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(Philippians 3:1.) Τὸ λοιπόν “Finally.” The reader is furnished in the Introduction with some notice of the disputes about the connection of these two following chapters with the previous two; disputes originating in the use of τὸ λοιπόν , when so much literary matter comes after it-indeed, about one half of the epistle. Suffice it now to say, that the use of the phrase implies that the primary object of the writer has been gained; that what especially prompted him to compose the epistle has already found a place in it, and that what follows is more or less supplementary in its nature. 2 Corinthians 13:11; Eph 6:10 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. The phrase marks transition, but toward that which is to form the conclusion. It is therefore wrong on the part of Elsner and others to regard it as a formula of mere transition; nor does it, as Schinz would suppose, simply indicate the turning from the special to the general. Van Hengel, following the interpretation of τὸ λοιπόν given by Elsner, Matthies, and Bertholdt -which assigns it the meaning of “in addition to,” or simply “in continuation”-agrees also with Schinz, that the apostle could not here contemplate a conclusion, because he has not as yet expressed his thanks to the Philippian church. But might not the apostle intend to place this thanksgiving in this very conclusion? And who will say that a mere expression of thanks was so important as to be set in the principal portion of the letter? It is argued, too, that the use of τὸ λοιπόν shows that the apostle intended to conclude here, though he was unconsciously carried farther; but surely the writer knew well what were still to be the contents of his letter, though he regarded them in such a light, or in such a supplementary connection with the preceding portion, that he designedly prefaced them by τὸ λοιπόν .
As to the connection, Chrysostom, with OEcumenius, Theophylact, Michaelis, Estius, and a-Lapide, deduce it from the previous paragraph. Sources of sorrow are mentioned there, but in God's good providence they have ceased to exist. Chrysostom paraphrases “You no longer have cause for despondency-you have Epaphroditus, for whose sake you were sorry-you have Timothy, and myself am coming to you -the gospel is gaining ground. What henceforth is wanting to you? rejoice!” But such a connection is not apparent, and, indeed, τὸ λοιπόν breaks up the immediate connection, and the apostle at once passes away from the subject which he had just handled-from the personalities which he had just been detailing. Besides, the addition of ἐν Κυρίῳ shows that the joy is not of such a nature as to be simply prompted by the circumstances to which the writer had been adverting in the conclusion of the second chapter. But while we object to such a connection as that proposed by Chrysostom, we do not think that there is any break produced by some interruption, or indicating any lapse of time, as not a few are inclined to suppose. Nor can the notion of Heinrichs be adopted, that χαίρετε signifies leben wohl -farewell.
The apostle addresses the Philippian converts, “as my brethren”- ἀδελφοί μου . See our comment on Colossians 1:1. There was no official hauteur with him, no such assumption of superiority as would place him in a higher or more select brotherhood than that which belonged to all the churches.
The injunction is, “rejoice in the Lord”- χαίρετε ἐν Κυρίῳ . The modifying phrase ἐν Κυρίῳ does not mean, “on account of Christ,” or as becomes Christians, but it defines the sphere and character of the joy. Rom 14:17 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 1:11. The Christian religion is no morose system, stifling every spring of cheerfulness in the heart, or converting its waters into those of Marah. It lifts the spirit out of the thrall and misery of sin, and elevates it to the enjoyment of the divine favour, and the possession of the divine image; nay, there is a luxury in that sorrow which weeps tears of genuine contrition. Therefore, to mope and mourn, to put on sackcloth and cleave to the dust, is not the part of those who are in the Lord, the exalted Saviour, who guarantees them “pleasures for evermore.” Such joy is not more remote from a gloomy and morbid melancholy, on the one hand, than it is, on the other hand, from the delirious ecstasies of fanaticism, or the inner trances and raptures of mystic Quietism. Chrysostom remarks that this joy is not κατὰ τὸν κόσμον “according to the world,” and his idea, according to his view of the connection, is, that these tribulations or sorrows referred to, being according to Christ, bring joy. This last opinion, however, is not from the context, though certainly the first remark is correct, for the joy of the world is often as transient as the crackling of thorns under a pot; and it often resembles the cup which, as it sparkles, tempts to the final exhaustion of its bitter dregs. The express definition or limitation in ἐν Κυρίῳ may be meant to show, that beyond the Lord this joy is weakened, or has no place; and that, if the Lord alone is to be rejoiced in, the Lord alone must be trusted in. The sentiment thus warned and fortified them against the Judaizers, whose opinions, in proportion as they tended to lead away from the Lord, must have retarded all joy in Him; while, if the Philippian believers continued to rejoice in the Lord, that emotion, from its source and nature, guarded them against such delusions. The next clause has seemed to many to be an abrupt transition-
τὰ αὐτὰ γράφειν ὑμῖν , ἐμοὶ μὲν οὐκ ὀκνηρὸν , ὑμῖν δὲ ἀσφαλές “to write to you the same things, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.” The theories to which the phrase τὰ αὐτὰ γράφειν have given rise, have been examined in the Introduction. It is difficult to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. To suppose the meaning to be “to write the same things which I have already spoken to you,” is a gratuitous conjecture, and places an unwarranted emphasis on γράφειν ; but it is the view of Erasmus, Pelagius, Calvin, Beza, Estius, Rheinwald, and Schrader. Nor can we, with Heinrichs and Wieseler, frame the contrast thus “to write the same things as I have previously given in charge to Epaphroditus,” or say with Macknight “to write the same things to you as to other churches.” Or is the meaning this “the same things which I have already mentioned in this epistle,” or “the same things which I have written in a previous letter”? The former view is held by Bengel, Michaelis, Matthiae, van Hengel, Rilliet, and Wiesinger; and the latter by Hunnius, Flatt, Meyer, and others. See Introduction. The reference in the first hypothesis is supposed to be to the expression of joy in the first or second chapter, repeated in the commencing clause of the verse before us. Some, as van Hengel and Wiesinger, refer to Philippians 2:18; but it is a serious objection that the rejoicing enjoined in Philippians 2:18 is not specially rejoicing in the Lord, but rejoicing with the apostle in the idea of his martyrdom. Wiesinger contends that the joy in both places is the same. But the joy in every previous reference is special and limited. The “joy of faith” referred to is somewhat similar; but it is not writing “the same things” to them to bid them “rejoice in the Lord.” Some refer “the same things” to the caution given in the following verse, as if it were repeated from Philippians 1:27-28; but we cannot perceive the resemblance. As De Wette remarks, the occurrence of the word ἀσφαλές leads to the conclusion that what the apostle repeats has reference to dangers threatening the Philippian church-such dangers, in all likelihood, as are presupposed in the following admonitions. This statement is fatal to the notion of Alford, espoused also by Ellicott, and already glanced at, that the reference in τὰ αὐτά is to χαίρετε . The use of the plural pronoun in reference to a single injunction would indeed be no objection against their view. Jelf, § 383. We admit, too, that spiritual joy would be a main safeguard against Judaistic error. But the abruptness of the sentiment, the precise epithets “irksome” to him, “safe” to them-and the passing on, without further remark or connecting link, to forms of dangerous teaching, lead us to suppose that more is meant by the apostle than the mere repetition of sentiments previously and vaguely expressed. The passages quoted by Ellicott as implied in τὰ αὐτά , such as Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:18, Philippians 4:10, are of a different nature altogether, for they speak of the apostle's own joy, and it would be no repetition of a phraseology descriptive of his personal feeling to call on them to rejoice. We are therefore brought to the conclusion, that the apostle refers to some previous letter to the Philippians. They had sent once and again to him, and he may have written once and again to them, and given them such counsels and warnings as he here proceeds to repeat. See Introduction. And this is the view of Meyer, Beelen, and Bisping.
The adjective ὀκνηρός signifies “tedious.” To repeat the same truth is to me no task of irksome monotony. Yet Baur finds in this incidental expression a proof of the writer's poverty of mind and ideas. The apostle only repeats what was profitable to them, for the purpose of more deeply impressing it, and the epithet implies that, in other circumstances, such a repetition might have been a weary and ungrateful task.
The adjective ἀσφαλές signifies safe-safe in consequence of being confirmed. Josephus, Antiq. 3.2, 1; Proverbs 3:18. Luther renders und macht euch desto gewisser, much as the Syriac renders מֶתֻל דָלבוּןמאהֵרון . Hilary has necessarium, but it is wrong from this to conjecture the reading to have been ἀναγκές , or paraphrase, with Erasmus quod, non vitari potest.
(Philippians 3:2.) Βλέπετε τοὺς κύνας “Look to the dogs,” so as to be warned against them. The article points them out as a well-known class. The verb is here followed by a simple accusative, and not by ἀπό with the genitive, and has therefore its original signification only rendered more emphatic. Observe them so as to understand them, the inference being that when they are understood, they will be shunned. Winer, § 32, 1, b, ( γ ). So the Vulgate has observate. This hard expression, κύνας , must be judged of by Eastern usage and associations. In very early times the name was applied as an epithet of reproach. In Homer the term is not of so deep a stain, especially as given to women; yet it resembled, in fact, the coarse appellative employed among the outcasts of society. Iris calls Athena, and Hera calls Artemis, by the term κύων ; nay, Helen names herself one. Il. 8.423, 21.481. In the Odyssey, too, the female servants of Ulysses receive the same epithet. Odyss. 18.338, 19:91, 154. In countries to the east of Greece, the term was one of extreme contempt, and that seemingly from the earliest times. The dogs there were wild and masterless animals, prowling in the evening, feeding on garbage, and devouring unburied corpses, as savage generally as they were greedy. Isaiah 56:11. The fidelity of the dog is recognised in the Odyssey, 17.291, and by AEschylus, Agam. 607. But rapacity and filth (2 Peter 2:22) are the scriptural associations. Psalms 59:6; Psa 59:14 ; 1 Kings 14:11; 1 Kings 16:4; 1 Kings 21:19 -compared with 1 Samuel 17:43; 2 Kings 8:13. In Hebrew ֶכּלֶב , H3978 was the epithet of the vilest and foulest sinners. Deuteronomy 23:19 (18); Revelation 22:15. The term was therefore a strong expression of contempt, and was given by the Jews to the heathen, Matthew 15:26, as it is by Mohammedans to a Christian at the present day, when, without often meaning a serious insult, they are in the habit of calling him Giaour. We must suppose the apostle to use the word in its general acceptation, and as indicative of impurity and profanity. To indicate more minute points of comparison, such as those of shamelessness, selfishness, savageness, or malevolence, is merely fanciful. The view of van Hengel is peculiarly far-fetched-apostates from Christianity to Judaism-the dog returning to his vomit. 2 Peter 2:22.
Who then are the persons on whom the apostle casts this opprobrious epithet? The general and correct opinion is that they were Judaizers, or, as Chrysostom styles them, “base and contemptible Jews, greedy of filthy lucre and fond of power, who, desiring to draw away numbers of believers, preached at the same time both Christianity and Judaism, corrupting the gospel- ἐκήρυττον καὶ τὸν Χριστιανισμὸν καὶ τὸν ᾿Ιουδαϊσμὸν , παραφθείροντες τὸ εὐαγγέλιον .” One is apt to infer that the apostle here gives them the name which they themselves flung about so mercilessly against the heathen. As in the last clause he nicknames their boasted circumcision, so here he calls them by a designation which in their contemptuous pride they were wont to lavish on others. They were dogs in relation to the purity and privileges of the Church, “without” which they were.
βλέπετε τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτας “look to the evil-workers.” The verb is repeated for the sake of emphasis, and not because a second class of persons is pointed out to their wary inspection. The substantive, applied literally in many places of the New Testament to labourers in the fields and vineyards, is transferred to workers in the church, or with a general signification. Luke 13:27; 2Ti 2:15 ; 2 Corinthians 11:13, where it has the epithet δόλιοι attached to it. The adjective κακούς describes their character as base and malicious. If they were “dogs,” they must work according to their nature. They were not, as Baldwin weakens the force of the epithet, simpliciter errantes, but they were set on evil; theirs was no inoperative speculation; they were not mere opinionists, but restless agitators; they were not dreamy theorists, but busy workers-earnest and indefatigable in the support and propagation of their errors.
βλέπετε τὴν κατατομήν “look to the concision.” In the contemptuous and alliterative term, the abstract is used for the concrete, as is the case with περιτομή in the following verse. The term occurs only here, and the apostle, in his indignation, characterizes the class of Judaizers by it. Not that he could speak so satirically of circumcision as a divine institute, but of it only when, as a mere manual mutilation, apart from its spiritual significance, it was insisted on as the only means of admission to the church-as a rite never to be discontinued, but one that was obligatory as well on the Gentile races as on the descendants of Abraham. The term justly designates the men whose creed was, “Except ye be circumcised and keep the whole law of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” Viewed in this light, and as enforced for this end, it was only a cutting, and so the apostle calls those who made so much of it “the slashers.” Chrysostom well says of them, that so far from performing a religious rite, οὐδὲν ἄλλο ποιοῦσιν ἢ τὴν σάρκα κατατέμνουσιν “they merely cut their flesh.” See our comment on Colossians 2:11, where the apostle says that Christians have a spiritual circumcision “the offputting not of the foreskin, but of the body of the flesh.” Such seems to be the natural meaning of the phrase, as understood in the light of the succeeding context. This play upon words is frequent with the apostle, Winer, § 68, 2; though some instances of so-called paronomasia cannot be at all sustained.
Other ideas have, however, been found in the apostle's expression. Theodoret originated one of these theories, when he says of the Judaists- τὴν γὰρ περιτομὴν κηρύττοντες , καὶ τέμνειν πειρῶντες τῆς ἐκκλησίας τὸ σῶμα , and he is virtually followed by Calvin and Beza, Grotius and Hammond, Elsner and Zachariae, and in the English versions of Tyndale and Cranmer. A similar idea was entertained by Luther, as if the sense or implication were the excision of the heart from faith or from the church. Such a thought does not seem to be in the apostle's mind, that it is not in contrast with περιτομή , which besides has a passive, and not an active signification. Beza, again, seems to find an allusion to Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5, to the Hebrew term ֶשׂרֶט , H8582, referring to marks or cuttings made in honour of idol-gods. 1 Kings 18:28. Storr and Flatt follow this view, as if the apostle meant to say, that such a circumcision as they insisted on and gloried in was on a level with an idolatrous incision. The theory has scarcely the credit of ingenuity. A more extraordinary view still is broached in one of the Ignatian epistles- partum virginis circumcidentes-hominem a Deo dividentes. Heumann supposes the reference to be to the speedy abscission or destruction of Judea.
The repetition of the verb proves the anxiety and stern ardour of the apostle. Winer, § 65, 5. “For you it is safe,” and their safety lay to some extent in being formally and emphatically warned. Like three peals of a trumpet giving a certain blast, do the three clauses sound with the thrice-repeated verb- βλέπετε . That the same classes of persons are referred to, we have no doubt. Van Hengel supposes that three distinct kinds of errorists are pointed out;-first, apostates who have relapsed to Judaism; secondly, actual corrupters of the gospel; and thirdly, men so reliant on circumcision as to despise Christ. This interpretation is more than the words will bear, and there is no conjunction or particle employed so as to indicate different parties. The same men are described in each clause-as impure and profane, as working spiritual mischief, and as taken up with a puerile faith in flesh-cutting. In the first clause you have their character, in the second their conduct, and in the third their destructive creed. The absurd stress they placed on a mere mutilation warranted the satirical epithet of the concision; but their convictions on this point drove them into a course of mischievous agitations, and they became the evil-workers; then from their belief, character, and actings, they stood out as impure and shameless-as dogs. Men who insisted on circumcision as essential to salvation made the rite ridiculous-Judaized ere they Christianized. To circumcise a Gentile was not only to subject him to a rite which God never intended for him, but it was to invest him with a false character. Circumcision to him was a forgery, and he carried a lie in his person. Not a Jew, and yet marked as one-having the token without the lineage-the seal of descent and not a drop of Abraham's blood in his veins. To hinge salvation, especially in the case of a Gentile, on circumcision, was such a spurious proselytism-such a total misappreciation of the Jewish covenant-such a miserable subversion of the liberty of the gospel-such a perverse and superstitious reliance on a manual rite, that its advocates might be well caricatured and branded as the concision. The rite, so misplaced, was both a fiction and an anachronism; for the benefits of circumcision were to be enjoyed in Palestine, and not in Europe, and enjoyed up to the period “of the abolition of the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” What these persons were may be seen in the Introduction. They might not have done damage as yet in Philippi, but there was a danger of their doing so. Such a warning, repeated, would put the Philippians on their guard and contribute to their safety.
(Philippians 3:3.) ῾Ημεῖς γάρ ἐσμεν ἡ περιτομή “For we are the circumcision.” The γάρ gives a reason. Those Judaists are but the concision, for we are the circumcision-the abstract again used for the concrete; and by the term is to be understood Paul and the members of the Philippian church, whether they were Jews or Gentiles. There were Jews in that church, and forming the original nucleus of it; though, perhaps, the greater part might be of Gentile extraction.
