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Now follows a pointed and brief application, which should have been joined to the preceding chapter. Matthies and van Hengel connect it unnaturally with the following counsels. The particle ὥστε carries us back to the preceding statements, and marks a deduction from them.
(Philippians 4:1.) ῞ωστε, ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοὶ καὶ ἐπιπόθητοι, χαρὰ καὶ στέφανός μου, οὕτως, στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ, ἀγαπητοί- “Wherefore, my brethren, loved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand in the Lord, beloved.” The apostle's mind turns away from the enemies of the cross to the genuine believers; and his heart opens itself to them, and opens all the more unreservedly from the contrast. He weeps over the one party, as he thinks of their awful destiny; but his soul is filled with holy rapture when he turns to the other party, and as he contemplates their coming glory. The epithets are the coinage of a jubilant spirit. The accumulation of them proceeds from his conscious inability to express all his ardour. Indeed, the language of endearment is fond of such repetitions.
Meyer says that we need not carry the reference in ὥστε farther than the 17th verse, where the address in the second person commences,—“Be followers of me.” This idea is so far correct; yet, though the counsel in the last section rises to a climax, the entire chapter is closely compacted, and in the very first verse there is a direct personal appeal. One might say, too, that the injunction, “stand fast in the Lord,” naturally results from such warnings as are found as far back as the second verse. At all events, the narrow view of Grotius cannot be sustained-quum tanta nobis proeposita sunt proemia; and the opposite view of De Wette and Wiesinger is at the same time too vague. We might conclude that ὥστε is generally and in spirit an inference from the entire chapter, and in form and more especially from its last paragraph, which describes such power as believers hope to be realized at the second advent. (On the meaning of ὥστε with the imperative, see under Philippians 2:12.) The apostle terms them “brethren beloved”-children of one spiritual Parent-forming one happy family-and rejoicing to meet at length in the Father's house of “many mansions.” They were spiritually dear to him; his heart clasped them with special fondness- ἐπιπόθητοι. See Philippians 1:8; Philippians 2:26. The word occurs only here in the New Testament. The apostle's heart yearned toward them, and there was reason for this indescribable longing,- they were his “joy and crown”- χαρὰ καὶ στέφανός μου. 1 Thessalonians 2:19. There is no reason for Calvin's taking the first term as referring to the present, and the second to the future, or for Alford referring both to the future. The words are both the expression of present emotion. They were a source of gladness to him, in their rescue from sin and danger, in their spiritual change, and in its visible development. Nay, as he had been so instrumental in their conversion, they were to him even now a wreath of honour. The term στέφανος is often used in a similar sense. Sophocles, Ajax, 465-
ὧν αὐτὸς ἔσχς στέφανον εὐκλείας μέγαν,
where, however, the noun is explained by the genitive which it governs; or Philoct. 841-
τοῦδV ε γὰρ ὁ στέφανος,
where, however, the image is different. See also Proverbs 4:9; Proverbs 12:4; Proverbs 14:24; Proverbs 16:31; Proverbs 17:6; Isaiah 28:5. The expression was a common one. The scene of the first introduction of the gospel to Philippi recurred for a moment to his memory-the preaching of the truth, the impression made, the anxious inquiries put, the decided change produced, the organization of the church, and its growth and prosperity, as the result of his labours, prayers, and sufferings. His success he wore as a garland of imperishable verdure. If he who saved in battle the life of a Roman citizen received from his grateful countrymen an oaken garland, ob civem servatum, how much more might their apostle call them saved and blessed by his ministry, “my crown”! He was not insensible to the high honour of being the founder and guardian of such a community. That this joy might not fail, and that this crown might not wither, he adds in earnest and loving tone-
οὕτως στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ—“so stand in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:8. The preposition ἐν points out the sphere or element. To stand, or stand fast, in the Lord, is neither to wander out of Him, nor even to waver in connection with Him, but to remain immoveable in fellowship with Him,-to live in Him without pause-to walk in Him without digression-to love Him without rival-and serve Him without compromise. It is here to be untouched by the ceremonial pride of the concision, and especially to be proof against the sensualism of the enemies of the cross. But what is implied in οὕτως—“thus”? Is it, “stand so as you are doing,” or, “so as I have prescribed”? The former view, which is that of the Greek Fathers, Calvin, Bengel, and Am Ende, is not so utterly untenable as Meyer represents it; for the apostle has already praised them for consistency and perseverance (Philippians 1:6), and the verb might bear such a pregnant meaning. Yet, as Meyer, De Wette, and others argue, there may be a reference to Philippians 3:17—“Be ye unitedly followers of me,” and οὕτως here may correspond to οὕτως there. Van Hengel is self-consistent in bringing out this idea-ut vivendi ratio quam sequamini in coelis sit. To give it the turn which Elsner proposes in his translation-ita dilecti-is out of the question, nor is Drusius waranted so to Hebraize as to bring out this sense-state recte. We therefore take the reference as being especially to the two preceding verses, and as being in virtual contrast with the description of Philippians 4:18-19. In opposition to those who were sunk in sensuality and earthliness, and on whom the cross of Christ exercised no spiritualizing power, they were to live as the citizens of a better country, their mind lifted above the world by such an ennobling connection, and thrilled at the same time with the prospect of the Saviour's advent, to transform and prepare their physical nature for that realm in which they should have an ultimate and a permanent residence. And he concludes with a second ἀγαπητοί,-so great is the reaction from καὶ κλαίων, and so great his attachment to his Philippian converts; or, as Theodoret describes it, μετ᾿ εὐφημίας πολλῆς ἡ παραίνεσις.
The remaining statements and counsels are somewhat detached in their nature- are the ethical miscellany with which the apostle often concludes an epistle. They are personal, too, in character, and presuppose a confidential intimacy.
(Philippians 4:2.) εὐοδίαν παρακαλῶ, καὶ συντύχην παρακαλῶ, τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν ἐν κυρίῳ—“Euodia I exhort and Syntyche I exhort to be of one mind in the Lord.” That these are the Greek names of women is plain from the feminine pronouns of the following verse, to which they are the antecedents. The words ἐν κυρίῳ point out the sphere of this concord, and belong not to the verb παρακαλῶ, as Beza and Storr suppose, nor yet can we sustain the rendering of Grotius-propter Dominum. Who these women were, what was their position in the church, and about what they had disagreed, we know not. Not a few suppose them to have been deaconesses- πρεσβύτιδες. At all events, they had laboured in the gospel with earnestness and success. The apostle does not say on whose side the fault lay, but he repeats the παρακαλῶ, not simply, as Alford limits it, to “hint at their present separation,” but to show that he placed the like obligation on each of them. He does not exhort the one to be reconciled to the other, for they might have doubted who should take the initiative, and they might wonder, from the position of their names and construction of the sentence, to which of them the apostle attached the more blame. But he exhorts them both, the one and the other, to think the same thing-not only to come to a mutual understanding, but to preserve it. See under Philippians 2:2. Van Hengel needlessly supposes that they had laboured with the apostle at Rome, and were now about to proceed to Philippi with Epaphroditus-this counsel to them being, that in all things they did for the gospel they should act in concert. But the previous intimations in the epistle prove that there had been tendencies to disunion in the church, and the second verse of the second chapter these women might read with a special and personal concern. The cause of quarrel might be some unworthy question about priority or privilege even in the prosecution of the good work-vainglory leading to strife, as already hinted by the apostle toward the commencement of the second chapter. It does not seem to have been any difference in creed or practice, and wholly groundless is the hypothesis of Baur and Schwegler, that the names represent two parties in the church at Philippi-Euodia the Jewish, and Syntyche the heathen party.
(Philippians 4:3.) ναὶ ἐρωτῶ καί σε, γνήσιε σύνζυγε—“Yea, I ask thee too, true yoke-fellow.” A third party is appealed to, to interpose his good offices-a proof that the apostle reckoned the harmony of these two women a matter of no small importance. The ναί is preferred to καί on preponderant authority, and is confirmatory in its nature. The verb ἐρωτάω, as different from αἰτέω, carries in it the idea of authority. Trench, Synon. p. 164. What this third person was to do is thus stated-
συλλαμβάνου αὐταῖς, αἵτινες ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ συνήθλησάν μοι—“help these women, as being persons who (or because they) have striven along with me in the gospel.” The first middle verb signifies to assist—“Take them up together.” Luke 5:7. It was not to help them pecuniarily, as Justinian absurdly imagines, but he, whoever he was, was to be a mediator, and to use all his influence with them, so that they should make advances to each other. And there was the more reason for his benign interference, for these women had been specially useful. They had ( αἵτινες-quippe quoe) striven side by side with Paul in the gospel. The verb contains an idea more intense than that represented by “laboured,” as also in Philippians 1:27. In the place now referred to, the object for which agonistic exertion is made is placed in the simple dative-here the sphere of the striving is represented by the preposition ἐν. They strove together in the gospel, and for its furtherance. They had rendered the apostle essential assistance in his evangelical efforts and toils, and if they were so labouring still in their own spheres, they must be reconciled. From their past efforts, their misunderstanding was the more unseemly, and the more necessary it was to heal the breach. Spheres of labour for females were specially open in such cities as Philippi, and among their own sex, to whom they might have access (for the γυναικωνῖτις was kept in jealous seclusion), and whose delicacies and difficulties they could instinctively comprehend or remove. Romans 16:3-12. Women were the first who received the gospel at Philippi. Acts 16:13. These women were not the apostle's only fellow-workers, for he adds, that they laboured-
μετὰ καὶ κλήμεντος καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν συνεργῶν μου—“along with Clement, too, and my fellow-labourers.” The insertion of καί between the preposition and its noun is not common, though other particles are placed in this way. Hartung, i. p. 143. By the use of καί . . . καί, things or persons are simultaneously thought of or represented. Winer, § 53, 4. It is out of the question to join this clause with ἐρωτῶ, as if the request were his and Clement's. Clement is mentioned nowhere else. There is no solid ground for supposing that he was the well-known Clemens Romanus, as ecclesiastical tradition, Jerome, van Hengel, and Baur for his own purpose, suppose. All we know of him is, that in fellowship with those women he had laboured along with the apostle at Philippi, in diffusing the gospel and building up the church. Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement must have been hearty and prominent in their co-operation; and Clement is mentioned as if the apostle had such a cordial recollection of him, that he could not but mention him. Others are also referred to, but not named. Some, as Storr, Flatt, and Cocceius, would join the clause to συλλαμβάνου αὐταῖς; but, as Meyer suggests, not μετά, but the simple dative would in that case be appropriate- καὶ τῷ κλήμεντι. Of Clement's colleagues the apostle adds-
ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα ἐν βίβλῳ ζωῆς—“whose names are in the book of life.” The book of life is a figure, sometimes having reference to present life, as in Athens, where the catalogue of living citizens was scrupulously kept. Psalms 69:28; Ezekiel 13:9. See also Exodus 32:32; Isaiah 4:3. Then it came to be used in reference to life beyond the grave. Daniel 12:1-8; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27; and somewhat differently, Luke 10:50; Hebrews 12:23. This inscription of their names shows the certainty of their future happiness, for those names will not be erased. The image of such a register presents to us the minuteness and infallibility of the divine omniscience, and the assured glory of Christ's followers and servants. The relative has τῶν λοιπῶν for its antecedent, and probably the phraseology was suggested by the fact that their names are unnoticed in the epistle. The apostle does not name them, they are summed up in a brief and anonymous τῶν λοιπῶν; but they are not forgotten, for their names are written by no human hand in the register of that blessed assemblage which shall inherit eternal life. A greater honour by far than being mentioned even in the list of an apostle's eulogy.
But who was the third party so earnestly appealed to by the apostle as γνήσιε σύνζυγε? The noun, commonly spelt σύζυγος, occurs only here in the New Testament.
1. It is often used of a wife in classic Greek, and hence some would understand by it the spouse of the apostle. Clement of Alexandria alludes to it, so does Isidore, and the view is held by Erasmus, Flacius, Musculus, Cajetan, Zuingli, Bullinger, and Justinian. Many popish interpreters keenly rebut this opinion, and Bellarmine confronts it with five distinct arguments. The adjective ought, in such a case, to be feminine. Then, too, the notion would seem to contradict what Paul himself has said of his unmarried state in 1 Corinthians 7:7, etc. Theodoret justly remarks, that this view is held by some ἀνοήτως.
2. Dwelling still upon the same usage, some suppose the person referred to to be the husband of one of the women. Chrysostom says- ἢ ἀδελφόν τινα αὐτῶν ἢ καὶ ἄνδρα μιᾶς αὐτῶν οὕτω καλεῖ. But there are no grounds for such an opinion. The yoke is supposed to be borne in company with the apostle, and not with any of these women.
3. Passing to the plain meaning of the term, many give it the rendering of our version-a colleague in labour, either in actual pastoral office, or at least one who had done good service to the church in Philippi, and was so well known as not to require to be named. This honour is assigned to various persons. Grotius, Cocceius, and Michaelis assign it to Epaphroditus, though he was at this period with the apostle in Rome. Zeltner and Bengel put in a claim for Silas- Estius upholds Timothy-Koehler pleads for Barnabas. Still the great majority regard the words as meaning fellow-labourer -germane compar, as in the Vulgate. Should this interpretation be adopted, it would follow, as Bengel remarks, that the term denotes a closer union than συνεργός; and it looks as if the person referred to were he to whom the epistle should be first carried, and by whom it should be first read. It might be Epaphroditus, who, though present with the apostle, was so addressed, for he was to carry the epistle to Philippi, and as the pastor reading it, and being so addressed in it, might thus exhibit his commission as a peacemaker.
