. The duties inculcated might be discharged in form, yet not in the right spirit. The term πάντα is restricted in its reference by the context. The noun γογγυσμός , which Paul uses only here, and which is an imitative Ionic sound like the English murmur, denotes the expression of dissatisfaction with what is said, done, or ordered, Acts 6:1, Exodus 16:7-8; or in the use of the verb, 1 Corinthians 10:10; Sept. Numbers 11:1, etc. The other noun διαλογισμός passed from its original meaning to signify reasoning or thought, and then descended to denote disputation. Luke 9:46; 1 Timothy 2:8. In Luke 24:38, the reference is to secret doubts; but our Lord read the heart, and but for His presence, the heart would soon have prompted the lips to speak out. The Vulgate translator has rendered the term by haesitationibus. The two nouns are closely connected, and express the same general idea of dissatisfaction and doubt-opposed to the cheerful and prompt discharge of present duty. That the last term refers to such disputes as endanger the peace and unity of the church, is the idea of Chrysostom, but it is not supported by the immediate context, though it might be a result of the conduct condemned; but the notion of Grotius, that the apostle refers to debates with philosophers, is vain. Nor can we agree with Theodoret, that there is reference to persecutions- τοὺς ὑπὲρ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου κινδύνους ; for such adverse dispensations are not glanced at. The apostle is not speaking of murmuring under trial, but in discharge of duty. Meyer contends for Tittmann's distinction between ἄνευ and χωρίς , that the former depicts the absence of the object from the subject; and the latter, the separation of the subject from the object. Tittmann, Syn. p. 94. See under Ephesians 2:12. The apostle Paul never uses ἄνευ , but always χωρίς , while 1 Peter 4:9 has ἄνευ γογγυσμῶν . The distinction is therefore more of an ideal or etymological nature, than one carried out in use and practice. It seems to us too restricted on the part of Meyer and De Wette, to take God as the Being murmured against; or, with Estius and Hoelemann, to make the objects of this murmuring the office-bearers in the church; or, with Calvin and Wiesinger, the members of the church. Alford regards both words as having a human reference, but without satisfactory proof. The feeling of dissatisfaction and hesitation is expressed generally, and its particular causes and objects are not assigned. No matter what may tend to excite it, it must not be indulged; whether the temptation to it be the divine command, the nature of the duty, the self-denial which it involves, or the opposition occasionally encountered. There was neither grudge nor reluctance with Him whose example is described in the preceding verses-no murmur at the depth of His condescension, or doubt as to the amount or severity of the sufferings which for others He so willingly endured. The purpose of the injunction is then stated-
(Philippians 2:15.) ῞Ινα γένησθε ἄμεμπτοι καὶ ἀκέραιοι “That ye may be blameless and pure.” This reading of the verb has considerable authority, but so has ἦτε , which is adopted by Lachmann. The ordinary reading may, perhaps, be preferred. The two adjectives express the same idea in different aspects, the first meaning that to which no blame is attached, and the latter that of which moral simplicity can be asserted. There is, therefore, a climax in the statement-not simply blameless, or escaping censure, but possessing that spiritual integrity which secures blamelessness. Matthew 10:16; Romans 16:19. Or, as Meyer suggests, the two adjectives correspond to the two previous nouns. If they did all things without murmurings, they should “be blameless;” if without doubts, they should be “sincere.” None should censure them, if they were cheerful in duty; and none could censure them, if this inner integrity characterized them. The conjunction ἵνα brings out this clause as the end or object. If they did all these things without murmurings and doubts, what surer proof of having reached the possession of the same mind which was also in Christ Jesus? Nay, more, they should be-
τέκνα Θεοῦ ἀμώμητα “children of God, blameless.” For ἀμώμητα , which has good authority, A, B, C read ἄμωμα , the more common form in the New Testament, the previous word occurring only twice. They were already the children of God, but they were to be blameless children of God. How far ἄμεμπτοι , in the previous clause, differs from ἀμώμητα in the present clause, it is difficult to say. Perhaps the last is really a stronger term than the first. If the first mean unblamed, or without moral defect, the second may rise to the higher meaning of without cause of blame, without ground of moral challenge-children breathing the spirit, possessing the image, and exhibiting the purity of their Father-God. And the blamelessness of their character would be the more apparent from the contrast-
μέσον γενεᾶς σκολιᾶς καὶ διεστραμμένης “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” The adverbial form μέσον has preponderant authority over the common reading ἐν μέσῳ -the former having in its favour A, B, C, D 1 , F, G. The term is used adverbially. Winer, § 54, 6, note; Numbers 35:5. The clause is virtually quoted from Deuteronomy 32:5 - τέκνα μωμητὰ , γενεὰ σκολιὰ καὶ διεστραμμένη .