The members of the Christian church are now the circumcision. Theirs is a spiritual seal. Whatever the old circumcision typified, they enjoy. They are really Abraham's children- blessed with believing Abraham. Galatians 3:9; Galatians 3:14; Romans 2:29; 1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:2; Galatians 5:6. The Jewish circumcision was a mark of Abrahamic descent. “And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee, in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you, and thy seed after thee; Every man-child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.” Genesis 17:9-11. As the circumcised descendants of the father of the faithful, the Jews enjoyed certain privileges. They were God's people, His by His choice, and shown to be His by His tender protection. They had access to Him in worship, and enjoyed His ordinances. They dwelt in a country which He had selected for them, and which they held by a divine charter. The true circumcision enjoys correspondent benefits, especially do they possess the promised Spirit. The spiritual offspring of Abraham have nobler gifts by far than his natural seed- blessing not wrapped up in civil franchise, or dependent upon time, or restricted to territory. So Justin says in the dialogue with Trypho,- καὶ ἡμεῖς οἱ διὰ τούτον προσχωρήσαντες τῷ Θεῷ , οὐ ταύτην τὴν κατὰ σάρκα παρελάβομεν περιτομὴν ἀλλὰ πνευματικήν . See our comment on Ephesians 2:11, and Colossians 2:11 -
οἱ πνεύματι Θεοῦ λατρεύοντες “who by the Spirit of God are serving.” The reading Θεοῦ , adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf, has decided authority over the common reading Θεῷ . The dative form may have sprung from the idea of its connection with the participle. The differences of reading are of an early date. Augustine, Pelagius, and Ambrose refer to them- qui Spiritu Dei serviunt, vel qui Spiritu Deo serviunt. Bishop Middleton defends Θεῷ , misled by his own theory of the Article. See under Ephesians 1:17. At the same time, the language is peculiar. The verb λατρεύω , specially applied in the New Testament to religious service, is here used absolutely, as in Luke 2:37; Acts 26:7; Hebrews 9:9. The phrase πνεύματι Θεοῦ refers to divine influence put forth upon the heart by the Spirit of God. The words do not point out the norm- spiritualiter, as van Hengel supposes, nor yet the object- Spiritum Dei colimus, but the agency or influence which prompts and accompanies the service. The Spirit of God is He who dwells in the hearts of believers, sent by God for this purpose. It follows, indeed, as a natural inference, that if the Spirit prompt and guide the worship, it will be spiritual in its nature. There is thus a quiet but telling allusion to the external formalities of the Jewish service, to which the dogmatists were so inordinately attached. The Mosaic worship, properly so called, could be celebrated only on one spot, and according to a certain ritual. Though of divine institution, and adapted to express in a powerful form the religious emotions of the people, it often degenerated into mere parade. It became a pantomime. Jehovah represents Himself as being satiated with sacrifices, and wearied out by the heartless routine. Only on one altar could the victim be laid, and only one family was privileged to present it. But the Christian worship may be presented anywhere and at any time, in the hut and in the cathedral. The Being we worship is not confined to temples made with hands, nor yet is He restricted to any periods for the celebration of His worship. Whenever and wherever the Spirit of God moves the heart to grateful sensation, there is praise; or touches it with a profound sense of its spiritual wants, there is prayer and service. How superior this self-expansive power of Christianity to the rigid and cumbrous ceremonial of Israel after the flesh, and especially to the stiff and narrow bigotry of the concision!-
καὶ καυχώμενοι ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ “and are making our boast in Christ Jesus.” The meaning of καυχώμενοι , emphatic from its position, is different from χαίρω used in the first verse. It is better rendered in Romans 2:23 than here “thou that makest thy boast in the law.” They gloried not in themselves, or in anything about themselves-not in circumcision or Abrahamic descent, but in Christ Jesus, and in Him alone-not in Him and Moses-not in Son and servant alike; gloried in Him; in His great condescension; His birth and its wonders; His life and its blessings; His death and its benefits; His ascension and its pledges; His return, and its stupendous and permanent results. The spiritual circumcision boasted themselves in Christ Jesus; the implication being, that the concision boasted themselves in Moses and external privilege-
καὶ οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθότες “and have no trust in the flesh.” The adverb οὐ with a participle as a predicate, is an unqualified negative. Winer, § 55, 5 ( f), ( β ). This clause is in contrast with the preceding clauses. What the apostle understands by σάρξ , he proceeds at once to define. It is not circumcision simply, though the word occurs markedly in Genesis 17:11; Genesis 17:13; Leviticus 12:3; Romans 2:28. The “flesh” is another name for external privilege, such as descent, and points to such merit as pride thinks due to formal obedience. It is a ground of confidence opposed to the righteousness of Christ -verse 9. Such then, as contrasted with the concision, is the circumcision; the children of believing Abraham, and blessed with him; serving God by His Spirit in a higher and more elastic worship; glorying in Him who has won such privileges and blessings for them, and having no trust in any externals or formalities on which the Judaizer laid so much stress as securing salvation, or as bringing it within an available reach.
(Philippians 3:4.) Καίπερ ἐγὼ ἔχων πεποίθησιν καὶ ἐν σαρκί - “Though I am in the possession of confidence too in the flesh.” The apostle has just classed himself with those who had no trust in the flesh, and now he affirms that he too has trust in the flesh. It seems, but only seems to be a paradox. The conjunction καίπερ , used only here by Paul, qualifies the previous assertion. Devarius, Klotz, 2.723. Instead of using the simple participle πεποιθώς , he says- ἔχων πεποίθησιν . Had he used the simple participle, there might have been a direct contradiction. He could not have it, and yet not have it at the same time. But he says- ἔχων πεποίθησιν -he has it in possession, but not in use; as one may have a staff, though he does not lean upon it; may have money, though he does not spend it. Such is the plain meaning of the words, and thus literally understood, they present no difficulty.
Various attempts have been made to get rid of the supposed difficulty. Our translators have a rendering which the words do not justify “though I might also have confidence in the flesh”-a translation similar to that of Storr, Rilliet, Matthies, Schinz, and virtually Rheinwald, who resolve it by ἔχειν δύναμενος . Neither is there any reason, with Beza, Calvin, Am Ende, and Hoelemann, to take πεποίθησις by any metonymy for ground or reason of confidence; nor yet, with van Hengel, to refer the language to the past periods of Paul's unconverted life. The apostle had declared of himself, that he belonged to those who have no confidence in the flesh; and lest his opponents should imagine that his want of confidence in the flesh was simply the absence of all foundation for it, and that he was making a virtue of necessity, he adds, that he had all the warrant any man ever had-nay, more warrant than most men ever had-to trust in the flesh. And therefore he subjoins-
εἴ τις δοκεῖ ἄλλος πεποιθέναι ἐν σαρκὶ , ἐγὼ μᾶλλον “if any other man thinketh that he has confidence in the flesh, I more.” Our translators again follow such as make the verb fiducioe materiam habere “that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh.” The verb δοκεῖ may denote either to think or to seem,-if any man thinketh in himself, or if any man appear to others, etc. Both meanings are found in the New Testament, and Meyer need scarcely have appealed to Ast's Lexicon Platonicum in favour of the latter signification. With Wiesinger and De Wette we prefer the first meaning given- 1Co 3:18 ; 1 Corinthians 8:2 -as being apt and natural, for the apostle refers to such actual possession as he is about to describe.
As his manner is, the apostle “goes off” in an allusion to his own history and experience. As he proceeds, the emotion deepens into vehemence, and while he muses for a moment on his own inner life, the thoughts welling “out of the abundance” of his heart arrange themselves into a lyrical modulation. He boasts of being a true son of Israel, not sprung from one of the tribes which had so early apostatized, but from the honoured tribe of Benjamin. He was also of untainted descent-an adherent of the “most straitest sect” -ardent in his profession, as evinced by his persecution of the church-performing with scrupulous exactness every rite of fasting, tithing, or sacrifice, so that had salvation been awarded to the fervent and punctual devotions of the chamber or the sanctuary, he might have died in confidence and peace. Therefore he now proceeds to enumerate the advantages which he possessed, in which he might have trusted, and in some of which he did once trust. The Judaizing fanatics could not say, that he made light of these privileges because he had none of them; for he had more than most of them, and yet he felt their utter insignificance. The persons whom the apostle had in his eye were in some respects behind him: at least he says “I more.” Some of them might be proselytes circumcised in manhood; others might be of mixed blood; others may have been originally of Sadducean creed: while few of them had manifested that uniform obedience to the law which had distinguished him, and that downright devotedness to Judaism which had led him to seek the extirpation of its young and vigorous rival by violence and blood.
(Philippians 3:5.) Περιτομῇ ὀκταήμερος “As to circumcision, an eighth-day one,” literally, “circumcised on the eighth day.” The reading of the first noun in the nominative by Erasmus, Bengel, and others, is inadmissible. It is the dative of reference. Winer, § 31, 6. The adjective is used, like similar nouns of number, as τεταρταῖος , John 11:39 - τριήμερος , Greg. Naz. Orat. 25; Marc. Anton. 3,- δωδεκαταῖος , Theoc. 2.157. Circumcision on the eighth day was according to divine enactment. Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3. The apostle was a born Jew, and on the appointed day had received the seal of the Abrahamic covenant. The rite was for no reason deferred, and if any merit accrued from strict compliance with the law, he had it. The apostle makes good his declaration not only of ἐγὼ ἔχων , but of ἐγὼ μᾶλλον . The proselytes and Idumeans could not say so, for only in riper years could they be circumcised. Paul, therefore, left all such boasters behind him-
ἐκ γένους ᾿Ισραήλ “of the race of Israel.” See under Ephesians 2:12. He had been circumcised on the eighth day; and not only was he not a proselyte, but he was not the son of proselytes, who might want for their child what they had not in childhood received themselves. No: he was a member of the chosen race, and not of Ishmael or Esau, or any other Abrahamic clan than that of Jacob. The term ᾿Ισραήλ , too, expresses spiritual nobility, and carries a higher honour than either the epithet Hebrew or Jew. Rom 9:4 ; 2 Corinthians 11:22 -
φυλῆς Βενιαμίν “of the tribe of Benjamin.” The apostle means to derive some honour from his tribal lineage. It could scarcely be from this, that the first king of Israel belonged to this tribe, or that the apostle bore the royal name. Benjamin was a favourite son by a favourite wife, and the tribe is styled by Moses the “beloved of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 33:12. That tribe also had the capital and temple in its canton, was long identified with the great tribe of Judah, and had returned with it to Palestine, while the more northern tribes had almost ceased to exist as distinct branches of the house of Israel. He could give his genealogy. Romans 11:1 -
῾Εβραῖος ἐξ ῾Εβραίων “a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” The phrase is often used in reference to speech, and in contrast with Hellenist. Acts 6:1. It does not seem to be employed in such a sense here, though OEcumenius affirms it, and he is followed by Witsius, Crellius, and Michaelis. Nor can it refer to place of birth, for Paul was born at Tarsus in Cilicia, Acts 22:3 -a statement in opposition to the tradition mentioned by Jerome that he was born at Gischala in Galilee, and that on the capture of the place by the Romans, his parents and he emigrated to Tarsus. Nor has it, as Carpzov and Noesselt think, any religious reference, for it was the political name of the nation-that by which they were known among foreigners. The phrase denotes purity of lineal extraction-not simply that he was sprung of an old Hebrew family, as Jaspis and Rheinwald suppose-but that none of his ancestors had been other than a Jew. Meyer's view is, that both his parents were Hebrews, especially his mother. But the force of the phrase goes beyond immediate parentage. He was aware of no hybrid Gentile admixture, though his ancestors may have lived in Gentile countries. He was sprung of pure Hebrew blood, there having been no cross marriage to taint the descent. Thus does the apostle characterize his lineage:- circumcised on the eighth day, and therefore no foreign convert admitted in mature life, but having parents who coveted and transmitted the Abrahamic rite for their family;-of the stock of Israel, and having a hereditary right to the seal of the national covenant with all its blessings;-of the tribe of Benjamin, able to ascertain and prove his descent, and not of one of any of the tribes geographically lost or individually absorbed by the rest;-a Hebrew of the Hebrews, descended from a long line of pure ancestry, without any accidental infusion on either side of foreign blood. There is a species of climax. A proselyte might circumcise his child on the eighth day; another might be of the stock of Israel and yet his mother might not be a Jewess, as was the case with Obed and Timothy; for such a one might be of the tribe of Benjamin and yet not a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Extraction of undoubted purity distinguished him, while some of his opponents, with all their Judaizing zeal, could make no such assertion- ἐγὼ μᾶλλον . 2 Corinthians 11:22.
Having enumerated his privileges as a member of Abraham's race, the apostle proceeds to show how he improved them. What he had enjoyed as a child was not lost upon him as a man. He was not contented with being one of the Jewish mass, but he sought in riper years to realize the advantages of his birth. Not satisfied with a passive possession of blood and birth, he laboured to appropriate all its blessings. He was a religious man-sincerely and intelligently attached to the law and all the venerated traditions of the fathers, and not simply a born Jew, proud of his ancestry, but indifferent to their faith-venerating the name of Moses, but careless of his law, save in so far as national customs had habituated him to its observance. Could the same be said of all his adversaries who now made such an outcry about the Abrahamic rite?
κατὰ νόμον Φαρισαῖος “touching the law a Pharisee.” It is wrong to give νόμος the meaning of αἵρεσις , as do Heinrichs, Am Ende, and Rheinwald, nor can it be rendered by secta or disciplina. Nor need it be understood, with van Hengel, as meaning “with regard to the interpretation of the law”- quod legis attinet interpretationem. In his relation to the law he was a Pharisee. Acts 26:5. The Pharisee was noted for his strong attachment to the law-for his observance of all its ceremonial minutiae-and his determination, at all hazards, to uphold its validity. Winer; Real-Wörterbuch, sub voce. Nay, Paul was not only a Pharisee, but “the son of a Pharisee” -brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, a famous teacher of the sect. His mind had never been tainted by Sadducean unbelief, nor had he been fascinated by the ascetic theosophy of the Essene. If the apostle would not bind the law on the Gentile churches, it was not because he had not studied it or had not understood it, nor yet because he had either lived in indifference to its claims or been trained in prejudice against its venerable authority.
(Philippians 3:6.) Κατὰ ζῆλος διώκων τὴν ἐκκλησίαν “As to zeal persecuting the church.” The neuter form ζῆλος has in its favour, A, B, D, F, G. Some MSS., of no high authority, add τοῦ Θεοῦ after ἐκκλησίαν , but the noun often stands by itself. The present participle tells precisely what the apostle means to say, and it would be wrong to follow Grotius, Heinrichs, Am Ende, and Jaspis, and give it the meaning of διώξας . Nor is it necessary to make it a species of substantive with Alford, or of adjective with Ellicott, for it marks his conduct at the same point of time as when he had trust in the flesh, and thought himself blameless. The apostle gives his unconverted state an ideal present time. Compare Acts 21:20; Romans 10:2; Gal 1:13 ; 1 Timothy 1:13. The apostle had been no passive supporter of the law. While he upheld it, he upheld it with his might. And when the supremacy of that law seemed to be endangered by the growth of Christianity, with characteristic ardour and impetuosity he flung himself into the contest. He could not be a supine and listless spectator. The question was to him one of conscience and submission to divine authority, and therefore he deemed it his duty to imprison, torture, and kill the abettors of the infant faith, whose most malignant feature, as he thought, was its antagonism to Moses. Others might stand aloof, fold their hands in indifference, and yield a facile acquiescence in events as they occurred. But the disciple of Gamaliel was in terrible earnest. Believing that in speaking “words against Moses” there was open blasphemy, and that the glory of God and the spiritual interests of his country were in imminent hazard, he felt himself doing God service when he resolved to hunt down and extirpate the rising heresy, and “breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord.” Foremost among the zealots stood Saul of Tarsus. Had his adversaries ever shown a similar fervour-had they so openly committed themselves? His zeal for the law outstripped theirs- ἐγὼ μᾶλλον . If he did not now enforce the Mosaic ceremonial, it was not because he had never loved it, or had been quite careless when it was assaulted. Not one had laboured for it so prodigiously, or fought for it so ferociously “the witnesses laid their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.” Higher still-
κατὰ δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐν νόμῳ γενόμενος ἄμεμπτος “as regards righteousness which is in the law being blameless.” The noun δικαιοσύνη , when so used, departs from its ordinary classic sense, and represents one special meaning of the Hebrew ֶצדֶק , H7406. It does not signify either equity or fair dealing between man and man, but depicts that aspect of state or relation to the Divine law, which secures, or is believed to secure, acceptance with God. It is here characterized as τὴν ἐν νόμῳ -as being found in the law, or having its source in obedience to the law. With respect to such righteousness, he was perfect- γενόμενος ἄμεμπτος . Philippians 2:15. He thought himself, and others thought him, without a flaw. He did whatever the law had enjoined; abstained from whatever the law had forbidden; omitted no duty, and committed no violation of legal precept. In form at least, and in external compliance, his obedience was exemplary, without occasional lapse or visible inconsistency. It is altogether too restricted to understand the “law” of Pharisaic enactment, or simply of the ceremonial law, and worse still to adopt the idea of Grotius and Am Ende, that Paul speaks but of the civil law, as if the miserable meaning were- nihil se fecisse quod morte aut verberibus castigandum esset. It was indeed and in itself what Matthies styles it- eine scheinheilige Werkgerechtigkeit; but the apostle speaks from the standpoint of his earlier days. Matthew 19:20. Such, then, is the record of the apostle's grounds of confidence in the flesh, and who of those opposed to him could boast of more of them? He had no confidence in the flesh, or mere externalism; and yet, if any man was ever warranted to have such confidence, it was he who had more of it than most, but who now with changed views so vehemently decried it, as opposed to the spirituality of the gospel and fatal to salvation. For he adds with power-
(Philippians 3:7.) ᾿Αλλ᾿ ἅτινα ἦν μοι κέρδη , ταῦτα ἥγημαι διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν ζημίαν “But whatever things were gains to me, these I have reckoned loss for Christ.” The conjunction ἀλλά introduces a striking and earnest contrast. In the use of ἅτινα , which is placed emphatically, the apostle refers to these previous things enumerated as a class-that class of things which were objects of gain; the plural κέρδη intimating their quantity and variety, and not simply corresponding in number with the plural ἅτινα . Krüger, § 44, 3, Anmerk 5. The dative μοι is that of “profit,” and not that of opinion, as is supposed by Erasmus, Beza, Rheinwald, De Wette, and Hoelemann. The apostle still speaks from his old standpoint -they were objects of gain, inasmuch as and so long as they were believed to secure acceptance with God. The ζημία is opposed to κέρδη , and is used in its literal sense in Acts 27:10; Acts 27:21. The ταῦτα is emphatic-these, yes these, I have reckoned loss; and the κέρδη is not, as van Hengel makes it - non vera lucra, sed opinata. The perfect tense may bear the meaning of the present-Buttmann, § 113, 7-yet the use of the present immediately after confines us to the past signification. These things I have set down as loss, and do so still. He had come to form a very opposite opinion of them. It is needless to take ζημία in the sense of mulcta, or στέρησις . It stands simply in unity, opposed to κέρδη in plurality-many gains as one loss-denoting the total revolution in the apostle's mind and opinions. Theophylact adds ἀπεβαλόμην “and have cast them away,” but not correctly, or in strict unison with the previous declaration, for the apostle still had them, and says that he still had them- ἔχων πεποίθησιν . Nor is there more propriety in Calvin's figure, virtually adopted and deteriorated by Macknight, taken from navigation, when men make loss of the cargo to lighten the ship, and save themselves. The apostle now states the grand reason for his change of estimate-
διὰ τὸν Χριστόν “on account of Christ.” Not “in respect of Christ,” as Heinrichs; nor specially to enjoy fellowship with Him, as van Hengel. “On account of Christ”-that is to say, what was once gain was now reckoned loss, either because it did not commend him to Christ, or what was held as something won was regarded now as loss, for it did not enable to win Christ, nay, kept him from winning Christ. When he won, he was losing; nay, the more he won, the more he must lose. All his advantages in birth, privilege, sect, earnestness, and obedience, were not only profitless, but productive of positive loss, as they prevented the gaining of Christ, and of justification through the faith of Christ.