4. Another idea, started by Chrysostom and OEcumenius, and strenuously contended for by Meyer, is that σύζυγος is a proper name—“I ask thee, genuine Syzygus;” that is, his name was a symbol of his character and labours. Chrysostom says, as if by the way- τινὲς δέ φασι ὄνομα ἐκεῖνο κύριον εἶναι τὸ σύζυγε, but adds πλὴν εἴτε τοῦτο, εἴτε ἐκεῖνο, οὐ σφόδρα ἀκριβολογεῖσθαι δεῖ. This hypothesis has the advantage of singling out an individual and addressing him, but the only plausible argument for it is, that as proper names occur in these verses, this in all likelihood is a proper name too. It is a strange conceit of Wieseler (Chronol. p. 458), that the “true yoke-fellow” is Christ Himself, and that ναί introduces a prayer to Him. But the question cannot be fully determined.
(Philippians 4:4.) χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε- “Rejoice in the Lord always; again will I say, rejoice.” The apostle reverts to what he had started with in the 1st verse of the third chapter. There is no need to suppose any connection between this and the preceding verse. The adverb πάντοτε, which refers to time and not to place, belongs to the first clause. κύριος, as usual, designates Christ, while ἐν points to Him as the element or sphere of this joy. The joy was to be continual-not a fitful rapture, but a uniform emotion. And the apostle repeats the injunction, which is very different in meaning from the Latin valete, and Cicero's formula-vale, vale et salve.The apostle wished them to come to a full appreciation of their position and their connection with Christ. Could they but judge truly their condition and prospects, and contrast them with their past state of gloom and unhappiness-could they but realize the nobleness and power of the truth they had embraced, and the riches and certainty of the hopes they were cherishing-could they estimate the saving change effected in their souls, and picture too that glorification which was to pass over their bodies- then, as they traced all blessing to Christ and to union with Him, they would rejoice in the Lord, not in themselves as recipients, but in Him as Source, not only in the gifts conferred, but in Him especially as the gracious benefactor. To rejoice in Him is to exult in Him, not as a dim abstraction, but as a living person-so near and so loving, so generous and so powerful, that the spirit ever turns to him in admiring grateful homage, covets His presence as its sunshine, and revels in fellowship with Him. Despondency is weakness, but joy is strength. Is it rash to say, in fine, that the churches of Christ are strangers by far too much to this repeated charge of the apostle-that the current ideas of Christ are too historic in their character, and want the freshness of a personal reality-that He is thought of more as a Being in remoteness and glory, far above and beyond the stars, than as a personal and sympathizing Saviour-that salvation is regarded more as a process a man thankfully submits to, than a continuous and happy union with Jesus- and that therefore, though Christians may run and are not weary, and may walk and are not faint, they seldom mount up with wings as eagles, and then, if they do, is not their flight brief and exhaustive? On the reduplication of the precept, Chrysostom briefly says- καλῶς τὸν λόγον ἐδιπλασίασεν. The earnest English expositor of this epistle thus writes- “Now see how it pleaseth the Lord, that as the Apostle comes againe and againe unto this holy exhortation, and leaves it not with once or twice, but even the third time also exhorteth them to rejoyce in the Lord; so I should come unto you againe and againe, even three severall times with the same exhortation to rejoyce in the Lord. Againe, saith the Apostle, I say rejoyce, even in the Lord alwayes, for that is to be added, and resumed to the former place. From which doubling and redoubling of this exhortation, I observe both how needful and withall how hard a matter it is to perswade this constant rejoycing in the Lord, to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes. For to this end doth the Holy Ghost often in the Scriptures use to double and redouble His speech even to shew both the needfulness of His speech, and the difficultie in respect of man of enforcing His speech. In the Psalme, how often doth the Prophet exhort the faithful unto the praises of the Lord, even before all the people, that they and their posteritie might know them, saying, O that men would therefore praise the Lord for His goodnesse, and declare the wonders that He doth for the children of men! Even foure several times in that one Psalme. And wherefore? but to shew how needfull it was they should do so, and how hardly men are drawne to do so. How often likewise doth our Saviour exhort His disciples unto humilitie and meekness? sometimes saying unto them, Learne of Me that I am meeke and lowly in heart; sometimes telling them, that whosoever among them would be great, should be servant unto the rest; sometimes washing their feete, etc., thereby to teach them humilitie. And wherefore doth He so often beate upon it, but to shew how needfull it was they should be humble and meeke, and likewise how hard a thing it is to draw men unto humilitie and meeknesse? How often likewise doth the Holy Ghost exhort to the putting off of the old man, and the putting on of the new man! No part of Scripture throughout the whole Bible, wherein the Holy Ghost doth not speake much, though not haply in these words, yet to this purpose. And wherefore else is it, but to imply both how needfull a matter it is to be perswaded, and how hard a matter it is to perswade the mortification of the old man, and the quickening of the new man? And to let other instances passe, in the point whereof we now speake, how oft doth our Saviour exhort to rejoyce and be glad in persecution, because of the reward laid up for us by God in heaven; to rejoyce because our names are written in heaven by the finger of God's own hand; to be of good comfort, because He hath overcome the world, that is, to rejoyce in the Lord! And wherefore, but to show how needfull it is to rejoyce in the Lord, and how hard it is to perswade this rejoicing? So that by the usuall course of the Scripture it appeareth, that our Apostle doubling and redoubling this his exhortation, thereby sheweth both how needfull, and withall how hard a matter it is to perswade this constant rejoycing in the Lord, to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes: so needfull, that it must be perswaded again and again, and withall so hard to be perswaded, that it cannot be too much urged and beaten upon.
“But it will not be amisse yet a little more particularly to looke into the reasons why it is so needfull to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes, and why we are so hardly perswaded to rejoyce in the Lord alwayes. Who seeth not, that considereth anything, what mightie enemies we have alwayes to fight withall, the flesh within us to snare and deceive us, the world without us to fight and wage warre against us, and the devil ever seeking like a roaring lion whom he may devour? Who seeth not, what fightings without, what terrors within, what anguishes in the soul, what griefes in the bodie, what perils abroade, what practices at home, what troubles we have on every side? When then Satan that old dragon casts out many flouds or persecutions against us; when wicked men cruelly, disdainfully, and despitefully speake against us; when lying, slandering, and deceitful mouthes are opened upon us; when we are mocked and jested at, and had in derision of all them that are about us; when we are afflicted, tormented, and made the world's wonder; when the sorrowes of death compasse us, and the flouds of wickednesse make us afraid, and the paines of hell come even unto our soule: what is it that holds up our heads that we sinke not? how is it that we stand either not shaken, or if shaken, yet not cast downe? Is it not by our rejoycing which we have in Christ Jesus?” The next injunction is-
(Philippians 4:5.) τὸ ἐπιεικὲς ὑμῶν γνωσθήτω πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις- “Let your forbearance be known to all men.” The phrase τὸ ἐπιεικὲς ὑμῶν has much the force of a substantive with the possessive pronoun. Kühner, § 479, b. See under Philippians 3:8. The adjective bears a variety of meanings. Composed of ἐπί and εἰκός- ἔοικα, it signifies originally what is meet or fitting, or characterizes any object or quality as being what it should be. It also describes what is proper or fair, or what is kind and reasonable, especially in the form of considerateness and as opposed to the harshness of law. That it should at length settle down into the meaning of gentleness, or rather forbearance, was natural; and this is a meaning found in Plato, Polybius, Plutarch, and also in Philo. Hesychius defines the adverb- πάνυ λίαν πράως. Plato's first definition of it is- δικαίων καὶ συμφερόντων ἐλάττωσις; and his second is- μετριότης ἐν συμβολαίοις. Definit. Opera, ed. Bekker, vol. ix. p. 265. Aristotle draws the contrast- ὁ μὴ ἀκριβοδίκαιος ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον, ἀλλ᾿ ἐλαττικώτατος καίπερ ἔχων τὸν νόμον βοηθὸν ἐπιεικής ἐστιν, καὶ ἕξις αὕτη ἐπιείκεια. Eth. Nicom. 5.10. The prevailing sense in the New Testament seems to be that of forbearance. Thus, too, in Psalms 86:5 - ὅτι σὺ κύριε χρηστὸς καὶ ἐπιεικὴς καὶ πολυέλεος. It is associated in the New Testament with πρᾳότης, 2 Corinthians 10:1; with ἄμαχος twice, 1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 3:2; with εὐπειθής, James 3:17; and with ἀγαθός, 1 Peter 2:18. As Trench justly says of it—“clementia sets forth one side; aequitas another; and, perhaps, modestia a third.” Theodoret restricts the meaning by far too much, when he paraphrases- μὴ ἀμύνεσθε κακῷ τὸ κακόν. It is not gentleness as an innate feeling, but as the result of self-restraint. It bears no resemblance to the selfish calculation often expressed by those words which have acquired an ethical significance-in medio tutissimus ibis. It does not insist on what is its due; it does not stand on etiquette or right, but it descends and complies. It is opposed to that rigour which never bends nor deviates, and which, as it gives the last farthing, uniformly exacts it. It is not facile pliability-a reed in the breeze-but that generous and indulgent feeling that knows what is its right, but recedes from it, is conscious of what is merited, but does not contend for strict proportion. It is, in short, that grace which was defective in one or other, or both of the women, who are charged by the apostle to be of one mind in the Lord. For, slow to take offence, it is swift to forgive it. Let a misunderstanding arise, and no false delicacy will prevent it from taking the first step towards reconciliation or adjustment of opinion. And truly such an element of character well becomes a man who expects a Saviour in whom this feeling was so predominant. This grace was to be notorious among them- γνωσθήτω, “let it be known” to all men-not simply to the enemies of the cross, or of the gospel, or to one another, as many allege, but to all without exception. It was so to characterize them, that if any one should describe their behaviour, he could not overlook it, but must dwell upon it. Our life is seriously defective without it; and let a man be zealous and enterprising, pure and upright, yet what a rebuke to his Christianity, if he is universally declared to be stiff, impracticable, unamiable, and austere in general deportment! If this joy in the Lord were felt in its fulness, the spirit so cheered and exalted would cease to insist on mere personal right, and practise forbearance. It is solemnly added-
ὁ κύριος ἐγγύς, “the Lord is near.” We are inclined to take κύριος as referring to Jesus-such being its common reference in Pauline usage, though many, including Luther, Calvin, Rheinwald, Rilliet, and Müller, suppose that God is meant. The language-2:11, Philippians 3:20 -and the reference of the term in the first three verses of the chapter, oblige us to understand Jesus by the epithet. ᾿εγγύς may be used either of place or time—“The Lord is at hand,” either in position or approach. If the clause be connected with the preceding counsel, the meaning might be—“Let your forbearance be known to all men,” and one great motive is, “the Lord is at hand.” Storr and De Wette take the view of the Greek Fathers, that God is thought of as judge, and that this idea is an inducement to cherish clemency even toward enemies, for God, the Judge and Redresser of every injury, is near. Velasquez and Beelen take it more generally, referring it-ad auxiliarem opem quam Deus suis afferre consuevit. Such an extension of meaning is not warranted, though certainly one might be invited to manifest the grace by this consideration, that the Lord will be Judge in all such cases as call for its exhibition, and by Himself this virtue has been specially and fully exhibited.
Or the clause may be connected with the following admonition. Meyer adopts this view-that is, the near coming of Jesus ought to prevent all His people from cherishing an undue anxiety. “Be careful for nothing,” Christ is at hand, and abundance will be the result of His advent. Or, “be careful for nothing,” He is ever near to supply all your wants. We prefer to take ἐγγύς in reference to time, and the general meaning of the formula may be gathered from Matthew 16:28; Luke 21:31; 1 Corinthians 16:22; James 5:9; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:28. It cannot mean “always present or near,” as in Psalms 34:18; Psalms 119:151; Psalms 145:18. The notion here is, that one who has been away is returning, and will soon arrive. But may not the clause be connected with both verses? It has no formal connection with either. And as it stands by itself, and seems to represent a familiar Christian idea, may it not be at the same time mentally joined to the charges both before and after it? It is introduced after a counsel to exhibit forbearance, and may be regarded as a motive to it; but while the apostle writes it, there starts up in his mind another use of it, and in consequence of its appropriateness he subjoins- “be careful for nothing.” It thus becomes a link in a train of thought, suggested by what precedes, and suggesting what follows it.