The noun γενεά is generation-the men living at that period. Matthew 11:16; Matthew 17:17; Acts 2:40. The first epithet, σκολιά , meaning bent or crooked, has a similar tropical signification, Acts 2:40; 1 Peter 2:18; and the second term, διεστραμμένη , signifies physically and ethically what is twisted or distorted. Matthew 17:17; Luke 9:41; Acts 20:30. The two adjectives have the same general meaning, the one referring to the inner disposition, and the other to its outer manifestation; and both pointing out, not so much the dulness of disobedience, as its caprices; not so much its fatal stupidity, as its wayward and eccentric courses. What the apostle describes is not spiritual torpor, but spiritual obliquity; his mental reference being to those examples of periodical insanity for which Israel of old was proverbial, and by which Moses had been so surprised and grieved. Sin brought chastening, and though penitence followed punishment, it was soon succeeded by another wanton outbreak. It was sunshine to-day, but shadow to-morrow-a song on the bank of the Red Sea-and then, after a few weeks' advance, the blasphemous howl “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt.” They were always overmastered by the idea of the moment, the passion of the hour -sinning and suffering, fretting and praying, mere children without firmness of temper or stability of resolve. Their character was uniform only in its variableness and perversity -tears for their chains the one month; tears for the fleshpots the next. A character not identical certainly, but similar in some respects, the apostle ascribes to the Philippian population of that day, not as sunk into sullen unbelief, but moved by tortuous impulses to reject what they could not disprove, and persecute what they could not but admit was innocent in its civil aspect, and pure and benignant in its spiritual results. Nothing would please them; give them one argument, and they cry for another. Tell them of the simplicity of the gospel, and they pray you to dilate on its mysteries; speak of its power, and they bid you dwell on its charity. Both Jew and Pagan at Philippi may have shown such a spirit to the church. The impeachment is not only open wickedness, as Grotius gives it, but also a want of candour and sincerity; public avowals at variance with secret convictions; objections made on mere pretence, the ostensible motive not the true one; one purpose secretly crossed or overlaid by another; their conduct a riddle, and their life a lie. Our Lord depicted a similar feature of his own age. Matthew 11:16, etc. In the midst of such society, the Philippian believers were to do all things with cheerfulness and promptitude, so as to approve themselves the sons of God by their spiritual integrity and purity, for it was true of them-
ἐν οἷς φαίνεσθε ὡς φωστῆρες ἐν κόσμῳ “among whom ye appear as luminaries in the world.” The verb is taken as an imperative by not a few, such as Cyprian, who renders lucete, and by Theophylact, Erasmus, Calvin, Storr, Rheinwald, and Baumgarten-Crusius. The indicative is preferable, as the clause describes an existing or actual condition, and so it is understood by most modern expositors. The plural οἷς represents the individuals comprised in the γενεά , a frequent form of construction according to the sense. Matthew 13:54; Luke 10:7; Act 8:5 ; 2 Corinthians 2:13; Winer, 58, § 4, ( b). Wiesinger and Meyer remark that the verb φαίνεσθε is improperly rendered “ye shine,” though the lexicographers appear to give it that signification. It has this meaning in the active, and is so employed. John 1:5; Joh 5:35 ; 2 Peter 1:19; but in the passive it signifies “to appear.” Still, when coupled with such a word as φωστῆρες , it may be rendered shine, without any impropriety-for to appear as luminaries, is simply to shine. In the term φωστῆρες the allusion is to the heavenly bodies; not to light-houses certainly, as Barnes supposes; nor yet to torches, as is imagined by Beza and Cornelius a-Lapide. The concluding words ἐν κόσμῳ do not belong to the verb, which has already ἐν οἷς before it, but to φωστῆρες . Κόσμος wants the article (Winer, § 19), and it serves no purpose in figures of this popular nature to assign this noun an ethical sense, as Ellicott does. It is strange that Rheinwald, preceded by Drusius, should take κόσμος to mean the firmament. Hoelemann, Rilliet, and van Hengel supply a verb φαίνονται -among whom “as stars shine in the world ye shine”-but this is not necessary. The figure is, simply, that the sons of God are in the world what the heavenly luminaries are to it. The world is the sphere in which they revolve and shine. The point of comparison is obvious. It is not first nor simply eminence in virtue, nor conspicuous position, nor elevation above worldly pursuits and likings, but the diffusion of light. Matthew 5:14-16. They did not only enjoy the light, but they reflected it. They appeared as luminaries in the world, and its only spiritual light came from them. There was deep gloom around them, but they tended to disperse it. What in fact has not the world learned from the church? The apostle now describes the mode of illumination-
(Philippians 2:16.) Λόγον ζωῆς ἐπέχοντες “Holding forth the word of life.” We look on this clause as descriptive or illustrative of the one before it. Robinson and Baumgarten-Crusius connect it with the epithets ἄμεμπτοι καὶ ἀκέραιοι , a hypothesis which sadly dislocates the paragraph, and is not in harmony with the figure. By λόγον ζωῆς we understand the gospel; or, as Theodoret explains it- τὸ κήρυγμα ἐπειδὴ τὴν αἰώνιον προξενεῖ ζωήν . It is the “word of life”-life being the grand blessing which it reveals-while it proclaims its origin, how it has been secured, and by what means it is applied, what is its present nature, and what shall be its ultimate and glorious destiny. Romans 1:16; John 6:63; Acts 5:20. To understand Christ Himself by the phrase, as did some of the older expositors, is unwarranted. Nor can we, with others, such as Am Ende, give the genitive a subjective sense, and render the “living word;” or, with Beza and others, the vivifying word- vivificum ab effectu.
The participle ἐπέχοντες has been variously understood. 1. The Syriac translator interprets, but does not render, when he gives the clause - דִיאתַיבוּן להוּן בדוּבַתחָיֶא , “to be to them for a place of salvation.” He is followed by Michaelis, Zachariae, Flatt, and Storr, who gives it- et vitae loco esse. The view, however, cannot be maintained by any strong arguments.
2. The literal meaning of the verb is “to have on;” and so Meyer takes it in the simple sense of “possessing,” a meaning it has in the classical writers. Yet in the passages adduced by him from Herodotus and Thucydides, the word signifies to occupy or govern a district. Meyer's idea is, however, good in itself, for had they not possessed the word of life, the essence of which is light, they should be as dark as the world round about them.
3. Others give the participle the sense of “holding fast”- the word of life. Hesychius defines it by κρατοῦντες , and Suidas by φυλάσσοντες . This view is held by Luther, Bengel, Hoelemann, Heinrichs, De Wette, Robinson, Bretschneider, and Wahl. The verb does not seem to have such a meaning anywhere in the New Testament, certainly not in Acts 19:22. This idea is illustrated by Chrysostom “What means,” he asks, “holding fast- ἐπέχοντες -the word of life? Being destined to live, being of the saved.” And he asks again “What means the word of life? Having the seed of life -that is, having pledges of life, holding fast- κατέχοντες - life itself.”
4. We agree with those who understand the word as meaning “holding up or forth.” Of this opinion, generally, are van Hengel, Erasmus, Grotius, Rheinwald, and Matthies. Meyer allows that such a meaning does belong to the verb, but objects that it does not harmonize with the figure which represents the subjects themselves as luminaries. Now it may be replied, that this clause describes the mode in which believers are luminaries. They appear as lights in the world -as, or when, or because they are holding forth the word of life. Possessing the word of life they shine, says Meyer; holding up the word of life they are luminaries, is our idea of the image. The possession of the gospel is in itself a source of individual enlightenment, but the exhibition of that gospel throws its light on others.