(Philippians 3:8.) ᾿Αλλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι - “But indeed, therefore, I also count or continue to count them all to be loss.” Winer, § 53, 7 ( a), says that ἀλλὰ μὲν οὖν may be rendered at sane quidem. Klotz, Devarius, 663, etc. The ἀλλά puts the two tenses, past and present, into contrast; while the καί qualifies ἡγοῦμαι , and gives it special significance, and does not, as Rilliet supposes, connect itself with πάντα , as if there were a climax “what things were gain, these I counted loss; yea, doubtless, I count even all things loss.” This exegesis would require, as Meyer says, the verbal order to be καὶ πάντα ἡγοῦμαι . Nor can πάντα mean all things absolutely. It has not the article, indeed, but the meaning is limited by the context-all things of the class and character described-the things of which he says immediately that he had suffered the loss. The estimate was not a hasty conclusion from fallacious premises, nor the sudden leap of an enthusiasm which had for a moment urged him. It was his calm and deliberate judgment still. And again he adduces a reason-
διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ ᾿Ιησοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου μου “on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” The participle ὑπερέχον is used as a substantive. Bernhardy, p. 156; Matthiae, § 570. There is no occasion to supply any noun. “Thucydides,” says Jelf, “abounds in neuter participles thus used.” § 436, γ . Besides this way of expressing abstract notions, there are several other points of resemblance between the style of the Greek historian and that of the apostle. There is a comparison implied in the epithet. It transcends all the things to which the apostle has referred. Still, there is no occasion, with Am Ende and Rheinwald, to resolve the phrase into διὰ τὴν ὑπερέχουσαν γνῶσιν . The apostle does not refer to the knowledge simply, but to one feature of it, its superior excellence, in comparison with which all things are accounted loss. That knowledge has for its object Christ Jesus, whom the apostle names in a burst of veneration and attachment- “my Lord.” Let the elements of loss be calculated. The “gains” were:-circumcision performed without any deviation from legal time or method-membership in the house of Israel, and connection with one of its most honoured tribes-descent from a long line of pure-blooded ancestry-adherence to a sect, whose prominent distinction was the observance of the old statutes-earnest and uncompromising hostility to a community accused of undermining the authority of the Mosaic code, and a merit based on blameless obedience to the law. These, once gloried and confided in, were counted as a loss, for the sake of a superior gain in the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Chrysostom has a long and not very satisfactory argument to show, that the heretics who abused the law could not plead, for their vilification of it, the apostle's language in this place. “He does not say the law is loss, but I count it loss.” The true reply is, that it is not to the law in itself, but to his misconception of its position and of his own relation to it, that the apostle refers. Jerome on Habakkuk, referring to the same abuse of the apostle's words, says he does not refer to the law as such, but has in view doctrinoe Pharisoeorum et precepta hominum, et δευτερώσεις Judoeorum. Augustine, also, has more than once written in a similar strain.
The apostle was surely justified in making such a comparison. He was no loser by the loss he had willingly made, for the object of knowledge was the Divine Saviour. To understand His person and character, with His work and its relations, and so to understand them through a living interest in them, is surely knowledge of superior excellence. Is it not super-eminent knowledge to know Him as the “Christ,” not simply because He has been anointed “with the oil of gladness,” but because we too “have an unction from the Holy One,”-to know Him as “Jesus,” not simply because He wears our nature, but because we feel His human heart throbbing in unison with ours under trial and sorrow,-to know Him as Prophet, not simply because He is Light, but because we are light in Him,-to know Him as Priest, not simply because He has laid Himself on the altar, but because the blood of sprinkling is manifest upon our conscience,-to know Him as “Lord,” not simply because He wears a crown and wields a sceptre, but because we bow to His loving rule and gather the spoils of the victory which He has won and secured? The apostle made a just calculation; for neither ritualism, nor Israelitism, nor Pharisaism, nor zealotism, nor legalism could bring him those blessings with which the knowledge of Christ was connected; nay, until they were held as loss, this gain of gains could not be acquired. The apostle repeats-
δἰ ὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην “for whom I have suffered the loss of them all.” It serves no purpose, with van Hengel and Baumgarten-Crusius, to make this clause a parenthesis, for it is closely connected with the succeeding one. “On account of whom,” that is to say-Christ Jesus, my Lord. The πάντα , as qualified by the article, refers to the things already specified -all these things. It is wrong in Chrysostom, then, to describe them as καὶ τὰ πάλαι καὶ τὰ παρόντα , and in a-Lapide to write thus- non tantum bona Judaismi, sed omnia quoe mundus hic amat et miratur. The one accusative is still retained with the passive, as in Matthew 16:26. Winer, § 32, 5. Van Hengel and others needlessly differ from Wiesinger, Meyer, and De Wette, in giving the passive form a middle signification.
καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα εἶναι “and do count them to be refuse.” The infinitive εἶναι is omitted by Lachmann, as not being found in B, D 3 , F, G, nor is the correspondent Latin term in the Vulgate and in many of the Latin Fathers. But it occurs in A, D 1 , E, I, K, in almost all the versions, and Greek Fathers. One can more easily account for its omission than for its insertion. The contemptuous term σκύβαλον is usually derived from ἐς κύνας βαλεῖν (Suidas, sub voce), much in the same way as Stamboul, the name of the Byzantine capital, is compounded of ἐς τὰν πόλιν . It signifies refuse, sweepings, manure, κόπρος , stercora. Sir 27:4 . The Greek Fathers understand it to mean husks, chaff, ἄχυρον , and they contrast it with σῖτος . It expresses not only the utter insignificance which the apostle now attached to the grounds of his former trust, but the aversion with which he regarded them, especially when placed in comparison with Christ. For the end was-
ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω “that I may gain Christ.” The verb κερδήσω is used in correspondence with κέρδη in Philippians 3:7, and in contrast with ζημία and ἐζημιώθην . The clause with ἵνα expresses the great purpose of the apostle, in order to attain which he had made the previous estimate and suffered the previous loss. The phrase is somewhat peculiar. One is apt to smile at the gambling figure of Heumann- obolum perdidi, amicum accepi. Nor is the meaning merely, to gain the favour of Christ, as Grotius, Am Ende, and Wilke suppose; nor yet is it simply to be a Christian, as Krause weakens it. Robinson virtually agrees with Grotius, and many others are somewhat vague in their explanations. To win Him is to have Him-the idea of gain being suggested by the previous mention of loss. Nor can we say that the verb is explained by the following clauses, or by any one of them in particular. They are elements indeed of this gain; but the term “Christ” seems to denote Him in every aspect, and to win Him is to enjoy Him in every aspect. It is to have Him as mine, and to feel that in comparison with such a possession all else may be regarded as truly loss. To the apostle Christ was so identified with the truth, that when he gained Him he gained the highest knowledge; so identified with life, that when he gained Him he was endowed with the noblest form of it; and so identified with spiritual influence, that when he gained Him his whole nature was filled with power and gladness. The name of Christ, so used, covers His entire work and relations, and, as Wiesinger says “Christ comes as gain in the place of the loss he has suffered.” And the possession of Christ is real gain compared with Hebrew lineage, the seal of Abrahamic descent, or devotedness to the Mosaic ritual and law.
(Philippians 3:9.) Καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ “And be found in Him.” The verb is not to be taken with an active sense, as it is taken by Calvin- et inveniam in ipso -thus explained, Paulum renunciasse omnibus quoe habebat, ut recuperaret in Christo. Nor has εὑρεθῆναι the same meaning with the simple εἶναι , as is affirmed by Grotius, Am Ende, and Henrichs. It has the additional idea of being discovered to be, or proved to be. Romans 7:10; Galatians 2:17. See under Philippians 2:8. It does not simply assert a condition, but it looks at ascertained result. When we see how the apostle connects with this animated expression of his feelings “the resurrection of the dead,” we would not be so decided as are Meyer and De Wette, in denying Beza's supposition of a tacit relation to the day of judgment. The apostle, however, desires above all things to be found in Him, now and ever. We would not say, with Meyer, that the previous clause, “that I may win Christ,” is subjective, and that this clause corresponds objectively to it. The former clause we regard as a general and comprehensive declaration, and this one as a more special result. To gain Him comprises every blessing, and underlies every aspect of His work-to be found in Him is a special and personal relation to Him. The first effect of gaining Christ is union to Him, and the apostle counts all but loss that this union may not only exist, but may maintain and exhibit its reality-so as that, at the final inquisition, he may be found in Christ and enjoy the resurrection of the dead. The phrase “in Him” signifies no form of external fellowship, nor is it to be explained away as denoting mere discipleship. It is a union as close, tender, vital, and constant, as between the members and the head-a union effected and perpetuated by the Spirit of God,-the same Spirit dwelling in Christ and in all who are His. Participation in blessing depends upon it, as the living and identifying bond which secures communion in all He is and has. Yet more-
μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου “not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law.” We would not connect this clause so closely with the preceding one as, like Tischendorf and Lachmann, not to place a comma between them. The meaning brought out in this way by van Hengel is- et deprehendar in communione ejus non meam qualemcunque habere probitatem “and be found in Him not to have mine own righteousness.” This idea is not in harmony with the course of thought, which in form is simple and consecutive. Besides, in such a case, as Meyer remarks, ἐν αὐτῷ would be superfluous. We take it and what follows it as descriptive of the results of gaining Christ and of being found in Him. The syntax connects it most closely with εὑρεθῶ . It gives an objective view of the apostle's condition. The subjective particle μή is used, because the absence of his own righteousness is a mental conception, is expressed as purpose, and not as an actual fact. Winer, § 55, 1. The participle is simply “having,” as Meyer and De Wette maintain against those who would give it a more pregnant sense of “holding fast.” The meaning of δικαιοσύνη we have already referred to. The apostle characterizes it as his own - ἐμήν -as wrought out and secured by himself. Romans 10:3. And he points out its source by calling it τὴν ἐκ νόμου - “which is out of the law,” the law being regarded as its origin, and “works” as its means. The apostle had felt how vain such a righteousness was, as he has shown in Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 2:21; and he regarded his being found in Christ as utterly imcompatible with such a personal and legal righteousness. The preposition ἐκ is often similarly employed as in the two places last quoted. In contrast he now adds-
ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ “but that which is through the faith of Christ.” The apostle changes the preposition, for he intends to express a very different relation. His own righteousness was out of the law, or originated by the law, and it was through his own effort that he obtained it, for the pronoun ἐμή has in itself the notion of διά . But this other righteousness is of God, as he says in the next clause, and its instrument is faith- διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ . Χριστοῦ is not the genitive of source, as Am Ende and Jaspis regard it, but that of object. Through faith in Christ, as the subjective medium, is this righteousness enjoyed or received by all who are found in Him. Having referred to the means of this righteousness, he must also characterize its source-
τὴν ἐκ Θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει -to wit, “the righteousness which is of God on faith.” His own righteousness was ἐκ νόμου , but this is ἐκ Θεοῦ -having God for its origin, and it rests- ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει -upon faith. The phrase does not signify in faith or in fide, as the Vulgate renders it; nor per fidem, as Beza supposes it; nor on account of faith, as De Wette explains it; nor yet exactly on the condition of faith, as is the view of Matthies, Rilliet, and van Hengel-a view which is rather secondary and inferential, than primary and exegetical. Meyer regards those words as depending on an understood ἔχων , repeated after ἀλλά . The view does not appear tenable. “In this case,” as Wiesinger asks, “would not ἔχων have been repeated?” Meyer objects that the connection of this righteousness with faith has been already described by διὰ πίστεως Χ ., and that it would be mere repetition to join ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει to δικαιοσύνην . To this objection we demur. For, first, the use of various prepositions to express the different relations of an object, is precisely one of the apostle's peculiarities of style. And, secondly, the difference of relation expressed by the different prepositions, prevents tautology. In the first case, when he uses διά , he has a special contrast in view, which he sharply brings out. He tells the origin of his own righteousness, and then he contrasts it with evangelical righteousness, not in its origin, but in its means- διὰ πίστεως . Then he reverts to its origin emphatically- ἐκ Θεοῦ -and he connects that origin with its basis in one general expression. If you ask what is the instrument of this righteousness, it is by faith- διὰ πίστεως -as opposed to personal effort or merit- ἐμή . If you inquire for its source, it is ἐκ Θεοῦ , opposed to ἐκ νόμου . And if you seek for its nature and adaptation, it rests ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει -on faith. So that δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει forms really one complex idea, and the non-repetition of the article before ἐπί is no valid objection. Winer, § 20, 2. Wiesinger understands the first clause- διὰ πίστεως Χ .-as describing faith objectively, and the second- ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει -as pointing out the individual or subjective foundation. Alford renders “on my faith,” but the phrase seems to be a portion of a general definition. At all events, while the apostle does not bring out the points of a contrast with the finical order of a rhetorician, he holds up two different aspects of faith-faith as the means, and faith as the foundation. The reason of the διά is to be found in the ἐπί . It is because this righteousness has faith for its ground, that faith becomes its instrument. Such is its peculiar nature, that its effect is made to depend upon faith; therefore by faith is it realized and appropriated. Physical life is dependent on respiration; therefore by respiration is it sustained.
This righteousness- δικαιοσύνη -which the apostle aspired to possess, is the only ground of acceptance with God. In itself it is not ἐμή , but of God- ἐκ Θεοῦ -as in His grace He has provided it, so that it is said of us- δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι . Romans 3:24. It is wrought out by Christ, and in His blood- ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ -Romans 5:9; or it is διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ . Romans 3:24. It becomes ours through faith, being in one aspect ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει , in another διὰ πίστεως , and in another still, ἐκ πίστεως . Romans 5:1. And this connection of faith is further described thus- λογίζεται ἡ πίστις εἰς δικαιοσύνην ; or, subjectively, καρδίᾳ πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην . Romans 10:10. Of the possessor of such righteousness it may be said- δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ . Galatians 3:11. Christ obeyed the law for us, and for us suffered its penalty, and the merit of this obedience unto the death becomes ours, as soon as we can say of ourselves, καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς Χριστὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν ἐπιστεύσαμεν . Galatians 2:16. He who was ἄδικος becomes δίκαιος , and escapes that κατάκριμα which sin merits, Romans 8:1, the ὀργὴ Θεοῦ -Romans 1:18; nay, enjoys the benefit of redemption- τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων . Ephesians 1:7. When ἔργα τοῦ νόμου -works of law, are disclaimed, and faith is simply reposed on God- ἐπὶ τὸν δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἀσεβῆ -guilt is cancelled, acceptance is enjoyed, and such a change of state entails a change of character: those in whom the righteousness of the law is fulfilled, “walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Romans 8:4. The sinner is not indeed held by any legal fiction to be innocent. The entire process implies his guilt, but he is no longer exposed to the penalty; he is held, or dealt with, as a righteous person, “the external justice of Christ Jesus being imputed to him.” And the result is- οὓς δὲ ἐδικαίωσε , τούτους καὶ ἐδόξασεν . Romans 8:30. This righteousness, divine in its origin, awful in its medium, and fraught with such results, was the essential element of Paul's religion, and the distinctive tenet of Paul's theology. His purpose was-
(Philippians 3:10.) Τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτόν “So that I may know Him.” The construction beginning with ἵνα is here changed into the infinitive-no uncommon change in the style of the apostle. Romans 6:6; Colossians 1:9-10. Bernhardy (p. 357) shows that the proper meaning of the genitive is preserved in such a construction. But what is the connection?
1. Some take the phrase as parallel with ἵνα κερδήσω καὶ εὑρεθῶ , and as if it simply stood for ἵνα γνῶ . Such is the view of Estius, Storr, Flatt, Rheinwald, Rilliet, van Hengel, De Wette, and Hoelemann. But the very change of construction argues a peculiarity, and seems to connect the sense, not as a thought parallel with the previous ἵνα , but rather as the result of an intermediate statement.
2. The Greek Fathers connect it with ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει , and so do Calvin, Grotius, and Bengel. It is thus supposed to describe the source or the nature of faith-faith in order to know Him. But the syntax does not seem to warrant such a narrow connection.