(Philippians 4:6.) ΄ηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε—“Be careful for nothing.” The accusative μηδέν, emphatic from position, is that of object. The verb is followed sometimes by the dative, expressing that on account of which anxiety is felt, though περί and ὑπέρ are also used, as well as εἰς in Matthew 6:34. There is no occasion with Wahl to supply μετά, nor with Hoelemann to suppose the accusative used adverbially. Chrysostom connects this with the previous verse,—“If their enemies opposed them, and they saw the wicked live in luxury, they were not to be distressed.” But the apostle has passed away from that previous thought, and speaks now of another subject. The solicitude guarded against is that state of mind in which one frets himself to know more than he is able, or reach something too far beyond him, or is anxious to make provision for contingencies, to guard against suspected evils, and nerve himself against apprehended failures and disasters. The spirit is thrown into a fever by such troubles, so that joy in the Lord is abridged, and this forbearance would be seriously endangered. Not that the apostle counsels utter indifference, for indifference would preclude prayer; but his meaning is, that no one of them should tease and torment himself about anything, when he may get what he wants by prayer. There is nothing any one would be the better of having, which he may not hopefully ask from God. Why then should he be anxious?- why, especially, should any one prolong such anxiety, or nurse it into a chronic distemper? Matthew 6:25; 1 Peter 5:7. The apostle does not counsel an unnatural stoicism. He was a true friend of humanity, and taught it not how to despise, but how to lighten its burdens. If it could not bear them itself, he showed it how to cast them on God. For thus he counsels-
ἀλλ᾿ ἐν παντὶ τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ τῇ δεήσει μετὰ εὐχαριστίας τὰ αἰτήματα ὑμῶν γνωριζέσθω πρὸς τὸν θεόν—“but in everything by prayer and supplication, along with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” The noun αἴτημα means literally a thing asked. Luke 23:24; 1 John 5:15. By a natural process it also signifies, as here, a thing desired and therefore to be asked. Hence the phrase τὰ αἰτήματα τῆς καρδίας. Psalms 37:4. Let the things you seek be made known- πρὸς τὸν θεόν. The construction is peculiar. This preposition is often used after verbs of similar meaning, and seems to signify, as Ast gives it-apud, coram. Lex. Platon., sub voce. It points out destination or direction—“Let your requests be made known toward God”-disclosed before Him, that they may reach him. The simple dative would have merely implied direct information to Him; but πρός points to the hearer of prayer as One in whose august presence petitions are to be made known. Acts 8:24. See under Philippians 2:19.
The form which the presentation of such requests was to assume was τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ τῇ δεήσει—“by prayer and supplication.” The datives express the manner or means, for the one involves the other, by which the action enjoined in γνωριζέσθω was to be performed. Bernhardy, p. 100. The two nouns are not synonymous, and mean something more than Storr's sociis precibus. See under Ephesians 6:18 for the peculiar distinction. The repetition of the article gives each of the nouns a special independence. Winer, § 19, 5, (a). By the use of the first noun they are bidden tell their wants to God in religious feeling and form; and by the second they are counselled to make them known in earnest and direct petition, in every case as the circumstances might require. But to this exercise of prayer and supplication is added thanksgiving - μετὰ εὐχαριστίας - “accompanied with thanksgiving.” This noun has not the article, and, as Ellicott says, only twice has it the article in the writings of the apostle- 1 Corinthians 14:16; 2 Corinthians 4:15. Alford's idea is, that the article is omitted “because the matters themselves may not be recognized as grounds of εὐχαριστία, but it should accompany every request.” Ellicott thinks that “ εὐχαριστία, thanksgiving for past blessings, is in its nature more general and comprehensive.” Both notions, though true in themselves, are rather limited in the grounds assigned for them. For not only are there many reasons for thanksgiving to God, who has already conferred on us so much, while we are asking for more, but thankfulness is also due to Him for the very privilege of making known our requests to Him; for the promises He has given us, and of which we put Him in remembrance when we pray to Him; for the confidence He has created in us that such solicitations shall not be in vain; and for the hope that He will do for us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” That He is on a throne of grace, and is ever accessible-that He is never weary with our asking-and that His gifts are never exhausted and never lose their adaptation, is surely matter of thankfulness to be ever expressed before Him by all suppliants. 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Timothy 2:1. See under Colossians 4:2.
The apostle advises such a practice universally-
ἐν παντί—“in everything.” The Syriac version renders the phrase בכֻלאבָן—“in all time,” and this rendering is adopted by Grotius and Rheinwald. The phrase, however, stands in direct contrast to μηδέν-care for nothing, but in everything pray. 1 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Chrysostom thus explains- ἐν παντὶ, τουτέστι, πράγματι. Matthies proposes to connect both meanings-that of time and place, but this would mar the directness of antithesis. The apostle makes no exception. Nothing should disturb their equanimity, and whatever threatened to do it should be made matter of prayer-that God would order it otherwise, or give grace to bear it; or deepen reliance on Himself; or give them that elevation and quiet which spring from the assurance that “the Lord is at hand.” Such prayer and supplication with thanksgiving relieves the spirit, evinces its confidence in God, deepens its earnestness, and prepares it for the expected answer.
(Philippians 4:7.) καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν, φρουρήσει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” The connection indicated by καί is that of result, and it might be paraphrased “and then,” or “and so.” Winer, § 53, 3. We find two extremes of misconception as to the meaning of εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ- θεοῦ being the genitive of origin, and not of object, as Green supposes. Greek Gram. p. 262. The Greek Fathers, followed by Erasmus, Estius, Crocius, and Matthies, understand the phrase of reconciliation:- “Peace,” said Chrysostom, “that is, the reconciliation, the love of God”- ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ. No doubt this peace is the result of reconciliation or peace πρὸς τὸν θεόν. But this peace flowing from pardon and acceptance was already possessed by them-they had been reconciled; and what the apostle refers to is a state of mind which has this reconciliation for its basis. The former peace has a special relation to God, the controversy between Him and the soul being terminated-the latter is more personal and absolute. This peace is but another name for happiness, for it is beyond the reach of disturbance. Come what will, it cannot injure-come when it likes, it is welcome-and come as it may, it is blessing in disguise. It can neither dissolve union to Christ, nor cloud the sense of God's forgiving love, nor exclude the prospect of heavenly glory. It is not indigenous: it is the “peace of God.” Man may train himself to apathy, or nerve himself into hardihood-the one an effort to sink below nature, and the other to rise above it. But this divine gift-the image of God's own tranquillity-is produced by close relationship to Himself, is the realization of that legacy which the Elder Brother has bequeathed. John 14:27. To know that it is well with me now, and that it shall be so for ever-to feel that God is my guide and protector, while His Son pleads for me and His Spirit dwells within me as His shrine-to feel that I am moving onward along a path divinely prescribed and guarded, to join the eternal banquet in the company of all I love and all I live for-the emotion produced by such strong conviction is peace, ay, the “peace of God.” This view is adopted generally by expositors. See what is said in our comment under Colossians 3:15. Augustine, followed by Anselm and Beelen, explains the phrase—“peace of God”- as pax, qua ipse Deus pacatus est. De Civ. Dei, lib. 22:29. We may place two English expositors side by side-Macknight, who understands by “peace of God” the hope of eternal life, and Pierce, who takes it to mean, “a sense of the great advantage of having peace with God.” In much the same spirit, men of the school of Glassius would take τοῦ θεοῦ as the so-called Hebrew superlative,-an idiom unknown to the New Testament, and a miserable dilution of the sense.
The notion of Meyer, preceded by Hammond and Michaelis, that this “peace of God” is unity or ecclesiastical concord, cannot be sustained. εἰρήνη, according to him, has always a relative meaning-verhältniss zu andern Menschen oder zu Gott; but the places quoted by him will not suffice as proof. In the majority of them peace is described as a personal blessing. Romans 15:33; John 14:27. It is true that the apostle in the second and third verses of this chapter counsels the healing of a breach, or the restoration of peace, but he has now passed from these matters to other advices. He has uttered the keynote—“Rejoice in the Lord,” and he now speaks in its spirit. There may in the ἐπιεικές be an allusion to the exhortation to Euodia and Syntyche-as Theodoret supposes in his reference, ὡς ὑπαλλήλων ὄντων τῶν διωγμῶν, but the contrast to εἰρήνη lies in μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε. Now, this “being careful” could scarcely be the ground of disunion among the Philippians, as Meyer's hypothesis would make it; for it seems to have been vainglory and ostentation. The allusion is more general-and if this solicitude be relieved by free and cordial prayerfulness, then unbroken tranquillity should guard the soul.
The apostle describes this peace as a gift “passing all knowledge”- ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν. See what is said under Ephesians 3:19. The participle here governs the accusative, and not, as is common with verbs of its class, the genitive, Kühner, § 539; or Jelf, § 504, Obser. 2. The noun νοῦς is here used of mind in its power of grasp or conception, as in Luke 24:45, where it is said- τότε διήνοιξεν αὐτῶν τὸν νοῦν- “then opened He their mind that they might understand the Scriptures,” Revelation 13:18. The mind cannot rightly estimate this peace, or rise to an adequate comprehension of it. It is so rich, so pure, so noble, so fraught with bliss, that you cannot imagine its magnitude. It is out of the question to suppose, with De Wette, who forgets the sweep of the epithet πάντα, that νοῦς is a doubting or distracted mind, which can find neither end nor issue, and that therefore this peace passes all understanding, as it rests on faith and feeling. Chrysostom, influenced by the signification he has attached to peace, gives another turn to the meaning, as in this question- τίς γὰρ ἂν προσεδόκησε τίς δὲ ἂν ἤλπισε τοσαῦτα ἔσεσθαι ἀγαθά; The opinion of Estius is somewhat similar, while Calvin, looking more to the result, says-quia nihil humano ingenio magis adversum, quam in summa desperatione nihilominus sperare. The apostle means that even its possessor is not able fully to understand its nature and blessedness. He then says what this peace, which is above all conception, shall effect-
φρουρήσει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ νοήματα ὑμῶν—“shall guard your hearts and your thoughts.” The verb is used of a military guard, like that set over a prisoner. 2 Corinthians 11:32; Galatians 3:23; Xen. Cyro. 1.2, 12; Josephus, Bell. Jud. 3.8, 2; Thucyd. 3.17. The verb is in the future and is to be so translated and understood, and not, with many, as if it were in the subjunctive and expressed a charge, or as if it were optative and contained a wish. It predicts a sure result of the habit described and enforced in the preceding verse. The last of the two nouns, νοήματα, signifies the results or offspring of the active νοῦς, while καρδία in such a connection may denote the seat or source of feeling and thought. But νοῦς is so allied to the καρδία, the centre of all spiritual life and activity, that these νοήματα are supposed to spring from the latter. Usteri, Paulin. Lehrb. p. 411. Both the one and the other shall be guarded-the heart kept from disquietude, and the same unrest warded away from the thoughts and associations. Whatever should enter into the one and beget uneasiness, or suggest such a train of ideas, forebodings, or questions to the other, as should tend to perplexity and alarm, is charmed away by “the peace of God.” For while that against which heart and thoughts are guarded is taken absolutely, it may, specially, be the origination of such a state as is implied in the warning- μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε, and not generally enemies, or Satan, or evil cogitations, or, as Theophylact expounds- ὥστε μηδὲ ἐννοῆσαί τι πονηρόν. The apostle next refers to the sphere in which that safekeeping takes place-
ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“in Christ Jesus.” ᾿εν is not synonymous with διά, is neither per nor propter. This guardianship of heart and thought takes effect only “in Christ Jesus.” Nay, the peace itself is based on union with Jesus, and its vigilance and success are derived from a closer enjoyment of the presence and a more vivid appreciation of the promises of Christ. Others take this clause as indicating the result of the verb φρουρήσει—“shall keep your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus,” that is, shall preserve your union with Him. De Wette holds this view in imitation of Luther, and it is adopted by Storr, Rheinwald, van Hengel, Rilliet, and Wiesinger. Chrysostom has already stated as the result- ὥστε μένειν καὶ μὴ ἐκπεσεῖν αὐτοῦ τῆς πίστεως. But it is rather union with Christ which secures this peace, and not this peace which cements the union. The more one realizes this union, the more does he possess of such a peace. And as every gift of God is in Christ conferred, and every act of God is done in Him, so in Him too does the peace of God exert its guarding influence. As the result of prayer, of the unbosoming of themselves to God about everything, they should enjoy profound tranquillity. Committing their way unto God, they would feel that “He would make perfect that which concerned them,” and should have within them an unruffled calm-bliss beyond all conception.
(Philippians 4:8.) The apostle brings this section to a conclusion by the common formula- τὸ λοιπόν—“in fine.” In a composition like this letter, where compactness is not to be expected, it would be finical to refer this τὸ λοιπόν to that occurring in Philippians 3:1. There it introduces, here it terminates a section. The apostle winds up the sundry counsels contained in the preceding verse. We admit a connection, and therefore deny van Hengel's notion-ad rem alius argumenti transgreditur, ut ostendit formula τὸ λοιπόν. But we cannot wholly acquiesce in De Wette's idea, that the connection is of this kind-verse seventh showing what God does, and verse eighth what remains for man to do. Perhaps the previous verses suggested this summing up to the apostle, which is still in the spirit of the precept, “Rejoice in the Lord,” and they intimate that while there is freedom from solicitude through prayer, there should be a reaching after perfection; and that in order to preserve this peace unbroken within them, they should sedulously cultivate those elements of Christian morality which are next enumerated with singular fervour and succinctness.
The syntax is peculiar. Six ethical terms are employed, and each has ὅσα prefixed, and in token of emphasis the whole is prefaced by ἀδελφοί. The rhythm and repetition are impressive. We do not think, with Wiesinger, that the apostle means to designate the entire compass of Christian morality. We rather think that the virtues referred to are such as not only specially adorn “the doctrine of God our Saviour,” but also such as may have been needed in Philippi. In each case, the apostle does not use abstract terms, but says- “Whatever things,” that is, what things come under the category of each designation—“these things meditate,” the ὅσα giving to each the notion of universality, and of course that of conformity to the verb λογίζεσθε. And first-
ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ—“whatsoever things are true.” It is too vague, on the part of OEcumenius, to explain ἀληθῆ by τὰ ἐνάρετα—“the excellent.” The adjective does not signify what is credible in opposition to what is fictitious, or what is substantial in contrast with what is shadowy. Nor should we, with Robinson, Meyer, and De Wette, confine the epithet to the gospel and its truth; nor with Theodoret, Bengel, and Bisping, to language; nor with others, to the absence of dissimulation. We take it to mean generally—“morally truthful,” whether specially referred to and illustrated in the gospel or not. For truth exists independently of the gospel, though the gospel has shed special light on its nature and obligation. They are to think on “the true” in everything of which it can be predicated-both in reference to God and man, the church and the world, themselves and others-the true in its spiritual and secular relations, in thought, speech, and position. See under Ephesians 4:25.