There is abundant evidence that this is a common meaning of the verb, and such a meaning harmonizes with the context. Numerous examples are given by Passow and the other lexicographers- Iliad 9.485, etc., Obadiah 1:16; Obadiah 1:16.444-where the verb occurs with οἷνον , as in other places with μαζόν , etc. The gospel or word of life was held forth, and its holders were light-givers in the world. As they made known its doctrines, and impressed men with a sense of its importance, as their actions, in their purity and harmony, exhibited its life and power, did they hold it forth. From them the world learned its true interest and destiny, its connection with God and eternity; they were its only instructors in the highest of the sciences. As Balduin quaintly but truly remarks, Christ is φῶς , and they are φωστῆρες .
Thrice out of the five times in which ἐπέχειν occurs in the New Testament, it signifies to “mark, or give or take heed to.” Theodoret gives it the same meaning here, though the construction would require a dative- τῷ λόγῳ προσέχοντες τῆς ζωῆς -
εἰς καύχημα ἐμοὶ εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ “for rejoicing to me against the day of Christ.” Καύχημα is matter of rejoicing. See under c. Philippians 1:26. The first preposition denotes result, 2 Corinthians 1:14; and the second points to the period for which this result is, as it were, laid up. For the meaning of ἡμέρα Χ . see under Philippians 1:6. The apostle indicates the joy which obedience to his counsels would finally create-a proof, too, that his labours had not been ineffectual-
ὅτι οὐκ εἰς κενὸν ἔδραμον οὐδὲ εἰς κενὸν ἐκοπίασα “that I did not run in vain, nor labour in vain.” The expression is somewhat proverbial-to run in vain was to lose the prize. Compare 1 Corinthians 9:26; Galatians 2:2; Galatians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Timothy 4:7; Josephus, Antiq. 19.1, 4. The aorists are used to mark the time, as from the standpoint of the day of Christ. The double form of expression-the one a pointed trope, the other more general-and the repetition of εἰς κενόν , mark the intensity of the sentiment. The phrase εἰς κενόν (Diodorus Sic. 19.9), equivalent in result to μάτην and εἰκῆ and corresponding to the Hebrew לְרִיק , resembles similar expressions, as εἰς καλόν . Krüger, § 68, 21, 11; 2 Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:5. The second verb is as expressive as the first. If the image of the race-course suggest previous training (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Corinthians 9:27) and violent exertion, the putting forth of the utmost power in direction of the goal and the garland -the second verb has in it the broader notion of continuous and earnest effort; for the apostle was ἐν κόποις , 2 Corinthians 6:5 -nay, ἐν κόποις περισσοτέρως , 2 Corinthians 11:23. It is very tame, on the part of Wetstein, to explain the figure of running by this matter of fact- longum iter Hierosolymis per totam Macedoniam.
The apostle looks forward to the period when all secrets shall be unfolded, when the results of pastoral labour shall be fully disclosed, and he anticipates that when, in the light of eternity, he should behold the result of his apostolic efforts, his bosom should be filled with joy. What purer joy can be imagined than this-what joy nearer in fulness and loftiness to His, who, on the same day, “shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied”? And what, in a word, does the apostle regard as the consummation of his labours, or when, in the history of a church, does he reckon that his ministerial services have fully succeeded? The preceding verses afford an answer; for it is only when a church feels and acts as the apostle has counselled, that he sees in its experience and destiny the crown and reward of his sufferings and toils. Its prosperity is neither in its number nor its wealth, but in its spiritual progress-in its purity and enlightening power-in short, in its possession and exhibition of the “mind which was also in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 2:17.) ᾿Αλλ᾿ εἰ καὶ σπένδομαι ἐπὶ τῇ θυσίᾳ καὶ λειτουργία τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν “But if even I am being poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith.” ᾿Αλλά is not quin, as Beza translates it, and he is generally followed by Am Ende and others, who find no contrast. De Wette connects it with Philippians 1:25, which is too remote for such a purpose, as is also Philippians 1:21, the reference of Storr. Hoelemann supposes the contrast to be with εἰς καύχημα - Quid, O Paule, recordaris τοῦ καυχήματος , quum undique stipent et urgeant, quae tristissima praesagiant? But such an association had no place in the fearless and elevated heart of the apostle. Rilliet supposes the reference to be to an unexpressed thought “I have not laboured in vain” “ non,” pense-t-il en lui-même je n'ai pas travaillé en vain, mais au contraire. The antithesis in ἀλλά is to the general thought implied in the previous verse. Not that, as Alford, following Schrader and van Hengel, says, he tacitly assumes he should live till the day of Christ. He would have cause of joy laid up for the day of Christ, if he saw the Philippians acting as he had enjoined them; on the other hand, should he be cut off, that joy would not be frustrated.
The phrase εἰ καί “if even,” supposes a case which has some probability of occurrence, not a case put for argument or illustration-a form indicated by the reverse position of the particles καὶ εἰ . Klotz, Devarius, ii. p. 519. If even I am being poured out, as I feel that I am- εἰ καὶ -; and if I am poured out, should it really come to this, as it may- καὶ εἰ .