3. Rosenmüller, followed to some extent by Matthies and Peile, joins it to δικαιοσύνην , as if the meaning were- felicitatem, inquam, cognoscendi eum. This exegesis is wrong, both in its syntax and in the meaning assigned to δικαιοσύνη .
4. Meyer connects it with the clause μὴ ἔχων , and Wiesinger inclines to join it to εὑρεθῶ . We prefer connecting it with both, that is, with εὑρεθῶ primarily, but as modified and explained by the clause μὴ ἔχων . The apostle reckons all but loss to gain Christ, and be found in Him-found in Him possessed of a peculiar qualification, divine righteousness, and all this “so as to know Him and the power of His resurrection.” His object was not simply to be found in Christ so as to know Him, but to be found in Him, divinely justified by faith in Him, so as to know Him. The “excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” is still before his mind, and he does not revert formally to what he had stated as to the superior excellence of this knowledge, for the idea has never left him; and now he avows the design of being in Christ, and of being justified by faith in Him, and that is, to know Him. Not that to this knowledge two prerequisites are asserted to be equally necessary-union to Christ, and the possession of the righteousness of faith. No: union with Christ is the great qualification, that union giving righteousness, and both leading to the knowledge of Christ. The realization of this union to Christ, and the possession of this righteousness, bring one to the inner knowledge of Him in whom we are, and by faith in whom this righteousness is received.
From this statement, and from the following clauses, it is plain that this knowledge is that of a deep and deepening experience. It is not historical insight, nor general and theoretic information. The apostle aimed to know Him as being in Him. Such knowledge is inspired by the consciousness -not elaborated by the intellect. It rises up from within -is not gathered from without. It does not accumulate evidence to test the truth-it “has the witness” in itself. It needs not to repair to the cistern and draw-it has in itself “a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” It knows, because it feels; it ascertains, not because it studies, but because it enjoys union, and possesses the righteousness of God through faith. She that touched the tassel of His robe had a knowledge of Christ deeper and truer by far than the crowds that thronged about Him; for “virtue” had come out of Him, and she felt it in herself. Only this kind of know ledge possesses “the excellency,” for it is connected with justification, as was intimated by Isaiah; and it is “eternal life,” as declared by Jesus. Isaiah 53:11; John 17:3. The apostle could not set so high a value on a mere external knowledge, or a mere acquaintanceship with the facts and dates of Christ's career. For it is quite possible for a man to want the element of living experience, and yet to be able to argue himself into a belief of the Messiahship of the Son of Mary; quite possible for him, without a saving interest in the themes of his study, to stand at the manger and prove the babe's true humanity; to gaze on His miracles, and deduce from them a divine commission, without bowing to its authority; ay, and to linger by the cross, and see in it a mysterious and complete expiation, without accepting the pardon and peace which the blood of atonement secures. Still further-
καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ “and the power of His resurrection.” It is an odd notion of Bengel that ἀνάστασις is not resurrection, but exortus sive adventus Messioe. The power of His resurrection is not, as Grotius and Matthies say, the power which caused His resurrection, or which was put forth upon Him, or was experienced by Him when He rose again. It is the power which belongs to His resurrection; that is, the power which His resurrection has or puts forth on those who are in Him, and who are justified by faith in Him. But what is its sphere of operation? Meyer confines it to justification, and the evidence which it affords of it, as in Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:17; Acts 13:37-38. Storr, De Wette, and Schinz restrict it especially to triumph over death-2 Corinthians 4:10; while Wiesinger takes it to be that power which the apostle aims at experiencing in himself, by the renunciation of all that belongs to the old man and the flesh, so as to attain to the object indicated in Philippians 3:11. Lastly; others, as van Hengel, identify it with the spiritual power of regeneration.
If the phrase be connected closely with the previous context, then each of these views is more restricted than that context warrants. The knowledge which the apostle coveted is allied to his previous purpose to gain Christ, and to be found in Him, possessed of a righteousness accepted by faith. The power of Christ's resurrection will therefore have respect to those prior points of character or state. The apostle counted all things but vile refuse, that he might gain Christ -Christ in contrast with elements of proud and self-righteous Jewish confidence. May it not be inferred, that the apostle refers to the power of His resurrection in vindication of His Christship? It proved Him to be the promised Messiah. He also coveted to be found in Him-in union with Him; and His resurrection may be viewed in its vivifying power. At least the resurrection of the Lord is viewed in that aspect in the two epistles written about the same period- that to the Ephesians, Ephesians 1:19-20, and that to the Colossians, Colossians 2:11-12. To be in Christ is to enjoy newness of life; and to know the power of His resurrection may be to feel more vividly the pulsations of this existence, or, as Wiesinger says, “this manifestation of the life of Jesus.” Then there is no doubt that the apostle refers to the power of His resurrection as giving a warrant for our justification; for it not only proved his mission to be divine, but it proclaimed the success of His mediatorial work.
But perhaps the phrase is in closer connection with what succeeds-fellowship with his sufferings, and conformity to His death. The idea of suffering and death naturally precedes that of resurrection. Christ suffered and died and rose again, and the apostle covets to know the participation of his sufferings, being conformed to His death. In referring to his own experience, he reverses the order of the historical facts-points to the result so dear to him, before he alludes to the previous stages-
καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν τῶν παθημάτων αὐτοῦ “and the fellowship of His sufferings,” that is, “and to know” the fellowship of His sufferings. It is plain that fellowship does not mean fruition, as it would if the idea of Calovius were sustained, that the fellowship of His sufferings is the appropriation of their atoning merits. Nor is it a spiritual participation, as Bengel and Zanchius suppose, and take from Galatians 2:20. Nor is it, as Matthies and van Hengel assume, suffering endured for Christ's sake- cruciatibus Christi causa subeundis. Nor is there any necessity, on the part of Hoelemann and others, to throw in any expression corresponding to δύναμιν in the preceding clause-neither vim et pondus, nor dulcedinem ac sanctitatem, nor honorem, as is done by Am Ende and Jaspis; nor yet, as Bengel puts it- und einsehen dass Ich wie Christus Leiden erdulden muss -the perception that I, like Christ, must endure suffering.
The general idea is much the same as that which occurs in Colossians 1:24. A share in Christ's actual sufferings was impossible to him. But the sufferings of Christ were not ended -they are prolonged in his body, and of those the apostle desired to know the fellowship. He longed so to suffer, for such fellowship gave him assimilation to his Lord, as he drank of His cup, and was baptized with His baptism. It brought him into communion with Christ, purer, closer, and tenderer than simple service for Him could have achieved. It gave Him such solace as Christ Himself enjoyed. To suffer together creates a dearer fellow-feeling than to labour together. Companionship in sorrow forms the most enduring of ties,-afflicted hearts cling to each other, grow into each other. The apostle yearned for this likeness to his Lord, assured that to suffer with Him was to be glorified with Him, and that the depth of His sympathies could be fully known only to such as “through much tribulation” must enter the kingdom. Christ indeed cannot be known, unless there be this fellowship in His sufferings.
συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ . This form of the participle has higher authority (such as A, B, D 1 ) than συμμορφούμενος , or than the συνφορτίζομενος of F and G. The participle is connected with γνῶναι , and not with εὑρεθῶ . The present participle, dependent on γνῶναι , carries the idea “while I am being made conformable to His death.” The use of the nominative makes an anacolouthon, and this form of syntax is frequent with the apostle. Winer, § 63, I.2, a. Wiesinger virtually denies that there is any reference to the apostle's martyrdom; at least he thinks that the phrase can be explained without any such allusion. Others, with van Hengel and Rilliet, take it in a spiritual sense, the last saying - en subissant dans sa propre vie le changement qui doit résulter pour le chrétien l'appropriation qu'il se fait a lui-même de la mort de son Maître. But perhaps what he has already said in the previous chapter may bring us to an opposite conclusion. Nor can the phrase be explained simply by the language in Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24, where our Lord uses a striking figure; nor by the diction of the apostle in Romans 6:3; Romans 6:5. The clause has a closer connection with the declaration made by the apostle in 2 Corinthians 4:10-11. This conformity to His death accompanies the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. The death of Jesus was ever before the apostle's mind, and he died daily. The process of conformity was advancing;-like Him in suffering, like Him in death-a violent and bloody death as a servant of God. It mattered not what its external form was-whether by the sword or the cross, at the stake or on the arena; whether it was the fate of Stephen or the end of James, the similarity desired was one of spirit and state. In all things Paul coveted conformity to His Lord-even in suffering and death. Assured that Christ's career was the noblest which humanity had ever witnessed, or had ever passed through, he felt a strong desire to resemble Him-as well when He suffered as when He laboured-as well in His death as in His life. Christ's death was a sacrifice, and his own was contemplated in the same light “I am now ready to be offered.” Christ's decease at Jerusalem was characterized by unfaltering submission to the will of God, complete devotion to the welfare of humanity, and generous forgiveness of His murderers; so, no doubt, the apostle gained his wish, and the martyrdom at Rome was signalized by a similar calmness and faith-met with a serenity which the apparatus of death could not disturb, and accompanied with such intercession for his executioners as Jesus had offered, and the first martyr had imitated.
(Philippians 3:11.) Εἴπως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν “If anyhow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This form of the Greek reading has the highest authority, having in its favour A, B, D, E. The conjunction εἴπως does not imply doubt, as is supposed by Grotius and van Hengel, nor yet does it formally denote final purpose, as Theodoret supposes. Winer, § 41, 4, b. It is sometimes followed by the optative-Acts 27:12 -but here, not, as some suppose, by the future indicative, but by the aorist subjunctive. The verb, in its literal sense, “to come down or opposite to,” is followed by the simple accusative in Acts 20:15, but more usually by εἰς , both in its literal and tropical signification. It denotes, to reach to the possession of, here, to obtain as an earnestly desired result. Ephesians 4:13. The object to be obtained is ἐξανάστασις -a compound term only used here, and giving greater vividness to the image. The verb occurs in a different sense, signifying to raise up into existence, as in Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28. Why the apostle should use a different word from that of the preceding verse, it is difficult to say. Some, without any authority, as Grotius and Rosenmüller, give the word the meaning of resurrectio plena; others, as Bengel, distinguish it from the simple term, thus- Christo ἀνάστασις , Christiano ἐξανάστασις . Theophylact presents the notion ἐξ - εἰς τὸν ἀέρα . The later Greek was fond of compound terms. It is as if he fancied himself laid in a tomb, and resurrection to him suggested the image of being brought up and out of that tomb, an image made more prominent by the words τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν . The context with such phraseology as “the power of His resurrection,” “being made conformable to His death,” forbids us to adopt the notion of Balduin, Cocceius, van Hengel, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others, that the noun refers to spiritual or ethical resurrection. The last verse of the chapter brings out more fully the idea which the apostle seems to have had in his mind. The exegesis of van Hengel is, si forte perveniam ad tempus reditus mortuorum in vitam “if perchance I may come to the time of the return of the dead to life,” that is, the time when Jesus shall return for this purpose. He is therefore compelled to take the previous clause in a spiritual sense-as if the meaning were, that he wished to die to the world-so that, escaping danger, he might live on to the second advent. The hypothesis does not hang well together, nor can the language at all justify it. In the use of the verb time is implied, but time not as the object to be reached. In Ephesians 4:13, quoted by van Hengel, the idea is not, till we arrive at the time when-but till we arrive at the consummation itself-that consummation being imaged as future. Time is the implied or subordinate idea in the clause. Acts 26:7. The reference is to the resurrection of the Just- Luke 20:35 -that resurrection described also in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, etc. The resurrection of the dead was an article of his former creed, which the apostle did not need to change on his conversion. Acts 23:6. But it was the resurrection to eternal life secured by Christ, that the apostle aspired to reach. A glorious privilege-to rise out of the ashes of the tomb, and meet the descending Lord, to assume a body which is a fitting home for the pure and perfect soul, to pass into heaven arrayed in an entire humanity, and to feel in the resurrection that augmented happiness which is the crown of redemption! This blessed consummation the apostle aspired to reach. Nothing if possible should keep him from reaching it. And the aspiration is closely connected with the preceding verse. 2 Timothy 2:12. Such participation in Christ's sufferings so identifies the sufferer with Him, that the power of His resurrection is necessarily experienced. Such conformity to His death secures conformity to His resurrection-
“This I will find, we two are so joined,
He'll not be in glory, and leave me behind.”
Now this burst of individual rapture must not be taken as the index of overweening and self-deluded confidence. Every one was not precisely in his circumstances, or endowed with his temperament; though certainly his train of emotions has presented in outline the grand features of the Christian life. But though the change on him had been so decided, and had brought with it such a complete revolution of opinion that what had been gain was now reckoned loss, nay, held to be as refuse; though the present Paul was so wholly another man from the former Saul; and though his aspirations for universal likeness to his Lord were so vehement and continuous, yet did he not complacently regard himself as having reached perfection. He felt that, deep though his convictions were, they might be deepened; that eager though his longings were, they might still be intensified. His aim was to be found in Christ, justified by a Divine righteousness; but he was only reaching a full realization of this union, and had not gathered all its blessed fruits. His experience was ample, but it admitted still of amplification; his sufferings had been many and various, but they had not reached their climax in a death like his Lord's; his happiness was great, but its measure was not filled up, nor could it reach its consummation till the resurrection of the just- ἡ ἀνάστασις ἡ πρώτη . So that, lest he should be misunderstood, he adds in explanation-
(Philippians 3:12.) Οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον , ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι “Not that I already have attained, either already have been perfected.” The phrase οὐχ ὅτι warns against misconception. John 7:22; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Philippians 4:17. It is almost equivalent to οὐκ ἐρῶ - οὐ λέγω . Bernhardy, p. 352; Winer, § 64, 6; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 804. In the verb ἔλαβον there is the idea of laying hold of something before him which he had not yet reached “Nor have I been perfected.” He had not yet realized the Divine ideal. The verb ἔλαβον has no formal accusative, and its object is left in vagueness. To what then does the apostle refer? The reference is supposed by De Wette, Robinson, and van Hengel, to be to the “excellent knowledge”-a reference not only too remote, but severed by many intermediate objects of aspiration. Nor can we refer the verb to Χριστόν , with Theodoret; nor with Rheinwald to the resurrection; nor with Matthies to the attainment of it, for in that case the expression would be a truism; nor yet with Grotius to the jus resurrectionis, for it would imply too low an estimate of the apostle's faith and privilege. Nor, with Hoelemann, can we take it to be simply moral perfection. More readily would we, with Calvin and Alford, refer it to the previous general statement, for the paragraph itself seems to contain the reference. The figure of the race and its prize rose up directly to the apostle's mind, and as he is about to give it shape, other ideas intrude themselves and claim a prior expression; that is to say, what the apostle had not yet attained to is what he has been describing in the previous verses, but that now especially imaged to his mind as the prize given to one who is victor in the race-course. In the first clause of the 13th verse the apostle resumes the figure, and in a few vivid touches completes it. We agree, then, with Bengel, Am Ende, Rilliet, and Meyer, that βραβεῖον is really the object, as would seem also to be indicated by the use of διώκω more generally in this verse, and more pointedly in the 14th verse. In the repetition of ἤδη the apostle emphasizes the notion-that at the present moment he did not regard himself as perfected. The first verb is an aorist, and keeps its proper past signification, while the second, in the perfect tense, takes up the same thought, and brings it down to the present time. At no past period could I say that “I attained;” nay, “up to the present moment, I have not been perfected.” Winer, § 40, 5, α , β .It serves no purpose, with Hammond, Rilliet, and others, to give τετελείωμαι a technical reference to the stadium. It is better explained by the various but unwarranted reading- ἢ ἤδη δεδικαίωμαι . But defect begets effort-
διώκω δὲ , εἰ καὶ καταλάβω , ἐφ᾿ ᾧ καὶ κατελήφθην ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ “but I press on, if indeed I may seize that, for which also I was seized by Christ.” Δέ here connects two thoughts-the latter no negation of the former, but still of an opposite nature. Klotz, Devarius, 2.360. The verb διώκω is employed to express the intense action of the runner in the stadium, and may be either taken absolutely or with an ideal βραβεῖον . Kypke in loc.; Lucian, Hermot. 77; Loesner in loc. For the phrase εἰ καί see under Philippians 2:17. The double use of the verb is Pauline (1 Corinthians 13:12); the compound verb ( κατα ) deepens the sense, while the καί seems to bring out this idea “If over and above this pressing on I may also seize the prize;” or, as De Wette says, it may correspond to the καί of the following clause. Some difficulty lies in the formula ἐφ᾿ ᾧ , and various meanings have been assigned to it. The meaning of “because that”- propterea quod -has been preferred by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Am Ende, Meyer, and Bisping; others, as OEcumenius and Rheinwald, give it the sense “whereto,” or “in order to which”- quo consilio; while Calvin is followed by van Hengel in affixing the more general sense of quemadmodum. The two former meanings may both be justified by abundant usage. Examples of the first may be found in Romans 5:12; 2 Corinthians 5:4; Matthew 19:9; Acts 4:21;-and of the second, Galatians 5:13; Philippians 4:10, etc. Winer, § 48, c, d; Krüger, § 68, 41. If we adopt the first interpretation, then the verb is supposed to be used somewhat absolutely “If indeed I may seize, because indeed I was seized by Christ.” In the other case an object or antecedent is supposed “If indeed I may also seize that, in order to which I was also seized myself by Christ.” The Syriac has למֶרֶםדמֶתֻלותֶה “that for the sake of which.” The second signification, adopted by Rilliet, Ellicott, and Alford, is preferable “I press on to seize the prize, to attain which Christ seized me.” This gives a closer connection than the other method. This second καί , as Ellicott suggests, is not connected with a supposed ἐγώ , nor yet with the verb, but with the preceding relative “for which, too, for which very salvation I was apprehended.” He means to say, not merely that he pursues a certain course of action because he has been converted, but because this course of action is in unison with the purpose of his conversion. Christ seized him, that he might seize the prize. The apostle's conversion is no less graphically than truly represented as a seizure. The Lord laid hold on him with a sharp and sudden grasp, and ever afterwards wielded him at His pleasure. He was overtaken in the vicinity of Damascus-the vision of Jesus produced instantaneous conviction, and with a force which convulsed him as he fell to the earth. It was not a slow and calm process of judgment, a prolonged and delicate balancing of arguments, or a daily ripening of views and opinions as the mists gradually cleared away, but the shock of a moment, which so changed his entire nature as to make him an utter contrast to his previous self. And Jesus grasped him, that he might grasp the prize. His aim was in unison with his destiny, that aim being to seize the prize as completely as the Master had seized him, while to this very destiny had he been converted and set apart. Some of the Greek Fathers introduce the idea, that Paul was fleeing from Christ when he was arrested. Thus Chrysostom- καὶ γὰρ αὐτὸς ἡμᾶς ἐδίωκε φεύγοντας αὐτόν ; but there is no ground for such a supplementary image. Not content with what he has uttered, he still proceeds in the same spirit-
(Philippians 3:13.) ᾿Αδελφοὶ , ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν οὐ λογίζομαι κατειληφέναι “Brethren, I do not reckon myself to have attained,” or “to have laid hold.” The apostle writes ἀδελφοί in his affectionate confidence, as if he had felt that in the experiences of the Christian life official rank did not raise him above them. He clasps them to him, as he unfolds the earnest struggles and ambition of his soul, and repeats the previous sentiment. The phrase ἐγὼ ἐμαυτόν is emphatic in its form and position. Winer, § 44, 3; John 5:30; John 7:17. It is the apostle's deliberate opinion of himself-the result of a formal judgment about himself. One is almost tempted to adopt the idea of Zanchius- audio inter vos nonnullos esse qui fastidientes doctrinam evangelii jactant sese jam satis novisse Christum -I, for my part, make no such boast. The form οὔπω for οὐ appears to be an exegetical alteration. Self-complacency was no feature of the apostle's character. He was not injured by undue elation, either from his labours or his honours-his sufferings or his successes-his history or his prospects-the grace he enjoyed or the spiritual gifts he had conveyed. The reason is, he looked not to the past, but to the future; not at what had been, but what was still to be. He viewed not so much the progress made as the progress still to be made- surveyed rather the distance yet before him-between him and the goal, than the space that now lay behind him-between him and the starting-point. Truly a correct and salutary mode of measurement- nil actum reputans, dum quid superesset agendum. Satisfaction is fatal to progress. But the apostle, in looking forward to the “mark,” and conscious, too, that he was yet at some distance from it, did not dream away his energies, or content himself with wondering either why he was not nearer the prize, or when he should reach it. But he adds the following sentiment with a noble ardour, kindled by the image he employed, and throwing its glow over the words he writes. The picture is that of a racer in his agony of struggle and hope! You see him!-every muscle strained, and every vein starting-the quick and short heaving of his chest- the big drops gathered on his brow-his body bending forward, as if with frantic gesture he already clutched the goal-his eye, now glancing aside with a momentary sparkle at objects so rapidly disappearing behind him, and then fixing itself on the garland in eager anticipation. The apostle is not leaving “the things behind,” but he is “forgetting” them: he is not merely looking to “the things which are before,” but he is “reaching forth” unto them; not only does he run, but he “presses toward the mark;” nor was he occupied, weakened, or delayed, by a variety of pursuits “this one thing I do.” Quicquid voluit, valde voluit.