ὅσα σεμνά—“whatsoever things are grave,” or “decorous.” The adjective characterizes persons in 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:11, and Titus 2:2, in which places it stands opposed to a double tongue, to intemperance and avarice, to slander and unfaithfulness, and may denote becomingness or gravity of conduct. In classic Greek it has the sense of revered or venerated, from its connection with σέβομαι. Benfey, Wurzellex. i. p. 407. As applied to things, it may denote what in itself commands respect-what is noble or honourable-magnifica, as in Ambrosiaster. The pudica of the Vulgate is too limited. Our translators have used the epithet “honest” in its Latin or old English sense, signifying, but in fuller form, what is now termed “honourable.” Thus, in the Bible of 1551—“and upon those members of the body which we thynke lest honest, put we moste honestie on.” “Goodness,” says Sir William Temple, in his Essay on Government, “in our language, goes rather by the name of honesty.” Or in Ben Jonson—“You have honested my lodgings with your presence.” Richardson's Dictionary, sub voce. To illustrate this restricted sense of the term, one may recall the lines of Burns about the Scottish Muse-
“Her eye, even turned on empty space,
Beamed keen with honour.”
But σεμνά has a wider reach of meaning. We find it associated with such epithets as ἅγιον, μέτριον, καλὸν κἀγαθόν, and μεγαλοπρεπές, and it may point out the things which in dignity and honour, in gravity and nobleness, befit the position, character, and destiny of a believer. It is opposed to what is mean, frivolous, indecorous, and unworthy. Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum. Horace, Ep. lib. Philippians 1:1.
ὅσα δίκαια—“whatsoever things are right”-whatsoever things are in accordance with eternal and unchanging rectitude. We would not with many restrict it to equity or justice as springing out of mutual relations. Thus Calvin-ne quem laedamus, ne quem fraudemus, which is only one province of the right. The last epithet appeals more to sentiment, but this to principle. The right does not depend on legislation, but is everlasting and immutable. It is but a fallacious word-worship on the part of Horne Tooke to assert that right is simply what is ordered, rectum-(regitum), but quite in accordance with the theory of Hobbes. Dugald Stewart's Philosophical Essays, Essay 5.2nd ed.; Edin. 1816.
ὅσα ἁγνά—“whatsoever things are pure.” The Vulgate renders sancta, as if the Greek epithet had been ἅγια. Tittmann's Syn. i. p. 22. This term is used specially of chastity or modesty- 2 Corinthians 11:2; Titus 2:5 -and several critics, as Grotius and Estius, take such to be its meaning here. We take it in the broader sense in which it is found in 2 Corinthians 6:6; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 1 Timothy 5:22; James 3:17. “Whatever things are pure”-which are neither tainted nor corrupt-free from all debasing elements, clear in nature, transparent in purpose, leaving no blot on the conscience and no stain on the character. In Pindar it is the epithet of Apollo or the Sun- καὶ ἁγνὸν ᾿απόλλωνα, Pyth. 9.112. Chrysostom's distinction between this and the preceding epithet is, τὸ σεμνὸν τῆς ἔξω ἐστὶ δυνάμεως, τὸ δὲ ἁγνὸν τῆς ψυχῆς.
ὅσα προσφιλῆ —“whatsoever things are lovely.” This term occurs only here in the New Testament. It is, however, not uncommon with classical writers, and signifies what is dear to any one, or has in it such a quality as engages affection -lovely as exciting love. Sirach 4:7; Sirach 20:13. The meaning is too much diluted by the Greek expositors and others who follow them in giving the term a relation τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ τῷ θεῷ. Grotius and Erasmus hold another view, which is not warranted by the context. According to them, it may denote “benignant,” or “kindly disposed.” But special virtues, as Meyer says, are not here enumerated. “Whatsoever things are lovely”-whatever modes of action tend to endear him that does them, to give him with others not simply the approval of their judgment, but to open for him a place in their hearts- whatever things breathe the spirit of that religion which is love, and the doing of which should be homage to Him who is Love—“these things think on.”
ὅσα εὔφημα—“whatsoever things are of good report.” This word, like the former, is found only here in the New Testament, though the noun occurs in 2 Corinthians 6:8. Its composition tells its force—“what is well spoken of.” It had a peculiar meaning in Pagan usage-that which is of good omen, and a similar meaning Meyer would find here -was einen glücklichen Laut hat. But the result is not different in the more ordinary acceptation. Hesychius gives it the meaning of ἐπαινετά. Storr, without ground, prefers another sense, which makes the verb mean bene precari-to express good wishes for others, and he renders the adjective by benedictum. Whatever things on being seen lead all who behold them to exclaim—“Well-done!”-or indicate on the part of the actor such elements of character as are usually admired and well spoken of; deeds that sound well on being named, whether they consist of chivalrous generosity or meek condescension-a great feat or a good one-noble in idea or happy in execution. An action as right is vindicated by the judgment, as good it is approved by the heart, but as indicating generosity or nobleness of soul it is applauded. The apostle subjoins in his earnestness-
εἴ τις ἀρετὴ, καὶ εἴ τις ἔπαινος—“whatever virtue there is, and whatever praise there is.” Some MSS., as D1, E1, F, G, add ἐπιστήμης; Vulgate, disciplinoe. In the phrase εἴ τις there is no expression of doubt, on the one hand; nor, on the other hand, is the meaning that assigned by De Wette, van Hengel, Rheinwald, and others-if there be any other virtue, or any other object of praise, that is, other than those already mentioned, but not formally expressed. The clause is an emphatic and earnest summation. See under Philippians 2:1. The term ἀρετή is only here used by Paul. In the philosophical writings of Greece it signified all virtue, and not any special form of it, as it does in Homer and others. The apostle nowhere else uses it-it had been too much debased and soiled in some of the schools, and ideas were oftentimes attached to it very different from that moral excellence which with him was virtue. It is therefore here employed in its widest and highest sense of moral excellence-virtus, that which becomes a man redeemed by the blood of Christ and tenanted by the Holy Spirit. It is spoken of God in 1 Peter 2:9. From its connection with the Sanscrit vri-to be strong-Latin, vir-vires-virtus; or with ῎αρης- ἄριστος, it seems to signify what best becomes a man-manhood, strength or valour, in early times. Benfey, Wurzellex. i. p. 315. But the signification has been modified by national character and temperament. The warlike Romans placed their virtue in military courage; while their successors, the modern degenerate Italians, often apply it to a knowledge of antiquities or fine arts. The remains of other and nobler times are articles of virtu, and he who has most acquaintance with them is a virtuoso or man of virtue. In our common English, a woman's virtue is simply and alone her chastity, as being first and indispensable; and with our Scottish ancestors virtue was thrift or industry. Amidst such national variations, and the unsettled metaphysical disquisitions as to what forms virtue or what is its basis, it needed that He who created man for Himself should tell him what best became him-what he was made for and what he should aspire to. The noun ἔπαινος is praise in itself, and not res laudabilis, a thing to be praised, though many, including the lexicographers Robinson, Wahl, and Bretschneider, take such a view. It is not therefore anything to be praised, but any praise to be bestowed-laus comes virtutis, as Erasmus writes; or as Cicero-consentiens laus bonorum incorrupta vox bene judicantium de excellente virtute. Meyer gives as an example the thirteenth chapter of 1 Cor. -the praise of charity. And the apostle concludes with the expressive charge-
ταῦτα λογίζεσθε—“these things think upon.” They were to ponder on these things, not as matters of mere speculation, but of highest ethical moment, and of immediate practical utility.
The apostle does not mean to exhibit every element of a perfect character, but only some of its phases. Cicero says, De Fin. 3.4, 14-Quonam modo, inquam, si una virtus, unum istud, quod honestum appellas, rectum, laudabile, decorum -erit enim notius quale sit pluribus notatum vocabulis idem declarantibus. These ethical terms are closely united, nay, they blend together; the true, the decorous, the right, and the pure, are but different aspects or exemplifications of one great principle, leaves on the same stem. The first four terms seem to be gathered together into ἀρετή; the two last- “lovely and of good report”-into ἔπαινος. The true, the becoming, the right, and the pure are elements of virtue or moral excellence in themselves; but when exhibited in the living pursuit and practice of them, they assume the form of the lovely and well-reported, and then they merit and command praise. In still closer connection, the apostle enjoins-
(Philippians 4:9.) ῝α καὶ ἐμάθετε, καὶ παρελάβετε, καὶ ἠκούσατε, καὶ εἴδετε ἐν ἐμοί, ταῦτα πράσσετε—“which things also ye learned and received, and heard and saw in me, these things do.” Bengel says, with his usual point-facit transitionem a generalibus ad Paulina. By the pronoun ἅ the apostle refers to things just enumerated and enforced, and not to other things yet and now to be spoken of. He does not write ὅσα, but ἅ -giving precision and definiteness to his counsels. The first καί, as Meyer remarks, is simply “also,” the meaning being virtually “which things”-those of Philippians 4:8—“ye have also learned of me.” The sentences, at the same time, are so far distinct as the concluding verbs of each indicate. The four verbs are simply connected by καί, and the meaning is not- which ye have as well learned as received, as in the recent version of Ewald-was ihr wie lerntet so annahmet wie hörtet so sahet an mir. The four verbs are to be distinguished, for they are neither synonymous nor is the clause tautological. The first, ἐμάθετε, refers to instruction. Romans 16:17; Colossians 1:7. The next term, παρελάβετε, denotes the result of instruction, the appropriation of the knowledge conveyed, or the fact that they had assented to it or had embraced it. 1 Corinthians 15:1; Galatians 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:13. They had been instructed, and they had accepted the instruction, and therefore were they bound to abide by it. It is unwarranted in Grotius to find in ἐμάθετε the sense of prima institutio, and in παρελάβετε that of exactior doctrina. Hoelemann as groundlessly refers the first verb to the genus, and the others to the species, though he admits that the structure of the verse does not favour his view. Rilliet, too, makes this distinction-son enseignement direct, μανθάνω les instructions qu'il leur a transmises sous une forme quelconque- παραλαμβάνω. But more precisely-
καὶ ἠκούσατε καὶ εἴδετε ἐν ἐμοί—“and heard and saw in me.” The phrase ἐν ἐμοί is connected with both verbs. The apostle has referred to his public instructions, and now he concludes with his personal example. What they heard in connection with him is the report about him circulating in the church-the character which was usually given him. Chap. Philippians 3:17. Calvin and some others suppose the “hearing” to refer to Paul's oral instructions in Philippi-les recits, as Rilliet writes; but after the two preceding verbs this would be a needless repetition. Nor does it vaguely signify de me absente, as Hoelemann gives it. “And saw in me”-what they had witnessed in his conduct and character. His appeal is as in 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12. The two first verbs seem to refer to his official conduct, and the two last to his private demeanour. In connecting ἐν ἐμοί with ἠκούσατε as well as εἴδετε, it is needless to resort to the supposition of a zeugma. Nor is there any use in supposing, with Rilliet and van Hengel, that ἐν ἐμοί belongs equally and formally to all the four verbs. And the charge is-
ταῦτα πράσσετε—“these things practise.” It is not simply now- λογίζεσθε. Chrysostom says- μὴ λέγετε μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ πράττετε, but no contrast of this nature is intended, for the one term includes the other. Meyer supposes that there is a kind of formal parallelism-that both verbs really belong to both verses. Romans 10:10. Perhaps this is too refined. The apostle first enumerates the things possessed of certain specified qualities, and bids his readers think on them, for a mindless obedience would be accidental, and therefore worthless. But then he connects the previous general statement with his personal instructions, and their received tuition; nay, embodies it in his own character, and therefore he boldly bids them reproduce his lessons and example in their own experience and life. The four verbs are a species of climax: - ἐμάθετε, παρελάβετε, ἠκούσατε, εἴδετε—“ye learned,” more general; “ye took up,” more pointed; “ye heard,” more personal; “ye saw in me,” decided and definite. It is not simply Paul the teacher, but Paul the man, how he was reported of, nay, how he demeaned himself. It is not, do as I taught you, but also do as ye heard of me doing and saw me doing, in reference to all the elements of virtue and praise. And then-
καὶ ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης ἔσται μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν—“and then,” or “and so the God of peace shall be with you.” The meaning of και is as in the beginning of Philippians 4:7. The phrase God of peace is parallel to the preceding one-peace of God. In the former case the peace is described in its connection with God, and now God is pointed out as the inworker of this peace. It characterizes Him, and in this aspect belongs to what Scheuerlein calls die dominirenden Eigenschaften, p. 115. The phrase “God of peace” must not be weakened into Deus benignissimus. The words μεθ᾿ ὑμῶν resemble a common expression in the Old Testament- ִעמָּכֶם. To specify any single purpose which the presence of the God of peace with them should accomplish is useless and restricted, for He will work out every purpose- συνεργὸς τῶν ὅλων. The presence and operations of the God of peace are like the peace of God -they pass all understanding. And this sounds like the apostle's farewell-a pledge of peace to those who were aiming at the high Christian excellence described in the two previous verses, in whom the faith of the gospel had wrought a change which might ripen at length into the perfection of ethical symmetry and beauty.