The next clause is a vivid sacerdotal image. The reference in σπένδομαι is to the libation poured upon the sacrifice, or at least round the altar, and is to be understood of his own death, Numbers 15:5; Numbers 28:7. Hesychius and Suidas explain it by θύομαι -an explanation right as to general sense, but not correct as to special meaning or form of representation. The preponderant use of θυσία in the New Testament, is the thing sacrificed, but it is not, as Ellicott affirms, its uniform meaning. It denotes the sacrifice, not simply the process as a rite, but the victim offered in the performance of that rite-a devoted thing or animal in its ritual presentation to God. The noun λειτουργία is the priestly ministration, as in Luke 1:23; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:21 -ministration which the apostle supposes himself to conduct, and not their ministration in promoting Christianity, as Wahl makes it. ( Sub voce θυσία .) The genitive πίστεως is that of object, and is related to both the nouns with a common article. Their faith was the matter of the sacrifice, that which the priestly ministration handled. The apostle's image is that of an altar, on which their faith is laid by him as priest, while his own blood is being poured out as the usual drink-offering or libation. It is an error, both in philology and imagery, on the part of Rilliet, to render- Je suis aspergè, ou j'ai reçu l'aspersion, as if the allusion were to a victim on which a libation had been poured so as to consecrate it for the altar- κατασπένδω being in that case the appropriate term, and it is the term occurring in the majority of the quotations in Wetstein, who adopts the same view. It is no less wrong to suppose the Philippians to be as priests offering their own faith to God-connecting ὑμῶν exclusively with λειτουργία , than to regard the Philippians themselves as constituting the θυσία , for the image is different here from Romans 15:16. We need scarcely mention the opinion that the money gift of the Philippians is referred to, or quote the view of Rettig, that Christ is the θυσία , thus separating it from πίστεως , and the λειτουργία this pecuniary present. We take ἐπί in its ordinary acceptation, “upon,” not as meaning während “during,” with Meyer, nor with Ellicott as signifying “in addition to,” or “in,” denoting merely a concomitant act. Ellicott's objection to the rendering “upon,” is, that the libation among the Jews was poured not on the altar, but around it. But it is needless to suppose, that in using such a figure the apostle was bound to keep by the strict letter of the Hebrew rubric, for the very supposition of a drink-offering of human blood was of all things most opposed to it; and he here speaks of his own violent death, or, as Theophylact strips the figure- εἰ καὶ τελευτῶ . As their faith is laid by himself upon the altar, and he engaged in the act of presenting it, his own blood is poured out upon it, and serves as a libation to it,-the blood of the officiating priest, suddenly slain, would naturally be sprinkled over the sacrifice which he was offering to God. The apostle's death, as a martyr, was felt by him to be a very likely event; and while that death would be a judicial murder, it would yet be an offering poured out on the faith of his Philippian converts. But the prospect of such a death did not fill him with gloomy associations, for he adds in a very different spirit-
χαίρω καὶ συγχαίρω πᾶσιν ὑμῖν “I rejoice and give joy to you all.” That the compound verb may bear this sense in the active voice, is plain from many examples. Passow sub voce. The Vulgate has congratulor. In the New Testament, when persons are the objects, it seems to bear the same meaning. Luke 1:58 -Elizabeth's neighbours and relatives heard of the birth of her son- καὶ συνέχαιρον αὐτῇ -and they rejoiced with her, or gave her their congratulations. Luke 15:6; Luke 15:9 -on the part of the shepherd who has found his wandered sheep, and on the part of the housewife who has recovered her lost piece of silver, the cordial call to friends and kinsfolk is- συγχάρητέ μοι -rejoice with me, that is, be partakers of my joy, or wish me joy. See also Sept., Gen 21:6 ; Malachi 1:8; Malachi 1:8. The ground of this joy and congratulation is not, however, marked by the previous ἐπί . Such appears to be the view of Chrysostom; but ἐπί is especially connected with σπένδομαι , and in Paul's style usually follows χαίρω when connected with it. 1 Corinthians 13:6; 1 Corinthians 16:17. The cause of the joy is what is told in the entire verse. His martyrdom, viewed in the light in which he presents it, was anticipated with joy and congratulations. The reference in Philippians 1:20 is explanatory to some extent, but cannot be taken, with De Wette, as either a full or an apposite illustration. The apostle is not content with what he has said, but he invites a perfect reciprocity of feeling:-
(Philippians 2:18.) Τὸ δ᾿ αὐτὸ καὶ ὑμεῖς χαίρετε , καὶ συγχαίρετέ μοι “Yea, for the very same reason, do ye also joy and offer joy to me.” The pronominal formula or accusative of reference- τὸ δ᾿ αὐτό -is governed by χαίρετε . Matthew 27:44; Winer, § 32, 4; Kühner, § 553, Anmerk 1. The alternative of his martyrdom was not to dispirit them; they were to rejoice and to congratulate him-so nearly were they concerned in it; their faith being the sacrifice in the offering of which the apostle is engaged, when his blood, like a drink-offering, is poured out as an accompaniment.
(Philippians 2:19.) ᾿Ελπίζω δὲ ἐν Κυρίῳ ᾿Ιησοῦ , Τιμόθεον ταχέως πέμψαι ὑμῖν “But I hope in the Lord Jesus, shortly, to send Timothy to you.” Though the apostle has expressed himself with this ardour, still he feels that the prospect of martyrdom is not sure beyond doubt. It was a possibility, a probability even, but his mind at once turns from it to immediate business-the mission of Timothy, and his own projected journey to Philippi. The particle δέ indicates transition to an opposite train of thought; and the phrase ἐν Κυρίῳ ᾿Ιησοῦ gives the sphere of his hope, while ἐπί with the dative would have marked its foundation. He expected to send Timothy, and that expectation was based upon Christ; that He would prepare the way, and so order events that Timothy's mission might come to pass. Only if Christ so willed it could it happen, and he felt and hoped that his intention to send Timothy, after a brief interval, was in accordance with the mind of Christ. A fuller form of expression occurs in 1 Corinthians 16:7 “I hope to tarry awhile with you”- ἐὰν ὁ Κύριος ἐπιτρέπῃ , “if the Lord permit.” The dative ὑμῖν is not the same in reference as πρὸς ὑμᾶς in 5:25, as if intimating the direction or end of his journey, but it rather points out the persons with whom he should find himself, or who should receive him as the apostle's representative. John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Kühner, § 571. And the purpose of the mission is thus briefly expressed-
ἵνα κἀγὼ εὐψυχῶ , γνοὺς τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν “that I also may be of good spirit, when I have known your affairs.” The καί means “I, as well as you”-you will be of good heart when you know my affairs, and I, too, shall be of good heart when I know yours- τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν . Ephesians 6:22. The verb εὐψυχέω is found only here in the New Testament; but εὐψυχία , εὐψυχής , εὔψυχος , and εὐψύχως are used by the classics in both prose and poetry. 2Ma 14:18 ; Proverbs 30:31; 1Ma 9:14 ; Josephus, Antiq. 2.6. The imperative of the verb is found also on monuments, recording the farewell of survivors. (Passow sub voce.) The expression implies that the apostle was solicitous about them, as various hints and counsels in this epistle already intimate; but he hoped to receive such accounts through Timothy as should dispel all his anxieties and apprehensions. And he assigns, for his choice of Timothy as his messenger, a reason which could not but commend him to the Philippian church as he discharged his embassy among them.