(Philippians 3:14.) ῝Εν δέ “But one thing I do.” Such, with so many expositors, we regard as the proper supplement; not ἐστί , with Beza; nor λογίζομαι , with Heinrichs; nor the following verb διώκω , with Pierce and van Hengel. Van Hengel insists that διώκω must have an expressed accusative; and not being used absolutely, it must govern ἕν . On the other hand, see Buttmann's Lexilogus, p. 232. Nor with Matthies and Hoelemann can we take it absolutely- Eins aber, unum contra -nor find with Rheinwald an instance of aposiopesis. Winer, § 66, 1, b. There was unity of action, and therefore assurance of success; his energies were not dissipated; his eye was single, and therefore his progress in the race was visible-
τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθανόμενος “forgetting the things behind.” The use of the compound middle verb is Pauline, the preposition giving the image of “over and beyond,” and so intensifying the idea of the simple verb. It here governs the accusative, though the simple form takes the genitive. Bernhardy, p. 181. By the phrase τὰ ὀπίσω are not to be understood the things which in Philippians 3:5-7 the apostle has already condemned: for these things-that is, trust in lineage, blood, sect, zeal, and law-belonged to an antecedent period altogether. The apostle had not then entered on the course. The “things behind” are in the Christian race, and are the earlier and past attainments of his Christian life-things left behind since he had listened to the high summons, and commenced to run. His conversion was the point at which he started, and he describes by “things behind,” his attainments and progress from that moment up to the present epoch of his life. “Behind” measures the distance from the period at which he writes, back to the day when he heard the words “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” These past attainments were forgotten; that is, the apostle did not rest and luxuriate in them-Upward and onward was his motto. The term “forgetting” is used with special reference to the figure here employed, for the apostle cherished the memory of former manifestations, and thanked God for the least of them. But in his Christian course he did not repose on memories. What had been gained was only an excitement to farther progress. While he did not despise “the day of small things,” he laboured to hasten on to the day of large things,-
τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενος “but stretching forth to the things before.” The participle ἐπεκτεινόμενος , followed by the dative of direction, carries in it a vivid image-the keen attitude of the racer stretching his body out- ἐκ -and toward - ἐπί -the goal. The things that are in front are not the prize, as some suppose, but the things that lie between him and the prize, along the distance which is still to be gone over ere he reach the goal. The apostle did not detain himself with things behind, nor did he linger among things round about him, but he stretched forward to things which he had not yet reached. Progress was made by him, and that progress is still the law of the Christian life. Never satisfied, still a sense of want; never saying, Enough, but still crying More; forward and yet forward, and nearer and yet nearer the mark. This being his ruling passion-
κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω ἐπὶ τὸ βραβεῖον τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ “Toward the mark I press on, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Σκοπός is found only in this place. Κατὰ σκοπόν is “in the direction of the mark,” and is not to be rendered “according to my aim,” with Pierce, following Augustine's secundum intentionem; or “in a prescribed course,” with Peile; or “along the mark,” that is, within the marked line, with Macknight. Bisping distorts the figure when he makes the σκοπός Christ Himself: it is the calx or τέρμα . The noun σκοπός is used in the Septuagint for the Hebrew מַטָּרָה , H4766, to denote the point which an archer aims at. Job 16:12-13; Lamentations 3:12. The prize is to be found only at the goal, and to that goal the racer ever strives. If he move away from the course prescribed, he misses the mark, and loses the garland: for racing is not recreation, where one may turn aside as fancy leads him; the path is chalked out, the law of the course must be observed, and the aim and effort must always be κατὰ σκοπόν . While this phrase marks the aim of the race, the words ἐπὶ τὸ βραβεῖον express the final object, the coveted crown. “Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown.” The prize is certainly eternal perfection and blessedness- “an incorruptible crown.” It is to be enjoyed only at the termination of the course. And surely it is sufficient to stimulate ardour, and sustain energy, since it is the realization of man's highest destiny-the woe and sin of the fall not merely neutralized, but a higher glory conferred than the first man of our race originally enjoyed; not the first Adam, but the second Adam being the type as well as the author of the new life with its glory. For the prize is that of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus -
τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ “of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The prize, as the genitive indicates, is connected with the Divine calling. Meyer calls it the genitive of subject. According to De Wette, κλῆσις is not the act of calling, but that to which one is called. But the place adduced in proof by him and others, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, is no proof, for the word there, as elsewhere, is the act of calling. Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:1. The adverb ἄνω characterizes the call, and the phrase is parallel to Hebrews 3:1. Grotius, Rheinwald, and van Hengel take ἄνω as ἄνωθεν “from above,” but without ground. We cannot agree with Meyer in regarding the adverb as pointing out the specialty of the apostle's own call and conversion; for though he details his own experience, he summons the church to imitate him, and virtually admits in the injunction of the next verse, that they too were to run the race, so as to obtain the prize of their high calling. The call is “above”- ἄνω -and stands in contrast to what is below. Sin is degradation, for what is ignorance but lowness of mind; or sensuality but lowness of heart; or misery but lowness of spirit? But this calling exists in a sphere of moral elevation, high or heavenly in its connection with the most High God, by whom it is issued to men. Colossians 3:1-2. Nor can we acquiesce in the view of Chrysostom, followed by Meyer, that ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ is to be connected with διώκω . The Greek Father remarks- ἐν Χριστῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ τοῦτο ποιῶ , φησιν . But the words are far separated, and the natural union is with κλῆσις - ἐν marking its medium or sphere of operation. Such a construction does not need the repetition of the article, of which usage Winer has given many examples. § 20, 2. Nor is this further definition of the calling superfluous, as Meyer argues. The call is described in an ideally local aspect as high, then it is asserted to be the call of God. But it is not a call of naked Godhead, of bare Divine authority; it approaches us in Christ Jesus. It is from God-a Divine summons that pierces the spirit and ensures compliance, but it is in Christ, for it is a call which the blood of Christ consecrates, and to which His grace gives effect. 1Co 7:22 ; 1 Peter 5:10. It is hard to say whether the apostle carries the figure so fully out as Grotius, Hoelemann, Am Ende, and others suppose, to wit, that he represents God as βραβευτής , summoning by heralds the runners into the course. Only Meyer's argument against it cannot hold, for he objects, that in such a case the calling would be common to all Christians, a conclusion which we believe. Nor is De Wette's objections of higher moment, when he says that such a view would necessitate the taking of κλῆσις as the act of calling, for this is the translation which we hold as the correct one.
(Philippians 3:15.) ῞Οσοι οὖν τέλειοι , τοῦτο φρονῶμεν “Let as many of us therefore as are perfect think this.” Οὖν introduces the inference based on a retrospect. The use of τέλειος is striking, especially in contrast with τετελείωμαι in the 12th verse. There, he says “Not as if I had taken the prize, or were already perfected;” and now he says “Let as many as are perfect,” not “as many as would, or wish to be perfect,” as Peile and Macknight translate. The adjective has plainly a somewhat different sense from the verb. The adjective refers to relative, but the verb to absolute perfection. The one is predicated of him who is in the race and has made some progress; and the other of him who has reached the goal and taken the prize. Perfecti viatores, says Augustine, nondum perfecti possessores. The apostle's use of the term sanctions this idea. He elsewhere speaks of two classes in the church “babes and perfect men.” 1 Corinthians 2:6; Ephesians 4:12-13; Hebrews 5:13-14. The terms νήπιος and τέλειος are in contrast. See also 1 Corinthians 14:20. In the first passage referred to, the allusion is to respective degrees or attainments in knowledge. It is too restricted a view, on the part of Heinrichs, Rheinwald, and Conybeare, to adopt such an illusion here, as it is not of knowledge solely, but also of Christian experience generally, that the apostle has been speaking. Chrysostom well says, οὐ περὶ δογμάτων ἀλλὰ περὶ βίου τελειότητος . The phrase ὅσοι - τέλειοι does not mean we who are perfect, but “as many of us as are perfect,” leaving it to each of themselves to determine whether the epithet be applicable to him or not. The perfect ones, among whom by the idiom he employs he places himself, are those who have burst the fetters of intellectual and spiritual bondage; who have made some advancement in the divine life; who are acquainted with the higher forms of truth, and are no strangers to the impulses and powers of divine grace; who are the circumcision; who, by the Spirit, worship God; who are conscious of union with Christ, of possessing righteousness through faith in Him, and some measure of conformity to Him, and who cherish through Him the hope of a happy resurrection. And perhaps, if we take in the previous context, the imperfect are those whose minds had not been able so fully to rise above all confidence in the flesh; who still thought circumcision might not be wholly without value; who would scruple to count all such things dead and positive loss, but hankered after some of them; and who, in formally renouncing them, secretly or unawares clung to them, and might not distinctly comprehend the freeness, adaptation, and perfection of that righteousness which is through the faith of Christ. They could not be perfect runners in that course which the apostle has traced, for they had not laid aside “every weight.” They were entangled at every step, and progress was impeded. Wiesinger's view is different. He supposes that a believer is called τέλειος , not in a comparative sense, but solely on account of that moral nature which he has received through fellowship with Christ, and that his being τέλειος is the strongest call to strive after the τελειοῦσθαι . The general truth is correct, but the statement does not invalidate what we have said. The language used by the apostle - ὅσοι -intimates that all were not τέλειοι in the Philippian church; the idea of relative progress is therefore involved. Nor does it, as Wiesinger objects, in any way give countenance to self-esteem, for he neither names the τέλειοι , nor points out precisely in what their perfection consists. On the other hand, he classes himself among the τέλειοι , and yet he has declared of himself that he was yet not perfected. In fact, the perfect one was only in the way of being perfected; none knew his imperfection so much, or felt it so deeply, and therefore he strove with quenchless ardour to move fleetly onward to the end of the race, and obtain the crown. For one may be perfect in aim, and yet be far from realizing it. The perfection referred to was such a progress as vividly showed defect; such a stage in the race as revealed most painfully the distance lying still in front; such light which, as it grew, served also to enlarge the circle of darkness round about it. Chrysostom's notion is peculiar “What means the word? ( τέλειος ). This-that we should forget those things which are behind. Therefore it belongs to him who is perfect, not to regard himself as perfect:”-
τοῦτο φρονῶμεν “let us be of this mind.” The reference in the pronoun is disputed, some making it of wider, and others of narrower extent. Calvin, Aretius, Zanchius, Hoelemann, and others down to De Wette, take it from the previous context. Thus Vatablus- hoc justitiam esse non ex lege, sed ex fide Christi. De Wette glances especially at Philippians 3:8-11, while van Hengel restricts τοῦτο to βραβεῖον , and gives φρονῶμεν the unwarranted sense of expetamus. With Meyer we regard the special reference to be that which had just been said, beginning with Philippians 3:12. Let this be our thought, not to sit down satisfied with past progress, but heedless of it, and feeling as if nothing were done till all were done, to speed uniformly onward to higher attainment. And yet there is no question that all the previous verses of the chapter are closely connected; and it is implied that, in order so to feel, and so to act, so to think of the past, and so to throw himself into the future, one must be found in Christ, and be filled with ardent desire to know Him and the power of His resurrection. If he be a Jew, he must abandon trust in external privilege, and cling unreservedly to Jesus. When he loses, then shall he gain, and having won Christ, he is to go “from strength to strength,” until, having attained to the resurrection from the dead, his whole nature is crowned with perfection. As these various attainments floated before the apostle's mind, the pursuit of them gradually assumed a pointed form, and took the image of a race-a race which demands vigilant perseverance from all who have entered upon it; and this, the untiring energy of acquisition or progress, was to be a deep and permanent thought within every one of them.
καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε “and if in any respect ye think otherwise.” The conjunction εἰ is followed by the indicative implying condition, simply and purely, “if, as may be the case.” Winer, § 41, 2; Klotz, Devarius, 2.455. Τι is the accusative of reference, and that reference is certainly not to any essential points of doctrine, but to aspects of truth or elements of spiritual experience, which the apostle has been presenting. They might not see those relations of truth so clearly as the apostle, and their convictions might not be so profound, or their progress so rapid and uniform. The adverb ἑτέρως is only used here in the New Testament. This meaning has been assigned to the phrase by Hunnius and others- si qui vestrum a falsis doctoribus vobis aliter persuaderi passi estis. The person of the verb is changed, but there is no reason to suppose, with Bengel, Hoelemann, and Rilliet, that the same class of persons is not addressed, and that the νήπιοι are now appealed to. The apostle excludes himself, and so could not use the first person plural. Van Hengel, following out the meaning he assigns to the verb, renders in bald Latin - si quid boni per aliam viam expetitis. To disprove this position, there is no occasion with Meyer to introduce one use of ἑτέρως as meaning adversus. He might also have adduced its occasional employment as a euphemism for κακός . Passow, sub voce. For the true idea is brought out simply by the implied contrast. This difference must be wrong, so far as it does not correspond with the apostle's mind, and the amount of error is just in proportion to the amount of difference; and that it is wrong, is also shown from the apostle's expectation, that God would set them right. The revelation which the apostle promises they should enjoy, had for its purpose to remove such disagreement, and bring them to his mind. Chrysostom's explanation is- τουτέστιν εἰ δέ τις νομίζει τὸ πᾶν κατωρθωκέναι . But this is by far too limited a notion, for it is not so much the spirit in which perfection is to be sought that the apostle refers to, as the way in which to reach it by a knowledge of its constituent element. The apostle thus takes for granted that there might be a difference, and it must have been one not wholly of minor moment, or one which their own judgment, or sense of duty or propriety, might rectify. For he predicts-
καὶ τοῦτο ὁ Θεὸς ὑμῖν ἀποκαλύψει “yea, this shall God reveal to you.” Meyer quotes Hartung, i. p. 135, for rendering καί auch noch; as if the idea were-as God had already revealed other things, so will He also reveal this. Such is also the view of Alford, and Ellicott in his commentary, though not in his translation. We prefer the rendering “even this” -this matter of difference in which they were wrong,-yea, this God would reveal to them. But what is the reference in τοῦτο -what is it that God would reveal? Is it the fact that they were otherwise minded, as OEcumenius and Fritzsche suppose, or is it the measure of difference, that God should reveal? The reference is to τι . When they read the vivid record of the apostle's experience, they might at once, and of themselves, discover what want of harmony was between them and him. But the meaning of the apostle is, that God, by revealing the difference and showing the fault of it, would remove it. The verb ἀποκαλύψει is future, and has not the optative sense which some would give it. It predicts or promises divine illumination. Winer, § 40, 6; Ephesians 1:17. Such spiritual enlightenment was frequent in those times, when the written oracles of the New Testament were not in circulation, and indeed is needed at all times, to give the mind a just and abiding perception of the truth. Psa 25:9 ; 1 John 2:20. It is plain, therefore, that the difference of view was not some wilful and wicked misconception, or some wretched prejudice, adhered to with inveterate or malignant obstinacy. It was rather some truth not fully seen in all its bearings-some principle not so perceived as to be carried out in all its details and consequences-some department of duty which they might apprehend rather than appreciate - or some state of mind which they might admire in the apostle, but did not really covet for themselves. The apostle throws his own teaching into the shade, and ascribes the coming enlightenment to God. He might have taught them the necessary lesson, or it might be found in the previous details of the chapter, or Epaphroditus on returning might be commissioned to explain and enforce it; yet all might be insufficient, and therefore the work is taken out of man's hand, and the needed insight is declared to be the gift of the Father of Lights. Chrysostom puts the distinction well- ὁ Θεὸς ὑμᾶς πείσει οὐχὶ διδάξει ἁπλῶς· ἐδίδασκε μὲν γὰρ ὁ Παῦλος , ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Θεὸς ἐνῆγε .