(Philippians 4:10.) ᾿εχάρην δὲ ἐν κυρίῳ μεγάλως—“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly.” The apostle with the metabatic δέ passes to the business part of the letter-a personal subject which seems to have in part suggested the composition of the epistle. A gift had been brought to him, and he acknowledges it. The style of acknowledgment is quite like himself. In the fulness of his heart he first pours out a variety of suggestive and momentous counsels, and towards the conclusion he adds a passing word on the boon which Epaphroditus had brought him. He rejoiced over the gift in no selfish spirit; his joy was ἐν κυρίῳ, in the Lord, Philippians 3:1, Philippians 4:1. That is to say, his was a Christian gladness. The gift was contributed in the Lord, and in a like spirit he exulted in the reception of it. It was a proof to him, not simply that personally he was not forgotten, but also that his converts still realized their special and tender obligations to him as their spiritual father. And his joy was rapturous- μεγάλως. 1 Chronicles 29:9 - εὐφράνθη μεγάλως. Nehemiah 12:43 - ὁ θεὸς ηὔφρανεν αὐτοὺς μεγάλως. In the past tense of the verb, the apostle refers to his emotion when he first touched the gift, and for the form ἐχάρην see Buttmann, § 114.
The apostle now uses expressive phraseology; the figure being suggested not by the season of the year at which the gift was sent, as Bengel's fancy is, but the thought in its freshness budded into poetry-
ὅτι ἤδη ποτὲ ἀνεθάλετε τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν—“that now at length ye have flourished again in mindfulness for me.” The language implies that some time had elapsed since the state expressed by the first verb had been previously witnessed. The interval may have exceeded five years, and Chrysostom, specifying it as μακρόν, thinks, without foundation, that the clause implies a rebuke. The ποτέ throws a shade of indefiniteness over the ἤδη. Devarius, Klotz, vol. ii. p. 607; Kypke, ad Romans 1:10. The apostle does not deny the existence of the φρονεῖν at any moment; he simply hints that for some time it had not been in a fertile or productive state. The churches of Macedonia are highly praised for their liberality. 2 Corinthians 8:1-2. We take the infinitive φρονεῖν as simply dependent upon ἀνεθάλετε used in an intransitive sense, and τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ as its object.
There is indeed no grammatical objection to the transitive meaning. The word is found only here in the New Testament; but in the Hellenistic Greek of the Septuagint and Apocrypha it occurs often with the transitive sense. Ezekiel 17:24; Sirach 1:18; Sirach 11:22; Sirach 1:10. It is taken in this sense here by Cocceius, Hoelemann, Rilliet, and De Wette. It is difficult to render the sentence literally into English. In their care of the apostle they had put forth new shoots; they had been as a tree which had been bare and blossomless in winter, but they had grown green again and had yielded fruit; for this last idea is implied in the context. The transitive form of the verb would preserve the notion of activity or conscious effort on their part, as one source of the apostle's joy. On the other hand, many, perhaps the majority, prefer the passive signification, adopted by the Greek expositors and many others. Thus Chrysostom- ἐπὶ δένδρων βλαστησάντων, εἶτα ξηρανθέντων, καὶ πάλιν βλαστησάντων. The word occurs with this signification in Psalms 28:7; Wisdom of Solomon 4:4. Thus we may either speak of a tree revived, or a tree putting forth its buds and foliage. Wiesinger objects to the transitive sense, because ἀναθάλλειν is represented as not having been dependent on the will of the Philippians. But this is to press the figure too hardly, and to destroy the merit of the gift. The apostle's idea is-that the season had been inclement, and that during its continuance they could not flourish in their care of him, though they greatly desired it. Their bud had been nipped, but revirescence had begun. Meyer, objecting to the transitive sense, holds that τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν is not the object of ἀνεθάλετε, and that the verb is simply connected with the infinitive φρονεῖν. But in his opinion, they flourished green again, not in their care for the apostle, which had never withered, but in their own temporal circumstances. In this view he had been preceded by Schleusner, Wahl, Matthies, and van Hengel, who says-ut Philippenses ad priscam prosperitatem rediise significaret. The idea, however, is not supported by the context-they did care, the apostle affirms, but they wanted opportunity, not ability. He therefore seems to say, that their care of him had been for a time like sap and life in the veins of a tree, but an inclement season had prevented it from forming foliage and blossom.
ἐφ᾿ ᾧ καὶ ἐφρονεῖτε. What is the proper meaning of ἐφ᾿ ᾧ? We cannot, with Calvin, Rilliet, and Bretschneider, make μου the antecedent, or supply to ᾧ the name of the apostle-erga quem-the formula being invariably used by the apostle in the neuter gender. Various other renderings have been given. Thus De Wette-qua de re; a-Lapide, in qua re; while others make it in quo, in respect of which. Not a few contend for an adverbial signification, the Vulgate having sicut, and van Hengel quemadmodum, Luther wiewohl, and Winer weshalb. To give to ἐφ᾿ ᾧ the entire clause as antecedent would, as Meyer and Wiesinger say, bring out this strange collocation- ἐφρονεῖτε ἐπὶ τῷ τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν; yet Wiesinger inclines to adopt it, and he is followed by Ellicott. Wiesinger gives φρονεῖν a somewhat different sense in the two clauses, and says—“Could not the apostle, while he regarded the first φρονεῖν as a proof of their solicitude for him, say with perfect propriety, such an actual care for me was the object of your care?” that is, you were solicitous to show or prove your solicitude. But this construction does appear clumsy and illogical. The phrase ἐφ᾿ ᾧ might indeed be taken in an adverbial sense, might be rendered “for,” or propterea quod. Romans 5:12; 2 Corinthians 5:4. Thus Thomas Magister- ἐφ᾿ ᾧ, ἀντὶ διότι. See also Phavorinus- ἐφ᾿ ᾧ, ἀντὶ τοῦ διότι. See under Philippians 3:12, p. 194. See also Meyer, Fritzsche, Philippi, and Olshausen on Romans 5:12. It might then be rendered—“I rejoiced that you have flourished again in your care for me, because indeed ye were caring for me, but ye lacked opportunity.” But perhaps the phrase τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν is best resolved, as we have said, by taking τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ as the object of the verb, and regarding it as meaning “my interest;” and then τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ becomes the antecedent to ἐφ᾿ ᾧ—“for which,” that is, for my interest, or as to what specially befits me, ye were also mindful. The cause of his joy was not their care for him in itself-that had never been absent, as he says; but he rejoiced that it had found renewed opportunity of manifestation. θάλλειν could once be predicated of their solicitude, as when they sent once and again to Thessalonica to his necessities; but the season became unpropitious. What made it so we know not-probably the distance of the apostle from them; or perhaps they thought that other churches should take upon them the obligation. Their solicitude was during all this period still in existence, but θάλλειν could not be predicated of it-they were unproductive. But now they burst into verdure, and the apostle says to them ἀνεθάλετε-ye came into leaf again. They were not to suppose that he censured them for forgetting him; and lest his language should be so misconstrued, he adds-for my interest ye were also mindful. The contrast, then, lies between the simple imperfect ἐφρονεῖτε-the care of him being all the while present-and the ἀνεθάλετε φρονεῖν, a new and flourishing manifestation of it. The apostle, in a word, does not joy over the existence of their care, for of its existence he had never doubted, but over its second spring. Meyer thinks that the omission of μέν after ἐφρονεῖτε gives emphasis to the contrast. For examples of the opposite-of μέν without δέ-see Acts 1:1; Acts 4:16.
ἠκαιρεῖσθε δέ—“but ye lacked opportunity.” The verb belongs to the later Greek. Phryn. Lobeck, p. 125. It occurs only here in the New Testament; ἀκαίρως is used in 2 Timothy 4:2; but the opposite compound εὐκαιρεῖν and its substantive and adjective are found several times. The phrase may mean more than opportunitas mittendi-ye would, but ye could not find an opportune period or occasion. Circumstances were unpropitious, but we have no means of discovering the actual cause. So that the view of Chrysostom cannot be sustained - οὐκ εἴχετε ἐν χερσίν. He says that this meaning which he gives the verb was a common one, derived from popular use - ἀπὸ τῆς κοινῆς συνηθείας. Theodore of Mopsuestia has the same view. As vain is it, on the part of Storr and Flatt, to refer the obstacle to Judaizing teachers. It may be remembered that one of the earliest fruits of the apostle's labours at Philippi was the kindness of hospitality. Lydia said, “Come into my house and abide there, and she constrained us.” And the jailor even, when his heart had been touched, “took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes”- “brought them into his house and set meat before them.” Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33-34. If the mindfulness of the Philippian church resembled these specimens, the apostle could have no hesitation in saying—“ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
The apostle now with a peculiar delicacy guards himself against misconstruction. He might have referred to the lofty disinterestedness of his past life; to the fact that he had wrought with his own hands to supply his necessities; that he had not been ashamed to stoop to the craft he had learned in youth, and earn by it a scanty subsistence-waiving in some cases the right which he had firmly vindicated, and based more on equity than generosity, that “they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”
(Philippians 4:11.) οὐχ ὅτι καθ᾿ ὑστέρησιν λέγω—“Not that I speak on account of want.” The formula οὐχ ὅτι, introducing an explanation, occurs in Philippians 3:12, Philippians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:9. Winer, § 64, 6. See under Philippians 3:12, p. 193. The κατά has the signification here which it has in various places, and denotes “occasion.” Matthew 19:3; Acts 3:17; Winer, § 49, d, b, (b); Robinson, sub voce; Raphel. in loc. The Syriac has given it quite correctly—“I have not spoken because there is need to me,” and Wycliffe—“I seie not as for nede.” Van Hengel's care to give κατά its ordinary meaning, “after the manner of,” is superfluous-ut more receptum est penurioe. Theophylact explains it by διά. The two senses of the preposition are intimately connected, the one suggesting and warranting the other. It was not the pressure of penury that prompted the apostle's joy, nor yet the mere value of that sum sent to secure relief. He was in straits-the Roman law allowed no luxury to its prisoners; but he was excited to this utterance not by a sense of want, but by other motives of a higher and nobler nature. The gold and silver sent to him were not valued and made a matter of thanksgiving simply as the means of rescue from indigence, or as enabling him either to procure this comfort or to discharge that obligation. He rose above such a feeling, for to want he was no stranger, and he had learned contentment under all circumstances. At the same time, as Wiesinger says, “he does not deny the fact of his being in want.” But he received the gift as the symbol of spiritual good wrought in Philippi by his preaching, and the reception of it proving their tender attachment to him still, was all the more soothing and refreshing amidst the coldness and hostility which he was encountering at Rome. Chap. Philippians 1:12, etc. He proceeds to give the great reason why it was that he had so spoken, but not for want's sake-
ἐγὼ γὰρ ἔμαθον, ἐν οἷς εἰμὶ, αὐτάρκης εἶναι—“for I (for my part) have learned in the circumstances in which I am to be content.” The epithet αὐτάρκης means self-sufficing, having within one what produces contentment. The special idea of not being dependent on others is sometimes found in it, as πόλις αὐτάρκης, a city that does not need to import. Thucyd. 1.37. Perhaps, however, this idea is not formally connected with the word when used ethically, though still it may be implied. Wiesinger objects that this state of self-competence, or of not requiring the assistance of others, never can be learned. Now, surely there is no lesson more frequent: for the mind, as it is thrown upon its own resources, learns its strength, and becomes through such discipline its own support. The apostle was content, and that state of contentment was the result of a long and varied experience- ἔμαθον. He does not, by the use of this verb, refer, as Pelagius and Bengel imagine, to divinely-given instruction—“a Christo.” Hebrews 5:8. In the use and position of the ἐγώ, he gives prominence to his own individual training, and its result—“I for my part.” The apostle learned contentment, but he does not say that he had created it within him. He had learned it in whatever way it could be acquired, and he cherished it. It was not self-infused, but experience had brought it to him. This was true philosophy, for discontent could not have removed the evil, and would only have embittered what little good remained. The captive may shake the chain, but as he cannot shake it off, his impatient effort only galls his limbs with aggravated severity.