(Philippians 2:20.) Οὐδένα γὰρ ἔχω ἰσόψυχον , ὅστις γνησίως τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν μεριμνήσει “For I have no one like-minded, who will really care for your affairs.” The adjective ἰσόψυχον , which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, though found in the Septuagint (Ps. 54:13), states a resemblance, not between Timothy and others, as Beza, Calvin, and Rilliet suppose, but between Timothy and the apostle himself as the subject of the sentence. The use of ὅστις is somewhat different from its meaning in some previous verses, and signifies “as being of a class.” Krüger, § 51, 8. The adverb γνησίως qualifies the verb, or describes the genuineness of that solicitude which Timothy would feel for the Philippian converts. The verb, as usual with Paul, governs the accusative, though it has the dative-Matthew 6:25 -and is also followed by περί “to care about,” and ὑπέρ “to care for.” Timothy is of such a nature, has a soul so like my own, that when he comes among you, he will manifest- μεριμνήσει -a true regard for your best interests. What higher eulogy could the apostle have pronounced upon him? And he was shut up to the selection of Timothy-
(Philippians 2:21.) Οἱ πάντες γὰρ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ζητοῦσιν , οὐ τὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ “For the whole seek their own things, not the things of Jesus Christ.” The οἱ πάντες , specifying the entire number, corresponds to the οὐδένα of the previous verse. (For similar use of the article and pronoun, compare Acts 19:7; Act 27:37 ; 1 Corinthians 9:22; Bernhardy, p. 320; Middleton on Greek Article, p. 104, note by the Editor.) All, with the exception of Timothy, seek their own things. This is a sweeping censure, and therefore many, such as Hammond, Estius, Rheinwald, and Flatt, seek to modify it in number, by rendering οἱ πάντες , “the majority;” while others, as Erasmus, Calvin, and Hoelemann, seek to modify it in severity, by inserting a comparison-all seek their own more than the things of Jesus Christ. But while these modifications are inadmissible, it must at the same time be borne in mind, that the apostle's words should be limited to such persons as were with him, and, farther, to those who might be supposed to be eligible for such an enterprise; so that probably the brethren mentioned in Philippians 1:15 are to be excluded from the estimate. It is impossible for us now to ascertain on whom the apostle's censures light, though Demas may be a representative of the class. 2 Timothy 4:10. In the last chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, some persons are noticed, but Wiesinger remarks, after stating that Luke was probably not at Rome, “the apostle's words do not apply to any of those of his fellow-labourers, in reference to whom they would have excited our surprise.” Ewald is inclined to regard them as persons from Philippi, or well acquainted with its affairs, but hostile to the apostle. The persons so referred to had not that like-souledness with the apostle which he ascribes to Timothy; did not love Christ's cause above everything; were not so absorbed in it as to allow nothing, neither ease nor safety, home nor kindred, to bar them from advancing it. On the other hand, the eulogy pronounced on Timothy is based upon acknowledged evidence-
(Philippians 2:22.) Τὴν δὲ δοκιμὴν αὐτοῦ γινώσκετε “But ye know his tried character.” Δέ introduces the contrast between him and those just referred to. The noun δοκιμή signifies trial- experimentum -and then the thing tried. Romans 5:4; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 9:13. The process of proof they had possessed already -Acts 16:0 -and therefore γινώσκετε is indicative, not imperative. They were no strangers to his excellence-it had been tested during previous visits. And the apostle briefly and tenderly sketches it-
ὅτι , ὡς πατρὶ τέκνον , σὺν ἐμοὶ ἐδούλευσεν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον “that as a child a father, he served with me for the gospel.” Some supply σύν before πατρί , and render with our version- “as a son with a father.” But this supplement mars the beauty of the eulogy; nor is it in strict accordance with grammatical usage. A preposition, inserted in the first of a series of clauses, may be omitted in the subsequent ones; but the reverse rarely, if ever, happens. Bernhardy, p. 204; Kühner, § 625. And the apostle designedly varies the aspect of the relation. The expected construction would be “as a child serves a father, so he served me for the gospel;” but it is changed into “served with me.” Winer, § 63, II.1. As a child serves a father is an expressive image, denoting loving, devoted, and confidential service. But the apostle felt that in missionary labour it was not he who directly received the service from Timothy, and he therefore changed the relation into σὺν ἐμοί -still bringing out the idea that Timothy's service, though directed to a common object with his own, was yet subordinate to his, was filial, ardent, and unwearied. Timothy is thus represented not as serving Paul, though Paul seems to have prescribed his labours and travels, but as serving with him-both being common servants of the same Master. But in this service Timothy was directed and governed by his spiritual father, with whom he was so like-minded. The phrase εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον is “for the gospel,” as in Philippians 1:5, not “in it.”
(Philippians 2:23.) Τοῦτον μὲν οὖν ἐλπίζω πέμψαι “Him, then, I hope to send immediately”- ἐξαυτῆς . Τοῦτον is placed emphatically - μέν corresponding to δέ of the following verse, and οὖν taking up again and repeating, after the break, what has been said in Philippians 2:19. ᾿Εξαυτῆς , Mark 6:25; Acts 10:33.