(Philippians 3:16.) Πλὴν εἰς ὃ ἐφθάσαμεν , τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν “Howbeit, whereto we have attained, by the same do ye walk.” The Received Text adds κανόνι , τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν . The words are omitted in A and B, in the Coptic and AEthiopic versions, and by Hilary and Augustine. There are other forms of various reading;-D, E, F, G omit κανόνι , and there are several transpositions. These incidents serve to prove an interpolation, taken probaby from Galatians 6:16 and Philippians 2:2. The adverb πλήν is rendered τέως , “meanwhile,” by Chrysostom, and interim by Estius and Beelen, but without sufficient warrant in usage, though it may bear such a sense inferentially. See under Philippians 1:18. “Nevertheless,” “even though there be those who are otherwise minded.” The infinitive, as in στοιχεῖν , may be used for the imperative, but that only in the second person. Krüger, § 55, I.1, Anm. 5; Kühner, § 644, a. There is an undertone of desire or wish, and on this such a use of the infinitive depends. It is needless, on the part of Bengel, Am Ende, and Rheinwald, to supply δεῖ . The verb φθάνω has its complement in εἰς -though sometimes with ἐπί in reference to persons. The reference in ἐφθάσαμεν has been variously understood. The apostle has been supposed to refer to revelations of knowledge, or to attainments in the spiritual life. That is to say, the reference may be to the last verse, or, generally, to the preceding context. But ere we look at this question, there are two opposite modes of connection which may be briefly glanced at.
1. As στοιχεῖν is in the infinitive, some would make it dependent on the preceding verb ἀποκαλύψει . Fritzsche contends for this, and thus renders- praeterea instituet vos, ut, quam ego consecutus sum τῷ βραβείῳ intentam mentem, ejusdem participes fieri ipsi annitamini. Homberg thus shapes it- hoc sentiamus, non alio quam eodem canoni incedere et idem sentire. Photius, too, makes the στοιχεῖν the theme of the revelation. Meyer has remarked that the plural ἐφθάσαμεν is fatal to such an exegesis. Besides, the syntax would certainly be involved and awkward.
2. Michaelis and Rilliet connect it with the next verse. But this connection also has little to recommend it. It is best to take the verse by itself as to its construction. But the question recurs as to what is supposed to be attained:-
1. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and, with some minor variations, Schinz and van Hengel, suppose the apostle to refer to the spiritual life and its progress. The apostle's figure is that of a race representing spiritual advancement, and he is now supposed to say “Do not deviate from that line, on which up to a certain point you have already made progress; but still persevere in it.” This is a great truth, as well as a solemn warning against deviation. To such a view, however, there are several objections. “They could not,” as Wiesinger observes, “be all at the same point of attainment;” each had made progress peculiar to himself-one behind and another farther on. But this deeper meaning cannot be deduced from the simple clause, εἰς ὃ ἐφθάσαμεν . The paraphrase, “on the line on which we have advanced to a given point, let us persevere,” is the assigning of a meaning rather than the evolution of it. The εἰς ὅ and τῷ αὐτῷ are not so correlated as to warrant such a sense, for εἰς ὅ is “up to the point,” and not along the line, we have attained. The use of στοιχεῖν will not, though Meyer insists on it, bear out this exegesis. Granted that it may be correlative with ἐφθάσαμεν , it does not of itself describe spiritual progress, but signifies simply to walk by step or rule, and is opposed to irregular or random motion. Taking into view the tenor of the apostle's remarks, the record of his own aspirations, and his earnest desire that in all their fervour they should be cherished by the Philippian church; and remembering his conviction that there was difference of opinion between them which prevented the completion of this harmony of view, and also his hope and expectation that the discrepancy would be cleared away by a divine enlightenment;-we imagine that when he speaks in the next breath of attainment, he refers to the point up to which there was oneness of mind among them, and exhorts them to walk according to it-according to the measure of their present knowledge.
2. Thus we agree with many expositors, who connect the verse closely with the one before it-as containing a cautionary counsel after a promise. Such is the view of De Wette, Rheinwald, Matthies, and Hoelemann. Then the two verbs are in contrast-the future in ἀποκαλύψει , and the aorist in ἐφθάσαμεν -that is, the apostle speaks of a future and farther enlightenment in connection with spiritual progress; but meanwhile he speaks of a degree of present light, and the duty consequent on the possession of it. The two verbs will then refer to the same thing. The revelation may contain new information, but it is also additional information. It presupposes a present amount of knowledge, and the apostle insists upon its use even prior to that accession of insight which God's illumination should bring. God shall reveal so as to clear up the difference, but that difference in some things implies a common agreement in other things, and up to this point to which we attained, let us walk.
The spirit of the warning or injunction is, that knowledge already enjoyed and proved in a spiritual race, should not lie dormant because it is defective. It needed not so much to be rectified, as to be supplemented. Therefore, as far as you have its guidance, take it. Walk up to the light you have, and you will get more. Walk with me so far as you discern the common path, and at the point of divergence God shall rightly direct you as to the subsequent course. He who employs what he has, prepares himself for further gifts. When the morning bursts suddenly on one wakened out of sleep, it dazzles and pains him; but to him who on his journey has blessed the dawn, and walked by its glimmer, the solar radiance brings with it a gradual and cheering influence. The following remarks of Neander will be read with interest: “Paul accordingly points to this truth, that the Spirit of God, who revealed to them the light of the Gospel, will perfect this His revelation in them, and conduct it to that mark of maturity in Christianity,-that He will yet more and more further them in true Christian knowledge, and even in that in which they still err and vary in opinion, will cause them to find the one right thing. We should not, therefore, precipitately enter into controversy, by which our distance from each other is so easily widened, and by which, through obstinate adherence to our once formed views, we so readily become hardened in opposition; much less should we condemn each other, but endeavour to preserve that unity of the Christian spirit, which is raised above all subordinate differences. To the common Teacher, the Holy Spirit, should all yield themselves, and all trust that He, who is the best Teacher, will yet more and more further them and each other. While all proceeds from the Divine foundation once laid, the unfolding and progressive purification of the Divine work should be left to the operation of the Holy Spirit, who first began it in each. No attempt should be made to do violence from without to the unfolding of the Divine life in another, which follows its own law, grounded in the specialities of his character; or substitute anything imposed from without, in place of the free development which proceeds from within. This would be tantamount to seeking to penetrate into the inmost soul of man by human arts of persuasion, which can avail nothing, where they find no sympathetic link in the already existing views of a man, and to bring forth what alone can be effected by the Holy Spirit, the inner Teacher, whom, without constraint and with the entire accord of their freedom, all follow. Everything, alike in each individual, proceeds only from the leavening process of the same leaven of Divine truth, which gradually shall pervade the whole spiritual life, expurgating every heterogeneous element. And when Paul here speaks of a revelation by the Holy Spirit, through which the progressive insight of the believer is effected, this has for its basis the truth, presupposed and expressed throughout Holy Scripture, that all Divine things can be known only in the light of the Holy Spirit; as he says elsewhere, ‘No man can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.’ The notion of revelation, however, before us, by no means excludes the agency of human thought, which developes and works out according to the laws of human reason, that which it has received from the Divine light. But it is assumed that the agency of man's spirit is inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, who is the soul of his whole spiritual life; hence all is referred to the Holy Spirit as cause, in so far as all originates in His revelation, guidance, and inspiration; all immediate or mediate progressive insight, proceeding from the Holy Spirit, is included in the notion of revelation.” On Philippians, p. 58; Edinburgh, 1851.
(Philippians 3:17.) Συμμιμηταί μου γίνεσθε , ἀδελφοί “Be together imitators of me, brethren.” 1 Corinthians 4:16; 1Co 11:1 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9. See also 1 Corinthians 10:6; 1Co 10:11 ; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7. Some difficulty lies in the reference contained in συν . With whom? Not, surely, as Bengel says- “followers with me of Christ,” for no such idea is expressed. Nor can we take it, with Meyer and Beelen, preceded by Estius, a-Lapide, and Theophylact, as signifying “along with others who follow me.” There is no allusion, either distinct or remote, to members of other churches. We prefer the view of Calvin, van Hengel, Hoelemann, De Wette, and Alford, that the apostle says-be followers, “one and all,” of me, or be unitedly imitators of me. If it be asked-in what? then the previous context may easily determine the question. Nay farther-
καὶ σκοπεῖτε τοὺς οὕτως περιπατοῦντας καθὼς ἔχετε τύπον ἡμᾶς “and observe those who walk in such a way as ye have us for an example.” Wherever they found the life of the apostle imitated or displayed, they were to mark it, and make it their pattern. Any excellence which they thus discovered, they might by God's grace attain to. It was not some distant spectacle which they were to gaze at and admire, but an embodiment of earnest faith, walking on the same platform with them, and speaking, acting, praying, suffering, and weeping among them. What had been possible to others, was surely not impossible to them. Why should they be behind in any gift or attainment, when the same means of acquisition were within their reach?
Τύπος means exemplar, as in several other places, and is in the singular, to express the unity of the pattern, though exhibited by a plurality of persons. Kühner, § 407, 2; Bernhardy, p. 60. In καθώς is expressed the manner implied in the previous οὕτως , and not, as Meyer says, an argument for the injunction in the first clause. The arguments of Meyer have been well disposed of by Alford. Meyer lays stress on ἔχετε as used instead of ἔχουσι ; but the apostle is writing to the Philippians, and does not merely say “Mark them that walk after our example,” but mark them who walk in such a way as ye see us walking; the τύπος , which these persons followed, is set directly before the Philippians as a model which they were to inspect, a standard which themselves are to apply to the conduct and character of others. The meaning then is-mark them which walk so, just as ye have us for an example (for “them” and “us” are evidently not the same class of persons), and not-be joint followers of me, and mark such as walk in unison with me, inasmuch as ye possess us as a pattern. By “us” we understand not the apostle himself, as Jaspis and Ellicott incline to believe-not “him and all who so walked,” for this last notion confounds those who set with those who followed the example; but the reference is-the apostle and those whom he was in the habit of identifying so closely with himself. Their example was in harmony with their teaching. They did not simply and timidly say, Walk as we bid you, but they boldly challenged inspection, and said, Walk as we do.
The reason why the apostle proposed his own example, and that of his associates, is now given by him. His life and theirs was in contrast with that of many others. There were men among them, professedly Christian, whose character was shamelessly sensual and secular. Motives of various kinds must have influenced not a few of the early converts, and brought them within the pale of the church. Novelty might have its share in producing a change which could be only superficial. Minds disgusted with gross superstitions and idolatries might relish the pure theism of the gospel, admire its benevolent and comprehensive ethics, and be entranced with its authoritative announcement of immortality. Yet they might not penetrate into its spirit, nor feel its transforming power. Change of opinion is not conversion, nor is the admiration of truth identical with the reception of its influence; while belief in immortality may create a distant cloudland where one may wander in fancy, and yet be far from inducing hearty and prolonged preparation for heaven. It seems, however, to be not speculative error in itself, but practical inconsistency, perhaps connected with or springing out of it, to which the apostle here refers. Already has he demonstrated the folly of trust in the flesh, of confidence in external privilege; and opening his bosom he has shown his own sensations-what he did once rely on, and might have still relied on. But what a revolution had passed over him; how he panted above all things to be found in Christ, to be justified by His righteousness; to know Him, and to be fully conformed to Him in life and death; how he relates that he is conscious of many shortcomings, that he is far from being what he hopes yet to be, but that, in the meanwhile, he spares no pains to realize his ideal, while he hopes that the Philippian church will exhibit the same earnest and unwearying effort! His mind naturally reverts to those who do not manifest this spirit; who live in the present, and for it; who prefer sensual gratification to spiritual enjoyment and prospect; and whose souls, so far from soaring in kindred aspiration with his, are absorbed in earthly things. The apostle felt that their sluggish and worldly life was fatal to them; nay, as his own attachment to the cross was the source of all his energy and eagerness, so he affirms that their low and grovelling state was the proof and the result of their enmity to the cross.
(Philippians 3:18.) Πολλοὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦσιν , οὓς πολλάκις ἔλεγον ὑμῖν , νῦν δὲ καὶ κλαίων λέγω , τοὺς ἐχθροὺς τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ “For many walk, of whom I often told (or used to tell) you, but now tell you even weeping, that they are those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” There is some peculiarity of syntax, which has given rise to various methods of construction. Rilliet, De Wette, Wiesinger, and others, following Erasmus, suppose a break in the expression, or rather, such a grammatical change as indicates that the apostle did not follow out his original intention. They suppose him to begin a description of a course of conduct, and then to glide away to a description of the persons. That is, in περιπατοῦσιν there is a reference to conduct, and some epithets characterizing that conduct might be expected to follow; but instead of these a relative sentence intervenes, and not the walk itself, but the persons who so walk, are then brought into view- “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” It is certainly simpler to regard τοὺς ἐχθρούς as placed in the accusative by its relation to ἔλεγον “I told you often before of them, and now weeping tell you of them, as the enemies of the cross of Christ.” In similar expressions ὅτι frequently intervenes, though the conceit of van Hengel to change οὕς into ὡς is wholly groundless. The verb περιπατοῦσιν stands emphatically, and without any added characteristic. It is awkward, on the part of Calvin, to connect it directly with one of the following clause, thus- περιπατοῦσιν - οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες -placing the intermediate words in parenthesis; and it dilutes the sense to subjoin κακῶς or ἑτέρως , or any other epithet. The verb is certainly to be taken in its usual tropical or ethical meaning, and is not, with Storr and Heinrichs, to be rendered circulantur “go about.” The apostle, in the previous verse, had referred to his own life and to those who walked like himself - τοὺς οὕτως περιπατοῦντας , and now he speaks of others who do not so walk. But he does not formally express the difference by an adverb-he does it more effectually by an entire clause. As he refers to them, their personality rises up vividly before him, and instead of characterizing their conduct, he pictures themselves. In this view the verb περιπατοῦσιν is in no way regarded as equivalent to εἰσί , though in using it the apostle sketches its subjects ere he describes its character. The introductory γάρ shows the connection, by stating a reason in the introduction of a contrast, “Mark them who walk like me, and there is the more need of this, for many are walking who must be branded as enemies of the cross of Christ, and to whom, in this aspect of their conduct, I have frequently directed your attention.” The persons referred to were not a few, but πολλοί “many;” and the apostle's mind was so oppressed with the idea of their number and criminality that he had often spoken of them. There were many of them, and he had many times mentioned them- πολλοί , πολλάκις . Lobeck, Paralipomena, pp. 56, 57. The apostle did not throw a veil over such enormities, nor did he apologize for them. The world might laugh at them, but he wept over them. He had frequently, and in firm tones, stigmatized them-either in former epistles, or more likely when he visited Philippi. The class of persons now referred to may not be those mentioned in the second verse, for these were probably teachers, distinguished by asceticism rather than by sensual indulgences. As the apostle thought of their flagrant inconsistencies, his eye filled, and tears fell upon the manuscript which his secretary was writing. “Wherefore weeping?” asks Chrysostom, and he answers “Because the evil was urgent, because such deserved tears”- ὅτι ἐπέτεινε τὸ κακόν , ὅτι δακρύων ἄξιοι οἱ τοιοῦτοι . Therefore the apostle uses no disguise-
νῦν δὲ καὶ κλαίων λέγω “but now even weeping.” More in grief than indignation did he refer to them. He wept as he thought of their lamentable end, of their folly and delusion, and of the miserable misconception they had formed of the nature and design of the gospel. He grieved that the gospel should, through them, be exposed to misrepresentation, that the world should see it associated with an unchanged and licentious life. The Lord had shed tears over devoted Jerusalem, and His apostle, in His spirit, wept over these incorrigible reprobates, who wore the name but were strangers to the spirit and power of Christianity. And they are, with one bold and startling touch, signalized as-
τοὺς ἐχθροὺς τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” The article gives the noun special prominence, or points out the class. The verb λεγώ does not, as Grotius and van Till render, signify to call “whom now weeping I call the enemies,” etc.- dolens appello hostes. Why should the apostle so characterize them, or why specify the cross as the prime object of their enmity? The words are more pointed and precise than Calvin supposes them to be, when he renders them simply evangelii hostes; or than Wilke imagines, when he supposes the “enemies” to be pseudo-apostles, who would not place their hopes of salvation in Christ's death, but on the observance of rites ex Judaeorum mente. Nor can we, with Rilliet and Bretschneider, regard them as non-Christians, for the context plainly supposes that they were within the pale of the church. As far wrong, on the one hand, is it for Heinrichs to consider them as Roman magistrates guilty of persecution, as, on the other hand, it is for a-Lapide to assert that they were members of the church in Corinth. As to the nature and form of this enmity:-
1. Many hold it to be doctrinal-to be a species of polemical antipathy to the cross. Theodoret says they are so named ὡς διδασκόντας ὅτι δίχα τῆς νομικῆς πολιτείας ἀδύνατον τῆς σωτηρίας τυχεῖν . Theodoret has been followed in this opinion by many interpreters, such as Thomas Aquinas, and in later times by Estius, Rheinwald, Matthies, and Schinz. But there is no hint of this nature in the passage. It was not as in Corinth, where to one party requiring a sign the cross was a “stumbling-block,” and to another faction seeking after wisdom it was “foolishness;” the former regarding it as impossible that their Messiah should die in such ignominy, or be executed under a sentence of law like a malefactor; and the other deeming it wholly preposterous, that a story so simple as that of Jesus crucified should be a record of divine wisdom, or be the vehicle of divine power and intervention. Nor was it as in Galatia, where the law of Moses was assumed to be of perpetual obligation, and the merit of Christ's death was virtually disparaged; where, under the error of justification by works of law, the sufferings of Jesus were regarded as superfluous, so that in their bosoms there rankled sore and keenly the “offence of the cross.” No charge of speculative error is brought against those whom the apostle here describes-as if they regarded the cross simply as the scene of a tragedy, or of a martyrdom; or as if they thought the atonement unnecessary, or undervalued the agony of Christ as devoid of expiatory merit.