And that contentment was not an incidental state of mind, nor restricted to his present state, for he says- ἐν οἷς εἰμί, “in the condition in which I am.” The relative is neuter, and not masculine, as Luther renders it. Kypke, Observ. ii. p. 319. The right translation is not “in whatever state I may be,” but “in whatever state I am”-realizing as present, not only each of the various states described in the following verse, but any state in which Providence might place him. The contentment which the apostle universally and uniformly possessed, sprang not from indifference, apathy, or desperation. It was not sullen submission to his fate, not the death of hope within him. He felt what want was, and keenly felt it, and therefore he gladly accepted of relief, and rejoiced in all such manifestations of Christian sympathy. Nor was he self-sufficient in the ordinary or the common sense of the term. It was no egotistic delusion that upheld him, nor did he ever invoke the storm to show that he could brave it. But his mind calmly bowed to the will of God in every condition in which he was placed. For that wondrous equanimity and cheerfulness which far excelled the stolid and stubborn endurance ascribed to heathen stoicism, gave him the mastery over circumstances. He felt the evil, but surmounted it-a purer triumph than with a petrified heart to be unconscious of it. Socrates in Stobaeus, lib. v. § 43, is reported to have said- αὐτάρκεια φύσεώς ἐστι πλοῦτος. See Barrow's five sermons on this text. Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living, iv., with his wonted wealth of genius, writes:—“If your estate be lessened, you need the less to care who governs the province, whether he be rude or gentle. I am crossed in my journey, and yet I 'scaped robbers; and I consider, that if I had been set upon by villains, I would have redeemed that evil by this, which I now suffer, and have counted it a deliverance: or if I did fall into the hands of thieves, yet they did not steal my land. Or I am fallen into the hands of publicans and sequestrators, and they have taken all from me: what now? let me look about me. They have left me the sun and moon, fire and water, a loving wife, and many friends to pity me, and some to relieve me, and I can still discourse; and, unless I list, they have not taken away my merry countenance, and my cheerful spirit, and a good conscience: they still have left me the providence of God, and all the promises of the gospel, and my religion, and my hopes of heaven, and my charity to them too; and still I sleep and digest, I eat and drink, I read and meditate, I can walk in my neighbour's pleasant fields, and see the varieties of natural beauties and delight in all that in which God delights, that is, in virtue and wisdom, in the whole creation, and in God Himself. And he that hath so many causes of joy, and so great, is very much in love with sorrow and peevishness, who loses all these pleasures, and chooses to sit down upon his little handful of thorns. Is that beast better, that hath two or three mountains to graze on, than the little bee that feeds on dew or manna, and lives upon what falls every morning from the storehouses of heaven, clouds and Providence? Can a man quench his thirst better out of a river than a full urn, or drink better from the fountain, which is finely paved with marble, than when it swells over the green turf? Pride and artificial gluttonies do but adulterate nature, making our diet healthless, our appetites impatient and unsatisfiable, and the taste mixed, fantastical, and meretricious. But that which we miscall poverty, is indeed nature: and its proportions are the just measures of a man, and the best instruments of content. But when we create needs that God or nature never made, we have erected to ourselves an infinite stock of trouble, that can have no period. Sempronius complained of want of clothes, and was much troubled for a new suit, being ashamed to appear in the theatre with his gown a little threadbare: but when he got it, and gave his old clothes to Codrus, the poor man was ravished with joy, and went and gave God thanks for his new purchase; and Codrus was made richly fine and cheerfully warm by that which Sempronius was ashamed to wear; and yet their natural needs were both alike.”
(Philippians 4:12.) οἶδα καὶ ταπεινοῦσθαι, οἶδα καὶ περισσεύειν—“I know also to be abased, I know also to abound.” The καί after the first οἶδα is accepted on preponderant authority, instead of the δέ of the common text. In οἶδα the apostle speaks not of the results, but of the sources of ἔμαθον. And that knowledge was not one-sided, or an acquaintance with only one aspect of life- καὶ ταπεινοῦσθαι. The first καί is “also,” connecting special instances with the previous general statement. Winer, § 53, 3. The verb here refers to condition, not to mental state. Leviticus 25:39; Proverbs 13:7; 2 Corinthians 11:7. Its opposite ὑψοῦσθαι is not employed, but another verb of a more general nature. For the apostle did not mean to mark such a narrow contrast as—“I know also to be elevated;” but he writes καὶ περισσεύειν. This second καί, not in itself but from the sense, contrasts as it connects. The two verbs are not to be taken in any confined signification, but with a general sense as indicative of two opposite states; the one marking depression and want, and the other sufficiency and more. The repetition of οἶδα exhibits the earnest fulness of his heart; and the rhetoric is even a proof of his uniform satisfaction and complacency, for he writes as equably of the one condition as of the other. He does not curse his poverty, nor sting with satirical epithets, but he verifies the remark ἐν οἷς εἰμί. Nay, warming with his subject, he adds in higher emphasis-
ἐν παντὶ καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν μεμύημαι—“in everything and in all things I have been initiated.” It seems a refinement on the part of many to define the two adjectives separately. Thus Luther takes the first as neuter, and the second as masculine; Conybeare renders, “in all things, and among all men;” while Chrysostom refers παντί to time, and Beza and Calvin to place, following the reading of the Vulgate-ubique. To supply either χρόνῳ or τόπῳ is too precise. 2 Corinthians 9:8; 2 Corinthians 11:6. The phrase, in its repetition, expresses the unlimited sphere of initiation. We cannot follow Meyer and Alford in connecting the phrase so closely with the two following infinitives. For if the infinitives stand as direct accusatives to μεμύημαι, then we should almost expect the definite article to precede them. Kühner, § 643. It is true that this verb usually governs two accusatives of person and thing, and in the passive has the latter, and that the thing into which one is initiated is put in the accusative, and not in the dative preceded by ἐν. But we do not regard the phrase as pointing out that in which he was instructed, but as an adverbial formula showing the universality of the initiation, and not its objects. Nay, opposites or extremes are chosen to show the warrant he had for the sweeping assertion- ἐν παντὶ καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν. Nor do we, with Meyer, regard it as analogous to ἐν οἷς εἰμί, but simply as qualifying μεμύημαι; while the infinitives are generally illustrative of the entire clause, as well of the objects of initiation as of the universality. The verb is borrowed from the nomenclature of the Grecian mysteries, and signifies the learning of something with preparatory toil and discipline. Hesychius defines μύησις by μάθησις. There is no idea of secret training-disciplina arcana, as Bengel puts it. The Greek Fathers explain it by πεῖραν ἔλαβον πάντων; but it is more than this, for it is not simply to have experience, but to have profited, or to have been instructed by that experience. 3 Maccabees 2:30; Münthe, Observat. p. 383. I am instructed-
καὶ χορτάζεσθαι καὶ πεινᾶν, καὶ περισσεύειν καὶ ὑστερεῖσθαι —“both to be filled and to be famished, both to abound and to be in want.” χορτάζω, literally to feed with hay or grass, represents the Hebrew שָׂבַע, H8425 in the Septuagint, and is a word of the later Greek in its application to persons. Sturz, De Dialecto Maced. pp. 200-202. It is used frequently in the Gospels. The peculiar form πεινᾶν for πεινῆν also belongs to the later writers. Phryn. Lobeck, p. 61; A. Buttmann, p. 38; Winer, § 13, 3. περισσεύειν has its proper antithesis in ὑστερεῖσθαι. The apostle's experience had led him to touch both extremes. It was not uniform penury under which he was content. The scene was checkered-shadow and sunshine-no unmanly depression in the one, no undue elation in the other. Equable, contented, patient, and hopeful was he in every condition. The verbs employed by the apostle are ἔμαθον- οἶδα- μεμύημαι, but they do not form a climax, as some suppose. The first is general, and looks to experiential result, or the lesson of contentment. How he came to that lesson he tells us in οἶδα, and how he acquired this knowledge he says in μεμύημαι. See Suicer, sub voce. There was first the initiation into the various states, then the consequent knowledge of their nature, and lastly, the great practical lesson of contentment which was learned under them. The apostle waxes yet bolder, and exclaims-
(Philippians 4:13.) πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με—“I can do all things in Him strengthening me.” The χριστῷ in the Received Text has in its favour D3, E, F, G, J, K, and the Syriac also, while some of the Fathers read χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ, and other forms occur, as in Origen and others. But the omission of the name has the higher authority of A, B, D1, with the Vulgate and others. The reference is unmistakeable, and the omission of the name gives a peculiar point to the starting declaration. It is wrong to insert an infinitive between ἰσχύω and πάντα, for πάντα is the accusative of object, as in Galatians 5:6, James 5:16, in which places τι and πολύ are similarly employed with πάντα. Wisdom of Solomon 16:20. Such an accusative expresses measure or extent-das Mass und die Ausdehnung. Madvig, § 27. It is to spiritual might that the verb refers, and that might has no limitations. For πάντα (not τὰ πάντα) is not bounded by the preceding references, as van Hengel gives it in omnia memorata. Knowledge is power; and the apostle rises from knowledge to power-tells what he knows, and then what he can achieve. It was no idle boast, for he refers at once to the source of this all-daring energy-
ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με. 2 Corinthians 12:9. The preposition ἐν marks the union through which this moral energy is enjoyed —“in Him strengthening me,” that is, in His strength communicated to me. Acts 9:22; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:17; Hebrews 11:34. We have the simple form of the verb in Colossians 1:11. Had we retained the term “inforce,” with the same meaning as its common compound “re-inforce,” we should have had a good and equivalent translation of the participle. Richardson gives an instance from old English —“clasping their legges together, they inforce themselves with strength.” The rendering of the Vulgate employs a verb from the same root-qui me confortat. The apostle boasts not only of a high courage in reference to such triumphs as he had achieved, and others of a similar class or nature, but he claims a moral omnipotence, and allows no limit to its sweep and energy. His allusion is probably, however, to a certain sphere of operation, such as that presented in outline in the previous verses. Where unassisted humanity should sink and be vanquished, he should prove his wondrous superiority. Privation, suffering, and martyrdom could not subdue him, and what might seem impracticable should be surmounted by him in his borrowed might. He could attempt all which duty required, and he could succeed in all; for to him the epithet impossible, in an ethical aspect, had no existence. The verse is virtually climactic. After saying that he had learned contentment under every condition, and telling that he had known so many varieties and extremes of condition-it being implied that he was uninfluenced by any of them-he adds, in earnest and final summation-Not these alone, but all things I can do in Him strengthening me. It is also to be borne in mind that this ability came not from his commission as an apostle, but from his faith as a saint. The endowment was not of miracle, but of grace.
(Philippians 4:14.) πλὴν καλῶς ἐποιήσατε, συγκοινωνήσαντές μου τῇ θλίψει—“Howbeit ye did well in that ye had fellowship with my affliction.” By checking himself and writing πλήν, the apostle guards against a misinterpretation of what he had just uttered. See under Philippians 1:18, Philippians 3:16. Though he had learned contentment in every situation, and his mind could accommodate itself to every change of circumstances; though he had fresh and inexhaustible sources of consolation within himself, and had been so disciplined as to acquire the mastery over his external condition and to achieve anything in Christ, yet he felt thankful for the sympathy of the Philippian church, and praised them for it. His humanity was not absorbed in his apostleship, and his heart, though self-sufficed, was deeply moved by such tokens of affection. Notwithstanding what I feel and have said, and though I am not dependent for happiness on such gifts—“ye did well.” For this common use of καλῶς see Mark 7:9; Acts 10:33. The phrase καλῶς ἐποιήσατε is connected with the participle, and the action in the participle, while it is of the same time as the verb ἐποιήσατε, points out that in which their well-doing was exhibited. They did well, when or in that they did this. Winer, § 45, 6, b. The same form of construction is found in Acts 10:33. Elsner, in loc.; Raphelius, in loc. The participle presents the ethical view in which the apostle regarded their pecuniary gift, and συγκοινωνεῖν means “to be a partaker with.” Ephesians 5:11. They had become, through their substantial sympathy, partakers of his affliction, and in so far they had lightened his burden, for θλῖψις depicts not simply his penury, but his entire state. See under Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:17. Though he was contented, he yet felt that there was “affliction” -loss of liberty-jealous surveillance-inability to fulfil the great end of his apostolic vocation. This sympathy on the part of the Philippians with the suffering representative of Christ and His cause, is the very trait of character which the Judge selects for eulogy at last. Matthew 25:35, etc. The apostle proceeds to remind them that such intercourse was no novelty on their part. They had distinguished themselves above other churches for it and similar manifestations, and he has already given thanks to God ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν. See Philippians 1:5. How the church at a later period did communicate in temporal and spiritual things with the affliction of sufferers, may be seen in Tertullian's address ad Martyras.
(Philippians 4:15.) οἴδατε δὲ καὶ ὑμεῖς, φιλιππήσιοι, ὅτι ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, ὅτε ἐξῆλθον ἀπὸ ΄ακεδονίας, οὐδεμία μοι ἐκκλησία ἐκοινώνησεν εἰς λόγον δόσεως καὶ λήψεως, εἰ μὴ ὑμεῖς μόνοι- “But you, Philippians, are also yourselves aware, that at the introduction of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me to account of gift and receipt, but you alone.” οἴδατε καὶ ὑμεῖς is—“you know as well as I,” and by δέ the apostle goes back in contrast to previous gifts and services. The phrase cannot have the meaning which Peile inclines to give it—“of yourselves ye must remember.” And in the fulness of his heart he names them. 2 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 3:1. The insertion of the name is a peculiar emphasis, but it is not “my Philippians,” as a term of endearment. The phrase ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου is —“in the beginning or introduction of the gospel”-the period when they received it, as the following clause intimates.
The phrase εἰς λόγον δόσεως καὶ λήψεως has been variously understood. The peculiar use of λόγος in Philippians 4:17 points to a similar sense here. There it denotes “to your account,” or, to be included in such reckoning as belongs to you. Matthew 18:23; Luke 16:2. It therefore signifies here more than “in reference to,” though Bengel, van Hengel, Lünemann, and Brückner so regard it. As to the words δόσις καὶ λήψις, the earliest opinion was, that in the first term the apostle alludes to the temporal remuneration which the Philippians gave him, and by the second to the spiritual instruction which they in return received. So Chrysostom, OEcumenius, and Theophylact, the first of whom calls this intercommunication εἰς λόγον δόσεως, τῶν σαρκικῶν, καὶ λήψεως, τῶν πνευματικῶν. The same exegesis is adopted by Pelagius and Calvin, Estius and a-Lapide, by Zanchius and Hammond, Wiesinger, Bisping, and Ellicott. It is true that the apostle in other places vindicates this reciprocal communication, affirms that the sowing of spiritual things warrants in equity the reaping of carnal things, and indicates the inferiority of a church that did not discharge this duty to its teachers-spiritualia dantes, temporalia accipientes. 1 Corinthians 9:1-15; 2 Corinthians 11:9; 2 Corinthians 12:13. But there does not seem to be any such allusion in the verse before us. The apostle is not conducting an argument as to the duty of the church, nor could the simple terms employed bear such a complex meaning. He alludes simply to the fact of communication, and not to its principles or obligation. Nor does he seem to hint at the spiritual good which he had effected among them.