ὡς ἂν ἀφίδω τὰ περὶ ἐμέ “whenever I shall have seen how it will go with me.” The form ἀφίδω is supposed to have arisen from the pronunciation of the word with the digamma (Winer, § 5, 1), and is found in A, B 1 , D 1 , F, G; Jonah 4:5. The ἀπό seems to be local, as in many other verbs compounded with it- prospicere. The verb, used only here, is followed by the simple accusative, but sometimes by εἰς and πρός . Herod. 4.22; Joseph. Antiq. 2.6, 1; 4Ma 17:23 . See under Philippians 1:20. The phrase τὰ περὶ ἐμέ “the things about me”-may have in it the idea of development. The idiom ὡς ἄν marks the writer's uncertainty as to the time when the events which are the subject of ἀφίδω shall take place. Chrysostom's paraphrase is ὅταν ἴδω ἐν τίνι ἕστηκα καὶ ποῖον ἕξει τέλος τὰ κατ᾿ ἐμέ . The apostle, as long as his fate was undetermined, wished to keep Timothy with him. When there might be a decision he could not tell, only he hoped it would be soon; and as soon as he could ascertain the issue, he would at once despatch Timothy to Philippi. But he has, at the same time, a persuasion that he will speedily visit them himself.
(Philippians 2:24.) Πέποιθα δὲ ἐν Κυρίῳ , ὅτι καὶ αὐτὸς ταχέως ἐλεύσομαι “But I trust in the Lord, that I myself also shall shortly come.” The δέ corresponds to the μέν of the previous verse, and ἐν Κυρίῳ marks the sphere or nature of his trust, Philippians 2:19. Not only did he hope to send Timothy soon, but he cherishes the prospect of a speedy visit in person also- καὶ αὐτός . The relative period of his own visit is specified by ταχέως , as that of Timothy's mission has been by ἐξαυτῆς . Meyer and Ellicott suppose that ταχέως refers to a later period than ἐξαυτῆς -that Paul hoped to send Timothy soon, and come himself shortly after; but both expressions date from the writing of the epistle, and they are to be taken in a popular sense. A and C, with some versions and Fathers, add πρὸς ὑμᾶς . The expression πέποιθα is stronger than the previous ἐλπίζω . See under Philippians 1:25.
(Philippians 2:25.) ᾿Αναγκαῖον δὲ ἡγησάμην , ᾿Επαφρόδιτον - πέμψαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς “Yet I judged it necessary to send Epaphroditus to you.” The δέ is so far in contrast with the preceding statement, that he hoped to send Timothy, and trusted also to come himself; but in the meantime he judged it necessary to send Epaphroditus. The necessity, however, did not arise out of the mere probability or the possible delay of his own and Timothy's visit, but it is stated at length in the subsequent verses. The prospect of a speedy visit from himself and Timothy did not supersede the mission of Epaphroditus, for there were other reasons for it. He might have gone in Paul's company, but he is to precede him. The verb ἡγησάμην is in what is called the epistolary aorist, the time being taken from the ideal period of the reception of the letter, so that ἡγέομαι to the writer passes into ἡγησάμην to the readers. Winer, 40, 5, b 2. Of Epaphroditus nothing farther is known. Everything is against the supposition of Grotius and Schrader that he is the same as the Epaphras mentioned in the Epistle to the Colossians 1:7; Colossians 4:12; and in Philemon 1:23. The name was a common one. Wetstein has given several examples of it from Suetonius, Josephus, and Arrian. Epaphras might be a contracted form of Epaphroditus, and Epaphras was also about this time in Rome. But who could suppose that the Asiatic Epaphras, a pastor at Colosse and a native of it, could be Epaphroditus, a messenger delegated to Paul, with a special gift from the distant European church of Philippi, and by him sent back to it with this lofty eulogy, and as having a special interest in its affairs and members? Other traditions are still more baseless, -that he had been one of the seventy disciples, a bishop, or one of those commissioned to ordain bishops or proselytes, -the freedman or secretary of Nero, to whom Josephus dedicated his two books against Apion. Epaphroditus is then heartily commended, and the apostle first characterizes him through his relation to himself,-
τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην μου “my brother, and fellow-labourer, and fellow-soldier.” The epithets rise in intensity,-first a Christian brother-then a colleague in toil-and then a companion in scenes of danger and conflict. Philemon 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:3. Not simply a brother, but an industrious one-not industrious only in times of peace, but one who had met the adversary in defence of the gospel. And this was not all, he sustained at the same time a peculiar relation to the Philippian church,-
ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον καὶ λειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου “but your deputy and minister to my need.” In the collocation- μου , ὑμῶν δέ -there is a marked antithetical connection-the pronoun ὑμῶν defining both the nouns after it which want the article. ᾿Απόστολος is used in its original, and not in its ecclesiastical sense as a delegate or one who did Paul's work among them, 2 Corinthians 8:23 -far less in its emphatic sense of apostle, or special founder of a church, or bishop of this church, as Beelen and Whitby assume. He had been sent by the Philippian church with a gift to Paul, so that he became the minister of his need- ὡς τὰ παῤ ὑμῶν ἀποσταλέντα κομίσαντα χρήματα , as it is explained by Theodoret. The noun λειτουργός has the general sense of minister, in connection with the discharge of a religious duty. The apostle's “need” was simply his want of such things as their gift could supply. The apostle says merely “send,” not send back; perhaps, as Bengel conjectures, nam ideo ad Paulum venerat, ut cum eo maneret. One special reason why the apostle wished to send Epaphroditus is next given:-
(Philippians 2:26.) ᾿Επειδὴ ἐπιποθῶν ἦν πάντας ὑμᾶς “Forasmuch as he was longing after you all.” The conjunction ἐπειδή - “since now”-assigns the reason why the apostle thought it necessary to send back Epaphroditus. Klotz, Devarius, ii. p. 548. Not only is the epistolary imperfect ἦν employed, but it is here used with the present participle, to denote the continuance of the longing. Winer, § 45, 5. Epaphroditus had not forgotten them, his longing was great towards them - ἐπί . See under Philippians 1:8, page 17.