2. Many take another view, as if this enmity to the cross consisted in their reluctance to bear it themselves. Thus Chrysostom exclaims “Was not thy Master hung upon a tree?-crucify thyself, though none crucify thee”- σταύρωσον σεαυτὸν κἂν μηδείς σε σταυρώσῃ . This interpretation, which has various aspects, has many supporters. Such men will not take up their cross-will not submit to self-denial-will neither crucify the flesh nor endure persecution for the cross of Christ. Therefore they will not, as in the opinion of Meyer, suffer with Christ, or seek any fellowship with His sufferings, or any conformity unto His death. This may be true, and may be included in the true interpretation; but it seems to us somewhat subtle and recondite. So that we prefer another opinion.
3. We rather regard the apostle as speaking of the cross in its ultimate purpose, as pointing not so much to its expiatory agony, as to its sanctifying power. Their hostility to the cross lay in their not realizing its great design. For Christ died at once to provide pardon and secure sanctification, and the reception of the first blessing is meant to prepare for the ultimate process. They are therefore the enemies of the cross who see not in it the evil of sin, so as to forsake it, who remain strangers to its attractions, and who will not submit to the authority, or conform themselves to the example, of Him who died upon it. If the following verse describe, as it seems to do, the character and destiny of these enemies of the cross, then it would seem that their antagonism lay in thwarting its influence, and refusing to feel its elevating and spiritualizing virtue. If their supreme pleasure was in the indulgence of animal appetite, and if their soul was immersed in earthly pursuits and gratifications, then, certainly, all that the cross had done for them was of no avail; what it provided, was not received; what it secured, was not realized; its design was contravened, and its lessons were flung aside; the love of the dying victim was not seen in its tenderness and majesty; nor could His anguish be understood in those causes which made it a necessity, or appreciated as to those results which it was designed to produce, and which it alone can produce, in heart and life. Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:13-14. Those men who walked in refusal of its claims, in violation of its design, and in defiance of its lessons, were surely the enemies of the cross, whether they were Jews or Gentiles. How they justified their conduct to themselves, or how they attempted to reconcile their lives with a profession of Christianity, we know not. We cannot tell what theory led to such practice; whether they wilfully turned “the grace of our God into lasciviousness;” or whether, by some strange perversion, they took warrant to “continue in sin, that grace might abound;” or whether, under the intoxication of some antinomian theory, they dreamed that there was “no law,” and that there could therefore be “no transgression.”
(Philippians 3:19.) ῟Ων τὸ τέλος ἀπώλεια “Of whom the end is destruction,” whose special and ultimate fate is destruction. Romans 6:21; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Hebrews 6:8, etc. The clause and context will not warrant the notion of Heinrichs, that ἀπώλεια bears an active signification, and that the meaning may be- whose final purpose is the destruction of the church. The term ἀπώλεια is the opposite of σωτηρία , and denotes a terrible issue. Matthew 7:13, and in many other places; Philippians 1:28; Romans 9:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:3. They do not realize the end of their being, and fall short of the glory of God. The cross has not sanctified them, and they cannot enter heaven. The purpose of Christ in dying has not been wrought out in them, and such a failure necessitates exclusion from His presence. The Lamb is the theme of high praise before the throne, but their enmity to the cross incapacitates them from joining in such melodies. Nay, as sin has reigned unchecked within them in spite of all that has been done and suffered for them, they carry the elements of hell within them; their nature remaining unsanctified, in scorn of Christ's blood and His apostle's tears. Gross sensualism characterized them-
ὧν ὁ θεὸς ἡ κοιλία “whose god is their belly.” Romans 16:18. Theodoret adds- διαφερόντως γὰρ οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι πολλὴν ποιοῦνται τροφῆς ἐπιμέλειαν καὶ δικαιοσύνης ὅρον νομίζουσι τὴν ἐν σαββάτῳ χλιδήν . But there is no real ground for supposing the persons referred to to be Jews. The expression is a strong one, and the general meaning is, that they found their divinest happiness in the gratification of animal appetite. This god they loved and served. No idolatry is so unworthy of a rational being; no worship so brutal in form, and brutifying in result. Intemperance, for example, ruins fortune and forfeits character, crazes the body and damns the immortal spirit. And if, as in the figure of the apostle, a man's belly be his god, then his hearth is his altar, and his liturgy turns on the questions, “What shall we eat, or what shall we drink?” or repeats the chant “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Many passages from the classics have been adduced which refer to such sensuality. Such men are named κοιλιοδαίμονες by Athenaeus. The Cyclops in Euripides, 335, boasts about his beasts “I sacrifice to no one but myself, not to the gods, but to this my belly, the greatest of the gods”-
Καὶ τῇ μεγίστῃ τῇδε δαιμόνων -
“for to eat and drink each day, is the god for wise men”-
Ζεὺς οὗτος ἀνθρώποισι τοῖσι σώφροσιν .
The cross has for its object to lift man above such ignoble pleasures-to spiritualize and refine him-to excite him to cultivate the nobler part of his nature, that he may rise to communion with the Father of all. But men indulging in these low and unworthy pursuits which darken and endanger the soul, persisting in this γαστριμαργία , as Theodoret calls it, are the enemies of the cross of Christ. Still worse-
καὶ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ αἰσχύνῃ αὐτῶν “and whose glory is in their shame.” That is, they find their glory in what is really their shame. It is their shame, though they do not reckon it so; as Origen says- ἐφ᾿ οἷς ἔδει αἰσχύνεσθαι , ἐπὶ τούτοις οἴονται δοξάζεσθαι . The context does not warrant any allusion to circumcision and the parts affected by it, in pudendis, as is held by some of the Latin Fathers, by Bengel, Michaelis, and Storr; nor yet does it specially describe libidinous indulgence, as Rosenmüller and Am Ende suppose. The simple αἰσχύνη cannot of itself bear either signification. These enemies of the cross were not hypocrites, but open and avowed sensualists, conscious of no inconsistency, but rather justifying their vices, and thus perverting the gospel formally for such detestable conduct. These victims of gross and grovelling appetites disqualifying themselves from fulfilling the end of their being-to glorify God and to enjoy Him-frustrated the purpose of the cross, and therefore were its enemies. Lastly-
οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες “they are those who mind earthly things.” Colossians 3:2. The nominative is now used, or, to give the clause special emphasis, the original construction is resumed. Winer, § 63, I.2; Kühner, § 677. The phrase “earthly things” cannot, as Pierce supposes, mean any portion or section of Jewish ordinances. Their heart was set on earthly things-such things as are of the earth in origin, and do not rise above it in destiny. The contrast is-heavenly things-to the love and pursuit of which the cross is meant to raise us who died with Christ, and with Him rose again. When men are so absorbed in earthly things, in the lust of power, pleasure, wealth, fame, or accomplishment, as to forget their high calling to glory, honour, and immortality; when they live so much in time and sense as to be oblivious of life eternal, and seek not a title to it, nor cherish the hope of it, nor yet make preparation for it; they surely are the enemies of the cross, and their end is destruction. On the other hand, listen to Augustine “ O anima mea, suspira ardenter et desidera vehementer, ut possis pervenire ad illam supernam civitatem de qua tam gloriosa dicta sunt. ” Vol. vi. p. 1399, ed. Paris, 1837.
It is matter of surprise, first, that persons of such a character were found in the early church; and, secondly, that they were not shamed out of it by the earnest piety and the spiritual lives of so many in the same community. Perhaps the novelty of the system attracted numbers toward it, and the freshness of its statements induced their adhesion to it, though they felt not its inner power. As we have said on a recent page, polytheism had lost its hold on many thinking heathens, who had been wearied out with scholastic disputations, and were glad to embrace what proposed some certainties, such as a spiritual worship, an authoritative law, and an assured immortality. But their convictions might be purely intellectual, the truths adopted being held only as opinions, and such change of views might happen without change of heart. The power of Christianity was neither relished nor understood. The cross in its agony might thrill them, but the cross in its spiritual penetration was a mystery. It might be taken as the scene and the symbol of sorrow and triumph, of suffering and bliss, but its efficacy to raise and ennoble, while admitted in theory, might be refused in practice. Such persons lived in a new circle of ideas and associations, but their soul was untouched and unquickened, and therefore, under this sad hallucination, they gratified without stint their animal propensities, and were immersed in earthly occupations and epicurean delights. We could not have believed in the possibility of such delusions, had not similar forms of misconception and antagonism been frequently witnessed in the history of the church. On the other hand, the apostle affirms-
(Philippians 3:20.) ῾Ημῶν γὰρ τὸ πολίτευμα ἐν οὐρανοῖς ὑπάρχει “For our country is (or exists) in heaven.” The noun πολίτευμα has a variety of meanings, among which we may choose:-
1. Our English version, following the Vulgate, renders it -conversation, that is, mode or form of life, vitoe ratio; or, as van Hengel gives it- vivendi ratio. His general rendering is approved by Calvin, Grotius, Matthies, and De Wette. The translation is so far favoured by the context-They mind earthly things, and are totally opposed to us, for our life is in heaven. One course of conduct is placed in contrast with another. Still the language so interpreted would be peculiar. The apostle says, in Colossians 3:3, “Our life is hid with Christ in God,” but he refers to the principle of life, and not certainly to its present manifestations. It is one thing to say that the origin of our life is in heaven, but very different to say that its actual mode, habit, or manner is in heaven. If you explain this by saying that its law is in heaven, then you affix a new meaning to the noun, or blend, like Rheinwald, several assumed meanings together. Nor does the word ever seem to have such a sense in any place where it occurs; the meaning is alleged from the verb πολιτεύω , which sometimes signifies “to be or live as a citizen.” See under Philippians 1:27.
2. The noun denotes often what is termed policy-that course of action or those measures by which the administration of a state is conducted, as frequently in Plato and Demosthenes. From its connection with πολιτεύω we would infer this to be a frequent sense. Such measures imply a certain form or constitution, and then we have such a phrase as πολίτευμα δημοκρατίας , or, as in Josephus- θεοκρατίαν ἀπέδειξε τὸ πολίτευμα . Contra Revelation 2:6. The words have, in this way, been rendered municipatus noster, as by Tertullian. But-
3. The word passed into another meaning, and that not very different from πολιτεία -a state or organized commonwealth. Such is a common tropical change-the measures of a government-the nature of such a government-and then the state so constituted and governed. Not exactly, but somewhat similarly, ἱεράτευμα , though from ἱερατεύω , signifies an organized priestly caste, and not sacerdotal routine. Exodus 19:6. Πολίτευμα may mean, as it does often, “state or country.” It has this meaning in Polybius, as applied by him to Rome and Carthage- αὐτά τε τὰ πολιτεύματα , ἀκμὴν ἀκέραια . Philippians 1:13. The Hellenistic writers, Philo and Josephus, also use it in this way-the former writing thus, τῷ μεγίστῳ καὶ τελειοτάτῳ πολιτεύματι ἐγγραφέντες . De Op. p. 33; and the other has similar phraseology. Contra Revelation 2:21. In 2Ma 12:7 , we have likewise this phrase “As if he would come back to extirpate”- τὸ σύμπαν τῶν ᾿Ιοππιτῶν πολίτευμα . Theophylact thus explains- ὥστε τὰ ἄνω δεῖ ἡμᾶς φρονεῖν πρὸς τὴν πατρίδα ἡμῶν σπεύδειν , ἔνθα καὶ πολιτεύεσθαι ἐτάχθημεν . Similarly says Philo of the souls of the wise, De Confus. Ling. - πατρίδα μὲν τὸν οὐράνιον χῶρον , ἐν ᾧ πολιτεύονται , ξένον δὲ τὸν περίγειον ἐν ᾧ παρῴκησαν νομίζουσαι . This citation virtually explains the meaning-not “our citizenship”-Bürgerrecht-but “our city is in heaven.” The confederacy to which we belong, or the spiritual state in which we are enrolled as citizens, is in heaven, and is no doubt that “Jerusalem which is above all.” Galatians 4:26. In that beautiful fragment-the letter to Diognetus, it is said of Christians- ἐπὶ γῆς διατρίβουσιν , ἀλλ᾿ ἐν οὐρανῷ πολιτεύονται “they live on earth, but they are citizens in heaven.” The idea was not unknown to the ancient philosophy. Thus Anaxagoras is reported by Diogenes Laertius to have replied to one who charged him with want of love of country- ἐμοὶ γὰρ σφόδρα μέλει τῆς πατρίδος , δείξας τὸν οὐρανόν . Heraclitus, Ad Amphidamanta, says also - πολιτεύσομαι οὐκ ἐν ἀνθρώποις , ἀλλ᾿ ἐν θεοῖς .
And this translation is quite in keeping with the context. The particle γάρ connects it with what precedes, as if the train thought of were “they mind earthly things, and therefore are enemies of the cross; but, on the other hand, ye have us for an example-for our country is in heaven, and therefore, though earthly things are around us, we do not mind them.” The double γάρ interweaves the thoughts. Walk as ye see us walking, for many walk most unworthily;-walk as ye see us walking, for our country is in heaven. The second γάρ seems to have this force, while it more specially and closely brings out the contrast between the apostle's life and that of the persons whom he reprobates. He does not use a simple adversative, but γάρ at once assigns a reason by introducing a contrasted statement. The verb ὑπάρχει gives peculiar force to the assertion. See under Philippians 2:6. The plural form of οὐρανοῖς has no specific difference of meaning attached to it.
The apostle then says, “our city is in heaven.” This is certainly true of Christians. Their true country is not on earth. Here they are strangers in a strange land-living in temporary exile. On the earth, they are not of it-among earthly things, they are not attracted by them. The census of the nation includes them, but their joy is that “God shall count” them, when “He writeth up the people.” They do not abjure citizenship here; nay, like the apostle, they may sometimes insist on its privileges, yet they are denizens of another commonwealth. Like him, too, they may have a special attachment to their “brethren, their kinsmen according to the flesh;” but they have ties and relationships of a more sacred and permanent character with their “fellowcitizens,” “the living in Jerusalem.” The persons reprobated by the apostle minded earthly things, and the surest preservative against such grovelling inconsistency is the consciousness of possessing this city in heaven. For as we cherish our franchise, we shall long to enjoy it, and be so elevated by the prospect as to nauseate sensual pursuits and mere animal gratifications. He who has his home in the future will be only a pilgrim for the present, and cannot stoop to what is low and loathsome, for his heart is set on the inheritance into which “nothing can enter that defileth.” The apostle turns now to the second advent-
ἐξ οὗ καὶ Σωτῆρα ἀπεκδεχόμεθα , Κύριον ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστόν - “whence also we await the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The phrase ἐξ οὗ might agree with πολίτευμα in form, and Bengel and others assume this, but this can scarcely be supposed to be the reference. The abode of Jesus is always spoken of as the heavens-the heavens received Him, and out of the heavens He comes again. Πολίτευμα is a spiritual idea, but οὐρανοί implies a locality, out of which Jesus is expected to descend. The ἐξ οὗ refers to οὐρανοῖς , and forms a species of adverb. Winer, § 21, 3. The καί indicates the harmony of this sentiment with the one expressed in the previous clause, and precedes Σωτῆρα , which has the emphasis- the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. The apostle uses the full title. He is in heaven the exalted Governor or “Lord,” and cometh in lordly grandeur; but that glory has not deified His humanity-it only envelops it; He is still “Jesus,” “the same Jesus taken up from us into heaven;” and as His commission has not ceased, though His abode on earth has terminated, He is “Christ.” Nay more, He is expected as Saviour- Σωτῆρα . He has not resigned this function, and He comes to complete it. Salvation has been in process, now it is to be in fulness. The work ascribed to the Lord Jesus in the next verse, is the last and completing act. And therefore it is as Saviour that He comes, to fit man in his entire nature for glory-to accomplish the deliverance of his body from the penalty of death, and assimilate our whole humanity to His own as its blessed prototype. Salvation has this pregnant meaning in Romans 13:11, and Hebrews 9:28. See also under Ephesians 1:13-14. The middle verb denotes earnest or wishful expectation “we await.” 1 Corinthians 1:7; Romans 8:19. See under Philippians 1:20. The advent has been promised, and as it will secure such blessed results we cannot be indifferent to it; nay, though it be one of transcendent awfulness, we are not alarmed at the prospect “Amen, even so come, Lord Jesus.”
Now, we should have expected the verse we have considered to run thus “Our country is in heaven, in which we hope soon to be,” or some such expression. But he says “from which also, as Saviour, we expect the Lord Jesus Christ.” The result, however, is the same, for the Lord Jesus comes to prepare His people through the resurrection for entering “by the gate into the city.” But the mode in which the apostle states these ideas serves two purposes. First, he characterizes Jesus as Saviour, or as expected in the character of Saviour, and thus suggests an awful contrast, in point of destiny, between himself and those like-minded with him, and the party reprobated by him in the two preceding verses. Their end is destruction, but ours is salvation;-to the one He descnds as Judge, but to us as Saviour. If there be such visible difference in present character, there is more awful contrast in ultimate destiny- ἀπώλεια - σωτηρία -the two poles of humanity “everlasting punishment” “life eternal.” Thus, in his own way, the apostle inserts a quiet antithesis. And then, secondly, he describes Jesus as giving our body a likeness to His own- a change which in its nature, necessity, and results, conveyed a reproof to such as worshipped their animal appetites and found supreme gratification in such indulgence, and a lesson to them also, not the less striking, if any of them imagined that the body was but a temporary possession, whose lowest instincts might be indulged to satiety, as if the spirit alone were capable of entering, through its essential immortality, into the heavenly world. For that body which gives man at present so many earthly affinities was destined to a heavenly abode, so that from its connection with Jesus it should be preserved in purity, while from the process of refinement to pass over it, it shall be divested of those very qualities or susceptibilities of abuse for which it was deified by the enemies of the cross. For the work of Jesus is thus told-
(Philippians 3:21.) ῝Ος μετασχηματίσει τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν σύμμορφον τῷ σώματι τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ “Who shall transform the body of our humiliation, so as to be conformed to the body of His glory.” The phrase εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτό of the Received Text is an evident supplement or filling in of the syntax, and has but the inferior authority of D 3 , E, J, K, etc. The language implies that this change of our bodies is the special function which Christ shall discharge at His coming. We look for Him to do this-we anticipate it at His advent. Both genitives are those of possession, and by τὸ σῶμα τῆς ταπεινώσεως ἡμῶν “the body of our humiliation,” we understand not simply τὸ σῶμα τὸ ταπεινόν , as Robinson vaguely explains it, but the body which belongs to and also characterizes our humble state. The nouns ταπείνωσις and δόξα mark two states in contrast, but connected by their common possession of a σῶμα . “The body of our humiliation” is the body possessed by us in this state, and which also marks its humiliation. It connects us with the soil out of which it was formed, and by the products of which it is supported; on which it walks, and into which it falls at death. It keeps us in constant physical connection with earth, whatever be the progress of the spirit towards its high destiny-its commonwealth in heaven. Nay more, it limits intellectual power and development, impedes spiritual growth and enjoyment, and is soon fatigued with the soul's activity. Let one will as he pleases, his body presents a check on all sides, and at once warns him by the exhaustion he feels, and the curbs which so suddenly bring him to a pause. In it, too, are the seeds of disease and pain, from functional disorder and organic malady. It is an animal nature which, in spite of a careful and vigilant government, is prone to rebellious outbreaks. Such has been the general view. But Meyer objects, and endeavours to give the words a more specific reference. He supposes that the enemies of the cross are those who shun the sufferings which arise from fellowship with Him who died upon it, and that this clause pictures that state of privation, persecution, and sufferings which affects the body, and springs from connection with the cross. Thus Chrysostom “Our body suffereth many things; it is bound with chains, it is scourged, it suffereth innumerable evils, but the body of Christ suffered the same.” These may be included, but not alone. It is true that ἡμεῖς stands in contrast with τοὺς ἐχθρούς , and we apprehend that the apostle refers to the body and its future change principally because the class condemned by him so notoriously indulged themselves in animal gratifications, and made a god of their belly.
The verb μετασχηματίσει expresses change, and the result is described by the next clause- σύμμορφον τῷ σώματι τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ . The curt or proleptic form of construction is referred to by Winer, § 66, 3; and Kühner, § 477, 2. Rom 8:29 ; 1 Thessalonians 3:13. The adjective σύμμορφον expresses a conformity which is the result of the change, though it agrees with σῶμα , the object acted on by the Lord Jesus. The term δόξης characterizes Christ's σῶμα , as containing or possessing it. For that body is enshrined in lustre, and occupies the highest position in the universe. We know not all the elements of its glory. But we know somewhat. The scene on the hill of transfiguration was an anticipative glimpse, when the face “marred more than any man's,” glowed with deeper than solar splendour, and the robes, soiled and tattered by frequent journeys, shone with a purer lustre than the snow. When He appeared at the arrest of Saul in the neighbourhood of Damascus, His glory dimmed the mid-day sun, and before the symbolical apparition in Patmos, the disciple who had lain in His bosom was so overpowered, that He “fell at his feet as dead.” After He rose, and even before He ascended, His body had lost all its previous sense of pain and fatigue, and possessed new and mysterious power of self-conveyance. Now it lives in heaven. Our body is therefore reserved to a high destiny-it shall be like His. The brightness of heaven does not oppress Him, neither shall it dazzle us. Our humanity dies, indeed, and is decomposed; but when He appears, it shall be raised and beautified, and fitted to dwell in a region which “flesh and blood cannot inherit.” Man has been made to dwell on earth, and on no other planet. If he is to spend a happy eternity in a distant sphere, his physical frame must be prepared for it. If he is to see God and yet live-to serve Him in a world where there is no night and no sleep-to worship Him in company with angels which have not the clog of an animal frame, and like them to adore with continuous anthem and without exhaustion - then, surely, his body must be changed, for otherwise it would soon be overpowered by such splendours, and would die of ecstasy amidst such enjoyments. The glory of heaven would speedily become a delicious agony. Therefore these bodies shall cease to be animal without ceasing to be human bodies, and they shall become “spiritual” bodies - etherealized vehicles for the pure spirit which shall be lodged within them. “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Theodoret remarks, that the language does not signify change of figure, but deliverance from corruption; and he adds, that this assimilation to the body of Christ's glory shall be enjoyed- οὐ κατὰ τὴν ποσότητα τῆς δόξης , ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν ποιότητα . Still, the body of Christ's glory is the pattern, and not, as Delitzsch imagines, the body of the first man in its original state, and prior to the extraction of Eve.
Why then should the body be now degraded and besotted? Is it not an essential portion of humanity, specially cared for, and to be permanently glorified by the Lord Jesus? If such is to be its end, what should be its present honour? Should it not be preserved in purity, for the sake of Him who made it, and in fealty to Him who is to assimilate it to His own glorious body? Such a prospect would be a perfect safeguard against those vicious and grovelling indulgences which the apostle denounces in the previous verses.
As in the second chapter, the apostle does not formally teach the divinity of Christ, though he introduces it as giving effect and example to the lesson which he inculcates; so here it is also to be noted, that the apostle is not teaching the doctrine either of a resurrection of the dead, or a change of the living at the second advent. He is conducting no argument or exposition of this nature. On the other hand, he is inculcating a pure and spiritual life, contrasting his own demeanour with that of other parties who were sunk in sensual pursuits. The reference to the change and glorification of the body is introduced, as well to show why the apostle so acted, as to point out the inconsistency of those sensualists and worldlings. It may be that they either denied or misunderstood the doctrine of the resurrection. At least, in the other European churches of the East, as at Corinth and Thessalonica, similar errors prevailed. Not that there was among them any direct Gnostic dogma of the inherent sinfulness of matter, but the creed had become a common one, that the grave should never open, nor the urn yield up its ashes; and that, though the spirit should be immortal, the material frame might never be summoned out of its resting-place. So that there was a strong temptation to the sins reprobated by the apostle. Some of the Philippian converts might deem bliss of soul enough, and reckon, as at least a harmless thing, the undue gratification of animal appetite, for the body with all belonging to it was soon to pass into eternal oblivion. Contented with the idea of the spirit's immortality, as revealed in the gospel, they might feel it no disgrace to eat and drink to licentious satiety, since the instrument of such indulgence had no share in their hopes, and no connection with their future personality, but was speedily to sink into darkness and dust, and cease for ever to be a part of them. Therefore the apostle refers so pointedly to the future existence of the body; and not only so, but describes its high destiny. It is to exist for ever, though in a changed and nobler form. It will still be the soul's minister and tabernacle. The saved spirit is to be hereafter embodied, but in no newly created mansion. Therefore the body must now be esteemed as sacred, and kept free from contamination. It is not to be enslaved as subordinate, or despised as temporary. It is an essential and eternal constituent of man's nature-a recipient, according to its capabilities and functions, of the redeeming work of Christ. Must it not then be treated as reason dictates, and the gospel warrants? The apostle does not speak of the resurrection, but of its results. He passes over the intermediate stages, and simply describes the ultimate condition or quality of the body. (On the question whether the apostle's language warrants the notion that he hoped to survive till the second advent, see under Philippians 1:26.) And Christ's ability to effect this change cannot be doubted, for this is His range of prerogative-
κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ δύνασθαι αὐτὸν καὶ ὑποτάξαι αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα “according to the inworking of his ability, even to subdue to Himself all things.” The form αὐτῷ in preference to ἑαυτῷ has the authority of A, B 1 , D 1 , F, G. On the relations of ἐνέργεια and δύναμις , see Ephesians 1:19. Κατά has its usual ethical force, and which, as it really points out the norm or measure, inferentially advances an argument for the previous statement. The two infinitives are not simply connected by καί , as Rheinwald and Hoelemann construe, but the one governs the other-the first being governed itself by the substantive, and virtually taking the place of a genitive, but expressing more than the noun would -the permanence and sweep of His power. Winer, § 44, 4; 1Co 9:6 ; 1 Peter 4:17, etc. We take τὰ πάντα without limitation, while καί is emphatic and ascensive. He is able to change the body, and not only so, but also to subdue all things. If He can subject everything to Himself or His own purposes, He can surely so change our body as to give it a full and final conformity to His own. Thus Chrysostom - ἔδειξε μείζονα ἔργα τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ , ἵνα καὶ τούτοις πιστεύσῃς . That all things are under Christ's control is the apostle's doctrine, and his virtual inference in this verse from the greater to the less cannot be disputed. Mind and matter are alike subservient “all power is given to Me in heaven and in earth.” The apostle, in 1 Corinthians 15:35, etc., shows some of the manifestations of this all-subduing power-the harvest springing from the seed which had died under the clod, and according to the species sown; the various forms of existence in the universe, both in animal constitutions on earth and in the orbs or the angels of heaven-proofs that matter can assume vast differences of shapes, and be endowed with an exhaustless number of qualities-and that therefore such a change as is here predicted is neither beyond possibility nor without parallel. The apostle does not say, as Ellicott argues, that Christ will subject all things. He speaks only of His ability, though the inference may be that He will put it forth. While omniscience is the actual possession or exercise of all knowledge, omnipotence is universal ability, which may or may not yet have put forth all its energies, for what is possible to it may not have been effected by it. But Christ shall put forth His power, as we know from other sources, and death itself shall be swallowed up in victory- that which has swallowed up all humanity shall be surrounded by a wider vortex and be itself engulphed.
How the change of σχῆμα in reference to the body shall be effected we know not. It is a process far beyond our conception, and outside the limits of our experience, but not above the all-subduing power of the Redeemer. The statement is, that the body, this body of our humiliation, shall feel the wondrous transforming energy. The apostle speaks of the body, σῶμα , and not of the flesh, σάρξ . Resurrection is not formally predicated of the flesh in the New Testament, but only of the man, or of the dead “I will raise him up.” The kind of distinction we refer to is seen in the double question- “How are the dead raised, and with what body do they come?” Change implies difference, in this case an inconceivable difference, but the identity of the body is not in every sense destroyed by the change. That identity cannot certainly consist of mere physical material, nor does Scripture ever say so. The reader may remember how that subject is discussed in Locke's “Second Reply” to the Bishop of Worcester. The changes of which matter is susceptible are indeed beyond conception, and if, as is alleged by some profound investigators, the ultimate elements of matter are indivisible points, without extension and surrounded by spheres of forces; then such spheres of attraction being changed, new bodies would be exhibited without any alteration in their so-called chemical constitution. Such hypotheses point to the possibility of infinite changes-all within the reach of Him “who is able to subdue all things unto Himself.” According to the apostle's illustration, the glorious body bears such a relation to the earthly one, as the grain on the stalk in autumn bears to the seed cast into the furrow in spring, and dying and being decomposed under the clod. The body is therefore the same in relationship, but different in material and structure -once organized for a ψυχή , or animal life; now prepared to suit a πνεῦμα , or the higher spiritual life. 1 Corinthians 15:36-50.
The soul out of the body is said to be “naked.” It has been a common opinion, current among the Rabbins and vaguely seen in the Fathers, that this epithet is only relative, and that the soul has, as Müller says, “some organ of self-revelation even in death,” or possesses what Delitzsch calls “an immaterial corporeity”- immaterielle Leiblichkeit. Lange, Kern, Goeschel, Schubert, and Rudloff, might be quoted to the same effect. These speculations bring us near the “vehicular state” which that curious thinker, Abraham Tucker, has described, in the twenty-first chapter of his Light of Nature Pursued. The arguments for the theory are specious, but of little weight. It is no proof in favour of it, from physiology, that a man feels, or seems to feel, pains located for a long period in an organ or limb which has been amputated, as such nervous sensations may be otherwise accounted for. Nor is there any force in Delitzsch's argument, drawn from the appearance of Samuel to the witch of Endor, or that of Moses and Elias on the hill of transfiguration, or from the pictures of the population of Hades or Heaven in Scripture-as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, and in the Apocalypse. The language in such cases is plainly that of popular delineation; for metaphysical exactness would be unintelligible. Spirits are not spoken of as essences, but are pictured as persons, feeling, speaking, and being clothed, in such a way that their human identity may be at once recognized. The present life throws such a reflection upon the future life, as enables us to comprehend it and feel its oneness with ourselves. For the spiritworld revealed in Scripture is no dreamy or shadowy sphere, where personality is either obscured or is blended with the great source of existence. The individual life is still single and separate as on earth, yet not inert, but endowed with its own consciousness, and possessed of its own memories and hopes. So that it is naturally represented as having its prior face, form, and garb. Not for identical, but for analogous reasons, similar language is employed to set out the personality of God-the Great Spirit. He covers Himself “with light as with a garment”-He speaks “face to face”-He opens “His hand,” and makes bare “His holy arm” “His eyes run to and fro”-the waters feel “the blast of the breath of His nostrils” “His lips are full of indignation” “the voice of the Lord is powerful”-and “the clouds are the dust of His feet.”
Nor does Scripture furnish any definite proof. 2Co 5:1 ; 2 Corinthians 5:3, does not speak of a Zwischenleiblichkeit, an interim corporeity; or, as Reiche calls it- mortui organum quasi provisorium, and as Schott, Lange, Nitzsch, and Martensen suppose. The third verse has been variously understood, but its meaning as a confirmative explanation of the previous verse, is opposed to the theory to which we are referring. It may either be; “seeing that when we are also clothed, we shall not be found naked;” or rather, “seeing in fact that we shall really be found clothed, not naked.” The apostle had no desire to be unclothed, but divestment was a necessary stage in the process of glorification. The unclothing is unnatural, but it prepares for the assumption of the final raiment, when mortality shall be swallowed up in life. See under Philippians 1:23-26.
And this Nerven-geist -what, and whence is it? Is it an inner envelope which the soul already possesses, intermediate between its own subtleness and the grossness of its outer covering, something that aids its power of sensation, perception, and thought? No such inner film is necessary, as the mind at once receives impressions, and needs no re-presentative medium, but is directly conscious of what is beyond it, without the intervention of what were once called ideas or phantasms. Or if it do not exist now, is it created for the spirit when it leaves the body; or does the spirit evolve it out of those finer particles of its corporeity, and clothe itself with it? Would consciousness be extinguished without it? or without it would the faculty of communication with the world of spirit or matter around it cease? The sphere of sensation and perception is indeed enveloped in mystery, for it is that bourne where self and not-self come into contact, and where the spiritual subject seems to blend with the material object. But there needs no subjective re-presentation of objective realities-the connection involved in sensation is immediate, and the conviction produced rests upon a primitive and irresistible belief-the “common sense” of mankind.
Nor can such a psychological theory help us either to a better proof or a clearer conception of corporeal identity. Nitzsch indeed says “Whoever supposes that the departed are without a body prior to the resurrection will scarcely find, in the mere ashes of the mouldered body, a connecting point for the identity of the past and future corporeity. The medium of identity must be sought rather in that corporeity in which the departed soul remains.” And this is changed or developed so as to enable it to reach its final state. Such a notion seems to deny a resurrection in the ordinary sense of the term, and is no way parallel to or typified by the great historical fact of Christ's resurrection. It is not the so-called Nerve-spirit that the Saviour is to develop, and brighten into the likeness of His own body; but it is “the body of our humiliation” which He is to change and conform to the body of His glory. Each body fits in to the spirit which inhabits it, imparts a character to it, and derives a character from it-possesses, in short, such an individuality as may give us some proof of a resurrection, but it unfolds nothing of its mystery. This “body of our humiliation” has therefore some surviving element, or some indissoluble link, which warrants the notion and shall secure the consciousness of identity, in whatever that identity may consist; for it is indispensable to that judgment where each shall receive according to deeds done in the body- τὰ διὰ τοῦ σώματος -that is, “deeds done by the body” as an organ, as the instrument of responsible action. We need again and again on this subject to be reminded of the Lord's rebuke to the Sadducees “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”
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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Philippians 3". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29