καὶ ἀδημονῶν , διότι ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἠσθένησε “and was in heaviness, because ye heard that he was sick.” The infinitive ἀδημονεῖν describes our Lord's agony in Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33. Its derivation is uncertain. How did the intelligence conveyed to them that he was sick cause Epaphroditus to long for them? Was it to remove their anxiety and sorrow, or did he apprehend some disastrous consequences as the result of the rumour? Or would some parties between whom he had mediated in the church take advantage of it, and fall again into animosity?
(Philippians 2:27.) Καὶ γὰρ ἠσθένησε παραπλήσιον θανάτῳ “For he really was sick, nigh unto death.” It was a true report about his sickness which they had heard, and the apostle earnestly corroborates it- καὶ γάρ is a strong affirmation. Hartung, 1.132, 138. And his sickness had been all but mortal- παραπλήσιον is, as Ellicott says, “the adverbial neuter followed by the dative of similarity.” Bernhardy, p. 96; Krüger, § 48, 13, 8. Many examples might be cited. The idiom is no technical figure of speech, nor do we need to supply ἀφίκετο . As little ground is there for Bengel's saying that the apostle did not wish to alarm them about Epaphroditus. His malady had indeed brought him to the gates of death, but he had been mercifully spared-
ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Θεὸς αὐτὸν ἠλέησεν· οὐκ αὐτὸν δὲ μόνον , ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐμέ , ἵνα μὴ λύπην ἐπὶ λύπην σχῶ “but God had mercy on him, and not on him alone, but on me also, that I should not have sorrow upon sorrow.” The apostle refers his recovery to God's great mercy, which does not seem, however, to have wrought by miracle, but, as one may naturally imagine, in answer to the apostle's fervent intercession. The reading ἐπὶ λύπην , in preference to the more common and classical construction with the dative, is well sustained. “The subjunctive σχῶ ,” as Ellicott says, “is used after the preterite, to mark the abiding character his sorrow would have assumed.” Winer, § 41, 1, a, ( β ). The apostle felt one sorrow, but the death of Epaphroditus would have been an additional sorrow. The sorrow which he already possessed, and of such an addition to which he was afraid, was not, as Chrysostom and others assumed, the sickness of Epaphroditus; for, even after his convalescence, he speaks of himself as only lightened in sorrow, but not entirely freed from it. A sorrow would still remain after Epaphroditus had departed, as is intimated in the next verse, the sorrow produced by his present situation-his captivity and all its embarrassments. This statement is in no way inconsistent with what he had written Philippians 1:20, etc., for his condition is there looked at from a very different point of view.
(Philippians 2:28.) Σπουδαιοτέρως οὖν ἔπεμψα αὐτόν “The more speedily therefore have I sent him,” or in English idiom, as he carried the letter, “I send.” The force of the comparative σπουδαιοτέρως is obvious. Winer, § 35, 4. He would have detained him longer, if they had not received that intelligence of his sickness which greatly grieved Epaphroditus. It is not as Bengel put it- citius quam Timotheum -
ἵνα ἰδόντες αὐτὸν πάλιν χαρῆτε κἀγὼ ἀλυπότερος ὦ - “in order that having seen him ye may again rejoice, and I too be less sorrowful.” Beza, Grotius, De Wette, with Knapp and other editors, join πάλιν to ἰδόντες -a connection which at first sight seems very natural. The Philippians would rejoice when they saw again their Epaphroditus. But the usage of the apostle is against this exposition, for he commonly places πάλιν before the verb with which it is connected. Examples of this usage are numerous. Romans 11:23; Romans 15:10; Romans 15:12; 1Co 7:5 ; 2 Corinthians 1:16; 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2Co 5:12 ; 2 Corinthians 11:16; 2 Corinthians 12:19; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 1:9; Galatians 1:17; Galatians 2:1; Galatians 2:18; Galatians 4:19; Galatians 5:1; Philippians 4:4; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 4:7; Hebrews 5:12; Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 6:6. There are, however, some exceptions, such as 2 Corinthians 10:7, where the emphatic position of τοῦτο throws πάλιν behind the verb; Galatians 4:9, where the form of the question produces the same result; and Galatians 5:3, where the first reason may be again assigned. See Gersdorf's Beiträge, p. 490. The meaning will be-that as they had been depressed when they heard of the alarming illness of Epaphroditus, so when they should see him they should rejoice “again,” or as heretofore, in his presence and labours; and while they rejoiced, he himself should be less sorrowful - ἀλυπότερος (a word used only here); not without sorrow absolutely, for he had it through his imprisonment, but a weight would be taken off his mind, and in proportion as they rejoiced would his grief be lessened through his oneness of heart with them. The sorrow which should thus be mitigated is not cogitatio anxietatis vestroe, as van Hengel misunderstands it, for the apostle ascribes this feeling to Epaphroditus, not to himself.
(Philippians 2:29.) Προσδέχεσθε οὖν αὐτὸν ἐν Κυρίῳ μετὰ πάσης χαρᾶς “Receive him, therefore, in the Lord with all joy.” The οὖν refers to the statement of the apostle's purpose in the previous verse. Such a reception has its element ἐν Κυρίῳ -a reception, therefore, Christian in its fervour and object. It was no cold welcome the apostle enjoined or anticipated, but one μετὰ πάσης χαρᾶς “with all joy,” and no wonder that it should be so-
καὶ τοὺς τοιούτους ἐντίμους ἔχετε “and hold such in honour,” that is, such as Epaphroditus. The more usual classic form of expression is, ἐντίμας ἔχειν . Ast, Lexicon Platon. sub voce. The class of men οἱ τοιοῦτοι , of whom Epaphroditus is a noted example, deserve the esteem and gratitude of the church for their self-denying and disinterested labours. And the apostle assigns a special reason in his case-
(Philippians 2:30.) ῞Οτι διὰ τὸ ἔργον τοῦ Χριστοῦ μέχρι θανάτου ἤγγισε “Because that for the work of Christ he came near even to death.” On the solitary authority of C, Tischendorf omits τοῦ Χ ., while B, F, G omit the article, and A has Κυρίου . The peculiar phrase- μέχρι θανάτου ἤγγισε -repeats more graphically what he had already said in Philippians 2:27. Μέχρι is not unlike ἕως in Psalms 107:18 - ἤγγισαν ἕως τῶν πυλῶν τοῦ θανάτου . Similar idioms are found in the Septuagint, though not so distinctive as the one before us. The verb is sometimes followed by the simple dative, as Psalms 88:3 - ἡ ζωή μου τῷ ἅδῃ ἤγγισε -and sometimes by εἰς with the accusative, as Job 33:22 - ἤγγισε δὲ εἰς θάνατον ἡ ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ . May there not be a tacit reference in μέχρι θανάτου here to the same expression in Philippians 2:8? as if to show that the mind which was in Christ was in Epaphroditus, and was shown in his self-denial and suffering “for the work of Christ”-
διὰ τὸ ἔργον τοῦ Χριστοῦ . The cause is placed emphatically. The work of Christ, as is explained in the next clause, is not preaching, as Storr, van Hengel, Matthies, and Rilliet contend for. It is service done to the apostle, and through him to Christ. So much was he identified with Christ, that service rendered to him, being directly instrumental in promoting Christ's cause, might be styled the work of Christ. How he came so nigh to death, the apostle describes by the striking words-
παραβολευσάμενος τῇ ψυχῇ “having hazarded his life.” The reading is disputed; many preferring παραβουλευσάμενος , which signifies, as in our version “not regarding his life.” This last reading is retained by Tischendorf in his second edition, being found in C, J, K, and in the Greek Fathers. The majority of editors and more modern expositors prefer the first form, which has the authority of A, B, D, E, F, G. Both words occur nowhere else in classic Greek authors, though the second be often used by the Greek commentators. The Versions are undecided. The Vetus Itala has parabolatus est de anima sua; the Vulgate, tradens animam suam; the Syriac version renders by בָסָר - spernens; and the Gothic has ufarmunnonds saivalai seinai, “forgetting his own life.” The verb is formed from παράβολος “risking, venturesome”-and like many verbs in ευω , which combine the force of the adjective and auxiliary verb, is equivalent in meaning to παράβολον εἶναι , just as ἐπισκοπεύειν is ἐπίσκοπον εἶναι . Winer, § 16, 1, note. Examples will be found as in Lobeck on Phrynichus, p. 67, and in the third of his Parerga, p. 591. Wilke, Lexicon Append. p. 552. In result, the word is not different from the better known παραβάλλεσθαι , as in Diodorus Siculus, 3:36- ἔκριναν παραβάλλεσθαι ταῖς ψυχαῖς ; or in Polybius, 1.37, or 3.90- μήτε παραβάλλεσθαι μήτε διακινδυνεύειν . The example adduced by Phrynichus is- παραβάλλομαι τῇ ἐμαυτοῦ κεφαλῇ “I risk my head.” The verb is here used with the dative of reference, as is also παραβάλλεσθαι , in the example cited from Diodorus Siculus. Polybius, 2.26. The apostle testifies of Epaphroditus, that he risked or ventured his life; the participle thus giving the reason why he was nigh unto death- ἐπέῤῥιψεν ἑαυτὸν τῷ θανάτῳ , as Theophylact renders it. And the reason why he had so exposed himself was-
ἵνα ἀναπληρώσῃ τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα τῆς πρός με λειτουργίας “that he might supply your deficiency in your service to me.” The conjunction indicates purpose, and the compound verb - ἀναπληρώσῃ -is to fill up; the ἀνα having the notion of “up to” an ideal measure. 1 Corinthians 16:17. Or, as Erasmus explains it - accessione implere, quod plenitudini perfectoe deerat. The noun ὑστέρημα has two genitives; that of subject - ὑμῶν , as in 2 Corinthians 8:14; 2 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 11:9; and that of reference- λειτουργίας ; the first genitive pointing out those of whom the want is predicated; and the second showing in what the want consisted. Kühner, § 542, 3; Winer, § 30, 3, Anmerk 3. The ὑμῶν is not to be joined with λειτουργίας , as is done by Beza and van Hengel, who renders- ut suppleret defectum ministerii a vobis mihi facti. The noun λειτουργία is used not in the general sense of service, but signifies the special religious services in the money-gift which Epaphroditus had brought from them. He has called him that brought it λειτουργός , 5:25, and he calls itself “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable,” Philippians 4:8. They did this service for the apostle- πρός με ; but there was a lack on their part which Epaphroditus supplied. The lack was not in the gift itself, but in the ministration of it. They were absent, and could not minister to the apostle; but Epaphroditus, by his kind and assiduous attentions, fully made up what was necessarily wanting on their part. The meaning, therefore, is not that assigned by Hoelemann- defectus cui subvenistis rerum necessariarum; nor is it with Chrysostom, “He alone did, what you all were bound to do.” Homberg's view is as unfounded- ut impleret defectum in ministerio meo. The λειτουργία did not lack anything in itself, but the Philippians lacked something on their part in connection with it-they did not personally tender it. How Epaphroditus had endangered his life by a sickness nigh unto death, on account of the work of Christ, we know not. There is no proof that he was exposed to persecution, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, and a-Lapide suppose. Nor is there any proof that his evangelical labours had exhausted his physical strength. The probability is, either that his attendance on the apostle in Rome had exposed him in some way or other to a dangerous malady, or that, in his extreme haste to convey the Philippian gift and tender personal service to the prisoner, he had brought on an alarming sickness during his journey. This concluding statement is a pathetic and powerful appeal, and enforces the injunction “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness.” There is no reproof in the words, as Chrysostom wrongly supposes, nor any censure on them, as if they had left one to do the work which was obligatory on them all. The tendency and purpose are the very opposite. It is- Epaphroditus has not only discharged his trust, and is deserving of thanks, but he has also ministered unto me, and done what you could not, though you would; nay, in this personal service he risked his very life, and therefore he is entitled to a joyous welcome, and a high place in your affectionate esteem.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Eadie, John. "Commentary on Philippians 2". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25