The same objections apply to a second form of explanation, adopted by Meyer and Alford:-the Philippians kept an account of outlay to Paul and receipt by him; and so, on the other hand, the apostle kept an account of what was given to the Philippians and its receipt by them. But the idea of such reciprocity is not contained in the words; for the entire context seems to refer simply to what the apostle received from the church. Meyer is obliged to confess, that according to his theory the accounts were curiously kept-that in the Philippian account-book the column of receivings would be empty, and so in that of Paul would be the column of givings -an idea which virtually destroys that of reciprocity. Meyer's explanation is well styled by Brückner, nimis artificiose. Nor, thirdly, should we look at the words so literally as to suppose δόσις to refer to the Philippians who gave, and λῆψις to Paul who allowed himself to receive. Rheinwald reverses this order, and thinks while the Philippians gave the money, they also received from him similar gifts in return- gifts collected by the other churches. The Macedonian churches made liberal collections, but we do not read that any were ever made for them. Others, again, have this notion -No church gave me a sum so large as to be worth entering in an account-book, but you. Thus Hoog-tot tantaque erant, ut digna essent, quare in libro notarentur. Probably we may regard the phrase as idiomatic, and as expressing generally pecuniary transactions. Thus Sirach 42:7 - δόσις καὶ λῆψις πάντα ἐν γραφῇ; or Cicero-ratio acceptorum et datorum. Lael. 16. See also Schoettgen, vol. i. p. 804. No church entered into pecuniary reckonings with me, but yourselves. The apostle means of course gifts for himself, and not as when some churches had entrusted him with funds on behalf of the poorer saints. He is anxious still to show that the gift sent to Rome was no novelty, but that such intercourse between him and the Philippian church is of an old date, though it had been suspended for a season. He refers back to the introduction of the gospel among them, and more specifically-
ὅτε ἐξῆλθον ἀπὸ ΄ακεδονίας—“when I departed from Macedonia.” Many, like van Hengel, De Wette, and Wiesinger, are disposed to take the aorist as a pluperfect,—“after I had taken my departure from Macedonia.” The reference is then supposed to be to the monies received by him at Corinth, alluded to in 2 Corinthians 11:9. The aorist may have in some cases a pluperfect meaning. Winer, § 40, 5; Jelf, § 404. But we agree with Meyer that this supposition is needless. Wiesinger presents the difficulty—“Wherefore does the apostle mention in the next verse what is earlier in point of time?” We believe the apostle to refer to two points of time, close indeed on one another-the introduction of the gospel, and his departure from Macedonia. As he was leaving their province and going away from them, they helped him. It may have been the remissness of the Thessalonian church which impressed the benefaction more deeply on his mind, or it may have been the circumstance that he had got the gift as he was leaving the province; or it may be that the period of his departure is fixed upon, since it was the commencement of a correspondence with him as a labourer in foreign stations-the first of a series of contributions sent him on his distant missionary tours, and when he had no longer a personal claim for immediate service rendered. So long as he was in their province he might feel himself to be at home with them. But to justify the expression the apostle recurs to an earlier period, even before he had left Macedonia, and says-
(Philippians 4:16.) ῞οτι καὶ ἐν θεσσαλονίκῃ καὶ ἅπαξ καὶ δὶς εἰς τὴν χρείαν μοι ἐπέμψατε—“For even in Thessalonica both once and a second time ye sent to me for my necessity.” Hoelemann, van Hengel, Rilliet, and others give ὅτι the sense of “that,” and so connect it with οἴδατε; but the verse in that case would want a definite purpose, and the connection would be awkward and entangled. On the other hand, we take this verse, with Luther, Meyer, and others, as expressing an argument. The apostle reverts to a period earlier than his departure from the province, and says, that even in Thessalonica, and before he had gone from the province of Macedonia in which Thessalonica was situated, they more than once communicated with him. When labouring at Thessalonica, the apostle speaks thus of himself—“labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you.” 1 Thessalonians 2:9. And he says in his second epistle-3:8, 9- “Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought, but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” The sums sent from Philippi did not fully supply the need of the apostle, for he was still obliged to work; but it argued goodwill on the part of the Philippian church, and the apostle refers with gratitude to their liberality. Even in Thessalonica, a neighbouring city, which ought to have supported him, but where for several reasons he did not have support or rather refused to have it, the Philippian brethren had shown a noble spirit and sent to him. Not only when he left the province, but at a prior period they had shown their generous appreciation of his services, and sent what the apostle without any false delicacy names- εἰς τὴν χρείαν μοι —“to my need”-a need they well understood, and sought to relieve. εἰς marks destination. Winer, § 49, a. This they did ἅπαξ καὶ δίς. The phrase represents in the Septuagint different Hebrew formulas, such as פּעַםוּשְׁ† ָתּיִם׃à, ַ, Nehemiah 13:20, or כְ† ַפעַםאּבְּפַָעַם, 1 Samuel 3:10. The repetition of the conjunction καί- καί gives a conscious force. Mark 9:22; Romans 14:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Maccabees 3:30; Hartung, p. 143. The use of both numerical terms is a rhetorical formula, in which the repetition is warmly dwelt on, and so acquires prominence. The similar phrase δὶς καὶ τρίς occurs also in the classics, as in Herodotus 2.121. But the language does not warrant us to suppose with Michaelis that the Philippians sent to the apostle an “annual bounty.” The καί before ἐν θεσσαλονίκῃ signifies even, etiam. Hartung, 1.135. Chrysostom's explanation of the καί is, that it insinuates the importance of Thessalonica: even in such a great city- ἐν τῇ μητροπόλει-he was supported by the Christians of a smaller one. The verb ἐπέμψατε has no formal accusative-it being supplied by the sense of the clause. Acts 11:29. The words ἐν θεσσαλονίκῃ occur by a common idiom. It is somewhat tame to connect them with μοι—“to me being in Thessalonica ye sent.” This is indeed the sense, but the apostle more pregnantly expresses it. His shade of meaning is not merely that they had sent the gift into Thessalonica, but that the deputies had travelled into Thessalonica, and in it had found the apostle, and had put into his hands the liberality of the Philippian church. ᾿εν is not used for εἰς. Winer, § 50, 4, a; Thucydides, Philippians 4:14. The various readings of the verse are εἰς omitted in A, D1, E2, as well as in the Syriac-an omission probably caused through the similar final letters ( ις) of the preceding word; and μοι is the true reading in opposition to μου, which has only a few inferior authorities. Chrysostom's remark is finical,-the apostle does not say τὰς ἐμάς -my wants, but speaks absolutely, ἁπλῶς. The apostle is jealous lest this free-speaking should be misunderstood, lest he should be supposed to rate the contribution only at its money value, and perhaps, too, lest his thankfulness for past benefactions should be construed into a quiet hint that future and larger favours are expected by him. Such a misinterpretation he at once disclaims-
(Philippians 4:17.) οὐχ ὅτι ἐπιζητῶ τὸ δόμα—“Not that I seek for the gift”-that is, not precisely the gift he had got, but such a gift as that on which he had been commenting, and for which he had so earnestly thanked them. The compound verb denotes desire towards- ἐπί marking direction. See p. 17. It is useless, on the part of Rosenmüller and Am Ende, to say that δόμα stands for δόσις. The gift in itself excited no desire. The apostle uses the present tense, as Meyer says, to denote the usual and characteristic tendency of his mind, but perhaps also to show that, even at the present moment, and when a prisoner in need, and debarred also from the slight remuneration of a manual employment, he does not set his heart upon the gift for itself. In receiving the gift, and eulogizing them for it, there is something he intimates as higher than it-something he desires of nobler interest. οὐχ ὅτι is the same as in Philippians 4:11. See also Philippians 3:12. The unselfish soul of the apostle looked not to its “own things;” it could willingly “endure all things for the elect's sake;” “not yours, but you,” was its motto-
ἀλλ᾿ ἐπιζητῶ τὸν καρπὸν τὸν πλεονάζοντα εἰς λόγον ὑμῶν- “but I seek for the fruit that does abound to your account.” The repetition of the verb adds a certain emphasis-my heart is not set upon that, but my heart is set upon this. Similar repetition may be found, Ephesians 2:17; Ephesians 2:19; Romans 8:15; Hebrews 12:18; Hebrews 12:22. The substantive καρπός is not fruit generally, as many understand, or as Rilliet phrases it—“fruits de vie religieuse.” It is plainly, fruit as future recompense connected with the δόμα. It is not the gift he covets, but that rich spiritual blessing which the gift secures to its donor. The words εἰς λόγον ὑμῶν may be connected either with ἐπιζητῶ, or the participle πλεονάζοντα. In behalf of the former, it is urged by van Hengel that πλεονάζω is never in Paul's writing followed by εἰς. The statement is scarcely correct. We cannot indeed say, with Meyer, that 2 Thessalonians 1:3 is an exception to van Hengel's remark, for there we think εἰς ἀλλήλους is evidently connected with ἑνὸς ἑκάστου πάντων -the intensive phrase, “each one of you all,” demands the filling up εἰς ἀλλήλους. Similar is 1 Thessalonians 3:12. In other instances it is used intransitively, and without any complement, so that the non-occurrence of πλεονάζω with εἰς will not invalidate the proposed connection here-a connection which is at once natural and logical. The very phrase- τὸν καρπὸν τὸν πλεονάζοντα-seems to necessitate such a complement as εἰς λόγον ὑμῶν-an idiom which evidently bases itself on the previous εἰς λόγον δόσεως. This suggests that the first phrase has special reference to the apostle's giving and receiving, reckoned or put down by him to his own account; but he wishes the fruit that abounds to their account. The καρπός is their fruit springing from the δόμα and put down to the donor's credit. The apostle wished them to reap the growing spiritual interest of their generous expenditure. Not for his own sake but theirs, does he desire the gift. He knew that the state of mind which devised and contributed such a gift, was blessed in itself; that it must attract divine blessing, for it indicated the depth and amount of spiritual good which the apostle had done to them, and for which they thus expressed their gratitude; and it showed their sympathy with the cause of Christ, when they had sought to enable their spiritual Founder in former days to give his whole time, without distraction or physical exhaustion, to the work of his apostleship. This was a spiritual condition which could not but meet with the divine approbation, and secure the divine reward. Having, in the words following οὐχ ὅτι, not only guarded himself against misconstruction, but also given a positive revelation of his feelings, he proceeds again to the course of thought found in Philippians 4:14-16. He thanks them for their gift, assures them that he has not forgotten their previous kindness, in doing which they stood alone among the churches at the time, and which they commenced at an early period. And now, as the result of their last benefaction, he says-
(Philippians 4:18.) ᾿απέχω δὲ πάντα καὶ περισσεύω—“But I have all things, and I abound.” The particle δέ is closely allied to the 17th verse—“not that I desire a gift-but I am so well gifted, that I can say I have all.” It may also resume the sentiment of Philippians 4:14, and be illustrative of the words καλῶς ἐποιήσατε —“ye did well,” for the result is, “I have all.” If Meyer's view be adopted, that this verse has a connection only with the preceding one, it would suppose the apostle to give a second and subsidiary reason why he did not desire the gift. Now he has given the real reason in the second clause of the previous verse; and this clause cannot be an additional reason, unless the meaning of the phrase—“not that I desire the gift”-be, not that I desire any further gift. But such is not its precise meaning, and therefore we understand him to say-ye did well in communicating: well; but now I have all things, and abound- δέ suggested by the statement in the immediately previous verse. A strange view is entertained of the phrase ἀπέχω δὲ πάντα by Erasmus, Grotius, Beza, a-Lapide, and others, as if it were a form of receipt, acknowledging on his part the possession of the whole gift. The marginal reading of our version is—“I have received all.” It is a dull remark of Bloomfield—“ ἀπέχω is for ἔχω,” corrected in his “Supplemental Volume” thus—“It is rightly rendered by accepi, or acceptum teneo.” The groundlessness of this view is shown by the close connection of ἀπέχω with περισσεύω, for the apostle speaks not of the possession as a matter of acknowledgment, but as a matter of conscious enjoyment. The result of their gift was, that he had enough and to spare. The compound verb ἀπέχω is to have in full, or to have all one needs or expects. Winer, § 40, 4; Palairet, ad Matthew 6:5; Observat. p. 25. Thus, in the impersonal form ἀπέχει- “it suffices,” and Hesychius defines it by ἐξαρκεῖ. But the apostle had not only enough, he had more than enough- καὶ περισσεύω, “and I abound.” The verb is used absolutely, without any complement, as in Philippians 4:12. The gift more than sufficed for all the apostle's wants. As he was rich in his own contentment, he was easily satisfied with pecuniary benefactions, and he does not for a moment balance the amount of the gift either against his own claims, or against their ability or resources. He took it cheerfully, and blessed them for it; for it was to him a relief, nay, a portion of it was a present superfluity. He says- ἀπέχω, περισσεύω. He adds in climax-
πεπλήρωμαι - “I have been filled.” The verb is used absolutely, and not the less intensely on that account. How he had been filled, the apostle next declares-
δεξάμενος παρὰ ᾿επαφροδίτου τὰ παῤ ὑμῶν—“having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you.” The words παρὰ ᾿επαφροδίτου are omitted in A D1, E1 read τό, and insert πεμφθέν; while F and G have πεμφθέντα; the Vulgate quae misistis; so the Syriac דשָׁרָדתוּן; and Wycliffe “which ye senten.” By the preposition παρά the apostle characterizes the gift in a double but similar relationship, “from Epaphroditus”—“from you.” The participle, while it exhibits the ground of the fulness, defines also its time. But he at once rises above the human aspect of the transaction. It was a donation made by the Philippians to him, but it had another and loftier phase. It was, while presented to him, an offering also to God; while it was hailed by him, it was acceptable to God. He thanked them for the gift, but God delighted in the oblation-
ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας—“an odour of a sweet smell.” The genitive is not used for the adjective εὐώδης. Winer, § 34, b, note. The phrase represents the רֵחַ נִיחוֹחַof the Levitical statute. The accusative ὀσμήν is in apposition with the previous τὰ παῤ ὑμῶν-the same contribution in its two aspects. By this clause in apposition the apostle expresses an opinion of the gift. Ellicott objects, that the “apposition is not to the verbal action contained in the sentence.” It may not, nor is it necessary, for it is the gift as brought from them, to himself in his need, which the apostle characterizes by ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας. The apostle does not, and could not say, he received it as a sacrifice, yet the things received were in his judgment a sacrifice. It was a gift in which God delighted, fragrant as the sweet-smelling incense which burned in the censer. Ephesians 5:2. More plainly-
θυσίαν δεκτὴν, εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ—“a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.” The dative τῷ θεῷ belongs to the two adjectives. In using θυσία the apostle employs a strong term in a figurative sense. The word originally designated a victim, an animal slain and offered to God. As to its secondary sense, see Romans 12:1; Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 2:5, and in this epistle, Philippians 2:17. The two adjectives express generally the same idea. Isaiah 56:7. Their benefaction is thus set out by the apostle in the aspect of a sacrifice. The idea of a spiritual or figurative sacrifice is found in the Old Testament, and was the result of a natural development of ideas and associations. The Levitical statute prescribed certain offerings on the altar, but the primary notion was always presentation to God. The first-fruits and the victim were given to God, in token that originally they are His. The worshipper took them from his fields, and they were his in a lower sense, but the presentation was an acknowledgment that they were also his in a higher sense. Consecration to God of what was theirs through His bounty was apart from the idea of expiation, the central conception. And that conception naturally extended beyond the legal ceremonial, and sprang up with peculiar freshness under the New Testament. It was felt that God is supreme benefactor, and that all possessions are His gracious gift; that these have an end beyond the mere personal enjoyment of them; that they may and ought to be employed in God's service; and that the spirit of such employment is the entire dedication of them to Him. Thus the apostle has spoken of the sacrifice of their faith, Philippians 2:17, and elsewhere of the “sacrifice of praise.” Hebrews 13:15. Beneficence is also a sacrifice. Hebrews 13:16. The Gentile believers are an “offering.” Romans 15:16. Their “bodies” are a “living sacrifice.” Romans 12:1. The “holy priesthood” present “spiritual sacrifices.” 1 Peter 2:5. There were, as Hammond remarks, two altars in the Jewish temple, the altar of incense and the altar of burnt-offering, and “on these two were offered all things that were offered to God.” A figure uniting both is found here. In the case before us, the apostle, by the use of this sacrificial language, teaches that the Philippians had been discharging a religious duty. The money, while contributed to him, was offered to God. It was not simply a token of friendship, an act of common generosity, or opportune aid to a friendless prisoner; but the remittance was an offering to Him “whose is the silver and whose is the gold,” in token of their thankfulness to Him by whom the apostle's steps had been directed to Philippi, and by whose blessing his labours and sufferings had been productive of so many and so permanent benefits. They discharged a spiritual function in doing a secular act—“the altar sanctifieth the gift.” And the acceptance of the sacrifice would bring down rich compensative blessing, for the apostle thus promises-
(Philippians 4:19.) ῾ο δὲ θεός μου πληρώσει πᾶσαν χρείαν ὑμῶν- “But my God shall supply all your need.” The reading πληρώσαι in the aorist optative is not sufficiently supported, and is evidently an exegetical emendation. By the particle δέ the apostle passes not to a different theme, but to a different feature or aspect of it. The idea of Hoelemann presses too far - quemadmodum vos. In the phrase “my God,” emphatic from its position, the apostle does not merely express his own relationship to God, as in Philippians 1:3, but he means his readers to infer this idea-this God who accepts your sacrifice is “my God;” and “my God,” so honoured and so pleased with your gift to me, will supply all your need. I who receive your contribution can only thank you, but my God who accepts the sacrifice will nobly reward you. You have supplied one element of my need- εἰς τὴν χρείαν μοι, but my God will supply every need of yours- πᾶσαν χρείαν ὑμῶν. I have been filled, he says in Philippians 4:18 - πεπλήρωμαι, and God, my God, will in turn fill all your need- πληρώσει. Chrysostom notices, in his comment, a different reading, χάριν or χαράν, but does not adopt it. The apostle uses the simple future, as if he pledged himself for God; for he felt most assured, that God as his God would act as he promised in His name.
It is surely a limited view, on the part of Chrysostom and many modern commentators, to confine the meaning of the noun to bodily necessities—“He blesses them that they may abound to have wherewith to sow. . . . For it is not unseemly to pray for sufficiency and plenty for those who thus use them.” It would be rash and wrong to exclude this idea, for God has many ways of temporally rewarding liberality displayed in His cause, though certainly no one can expect the blessing who gives with such a selfish calculation and motive, and tries to traffic with God in the hope of receiving a high interest or return. It is as restricted, on the other hand, to refer the promise solely to spiritual need. Thus Rilliet bases his argument on the occurrence of the term πλοῦτος, as if it uniformly referred to spiritual blessings. But in the citations made by him πλοῦτος has its meaning modified by a following genitive, or as in Romans 10:12, where the participle is used, the context limits and explains the signification. The usage therefore forms no argument why χρεία here should apply exclusively to spiritual necessity, especially when it is universalized by πᾶσαν. It is true that χρεία is used of bodily need in the context, and this is generally its sense in the classics; and no wonder, for the heathen could scarcely know of any other. But the apostle, as if to show that he meant more than physical necessity, adds, “according to His riches in glory”-language, one would think, too noble to be dwarfed into a description of the source of mere pecuniary compensation. While we agree with Meyer in giving this broad sense to πᾶσαν χρείαν, we cannot accede to his view that such supply is to be received only in the future kingdom of Messiah; for we hold that even now the promise is realized. The loving-kindness of God surrounds and blesses His people who are so interested in His cause, implanting every absent grace, giving health and power to every grace already implanted. The very appreciation, on the part of the Philippian church, of the apostle's position, labours, and relations, implied the existence of a genuine piety among them, which God would foster by his Spirit, while He blessed them at the same time “in their basket and store.” Wiesinger well asks- “If the apostle says of himself πεπλήρωμαι, why should he in πληρώσει refer his readers to the day of the second coming for the supply of their every want? He does not do this in 2 Corinthians 9:8; and the Lord Himself does not refer His people to a period beyond the present life for the supply of their every want.” Matthew 6:33. Mark 10:29-30.
κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος αὐτοῦ ἐν δόξῃ ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” The neuter form τὸ πλοῦτος is preferred to the masculine on the authority of A, B, D1, F, G, etc. The mode or measure of supply is indicated by κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος. According to their “deep” poverty they might supply his need, but God according to His riches would supply all their need. The connection of the next words ἐν δόξῃ is attended with some difficulty. Grotius, Rheinwald, Heinrichs, Flatt, Storr, and Baumgarten-Crusius join them to the preceding πλοῦτος, as if they indicated in what this glory consisted, or as if it were “according to His riches of glory,” or κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης. It is objected to this that such a construction with ἐν is never employed by the apostle, but always the genitive of the object. Romans 2:4; Romans 9:23; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:27; Colossians 2:2. If separated then from τὸ πλοῦτος, the phrase may denote either that by which the action of the verb is realized, or the manner in which that action is performed. Meyer takes the former view, which is quite consistent with his theory, which refers the supply to the glory to be awarded at the second coming. The verb in Ephesians 5:18 is followed by ἐν, with special reference to the Spirit, and sometimes the simple dative is employed. But believing that χρεία comprehends temporal need, we cannot see how glory could be used as an adequate term for its supply. Nor indeed could the term be used in any sense for supply of want-grace being the word more usually employed. Glory is not on earth the means of supply-it results from this supply, but is not its material. Therefore we take ἐν δόξῃ not as the complement—“with glory,” as Ellicott takes it, but as a modal qualification—“in a glorious way.” Such is the view of van Hengel, Hoelemann, and Rilliet. He will supply every want in glory-like Himself -not grudgingly or with a pittance, but with divine generosity. And He would do this as He does all things-
ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ—“in Christ Jesus.” This designates the sphere of God's action. In Christ Jesus will He supply their wants, or from the fulness in Him, His merit and mediation being the ground of it. What a glorious promise for the apostle to make on God's behalf to them!-a perfect supply for every want of body or soul, for time or eternity, for earth or heaven. If man is but a mass of wants, wants for this world and wants for the world to come, and if God alone can supply them, what confidence should not such a pledge produce? Is it physical fare?-He heareth “the young ravens” when they cry. Is it the forgiveness of sin? -He “delighteth in mercy.” Is it purification of soul?- His Spirit produces His own image. Is it courage?-He is “Jehovah-Nissi.” Is it enlightenment?-His words are, “I will instruct thee.” Is it the hope of glory?-Then it is, “Christ in you.” Is it preparation for heaven?-He makes “us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Is it contentment in any circumstance?-All things may be done in the strength of Christ. Nor was it rash in Paul to make such a promise, nor did he exceed his commission. He did not speak without a warrant. He knew the character of his God, and did not take his name in vain, for his varied and prolonged experience had fully informed him, and he was assured that the state of heart in the Philippian church must attract towards it the blessing. Would God resile from His servant's pledge, or act as if in thus vouching for Him he had taken too much upon him? The idea of his close and tender relationship to God as his God, and his assurance that the promise made in His name would be realized; the thought of such a promise, so ample in its sweep, and so glorious in its fulfilment, with the idea that all whether pledged or enjoyed is of God the Giver, suggest the brief doxology of the following verse-
(Philippians 4:20.) τῷ δὲ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ ἡμῶν ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. ᾿αμήν—“Now to God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The apostle does not mean by this glorification to conclude; it bursts from the fulness of his heart, as in Romans 11:36; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:18. ῾ο θεὸς καὶ ὁ πατήρ forms one distinctive and complete title, followed sometimes by a genitive, as here and in Galatians 1:4. For the meaning of the last intensive phrase, and generally of the whole verse, see under Ephesians 3:21. The optative εἴη may be supplied to δόξα, which has the article specifying it as the glory which especially and characteristically is God's. Romans 11:36; Romans 16:27; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; 2 Peter 3:18. The last phrase—“to the ages of the ages”-is an imitation of the Hebrew superlative לְעוֹלָם עוֹלָמִים(Galatians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:18), and means a very long and indefinite period-the image taken from the cycles or calendars of time, to represent an immeasurable eternity. God is glorified in the aspect or character of Father, and “our Father,” implying that those whose wants are supplied by Him, are His children. Romans 8:15. To God, even our Father, the kind and liberal supplier of every want to every child, be eternal glory ascribed. The ascription of praise is the language of spiritual instinct, which cannot be repressed. Let the child realize its relation to the Father who feeds it, clothes it, and keeps it in life, who enlightens and guides it, pardons and purifies it, strengthens and upholds it, and all this in Christ Jesus, and it cannot but in its glowing consciousness cry out—“Now to God and our Father be the glory for ever.” The Amen is a fitting conclusion. As the lips shut themselves, the heart surveys again the facts and the grounds of praise, and adds-So be it.
The apostle had praised them for their κοινωνία εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον already, and he bids them give another practical manifestation of it-
(Philippians 4:21.) ᾿ασπάσασθε πάντα ἅγιον ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ- “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.” The singular individualizes-singulatim, as Bengel gives it. The words ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ may be connected either with ἅγιον, as in Philippians 1:1, or with the verb. We prefer the opinion of those who take the latter view, inasmuch as ἅγιος can stand by itself, whereas ἀσπάσασθε would seem to require some qualifying term, in order to define its character. The addition of ἐν χριστῷ ᾿ιησοῦ in the address of the epistles, has a specific purpose not needed on the ordinary recurrence of the epithet. Thus ἐν κυρίῳ in Romans 16:22, and 1 Corinthians 16:19. Salutation in the Lord is in His name to one of His members. And every saint was to be so greeted; the spirit of universal affection was to prevail. The apostle sends one cluster of salutations-
ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ ἀδελφοί—“the brethren with me greet you.” And then he adds another-
(Philippians 4:22.) ᾿ασπάζονται ὑμᾶς πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι—“All the saints salute you.” Of course the brethren are saints, but all the saints are not brethren in the very same sense. The apostle refers to two circles of Christians about him; those bound by some nearer and more special tie to him, and named “brethren;” and those beyond them having no such familiar relationship with him, “the saints.” Who composed this inner circle we know not. He may refer to the brethren spoken of in Philippians 1:14, or principally to those mentioned by him in the epistles written at this period to the church in Colosse, and to Phlippians. Chrysostom alludes to a difficulty. The apostle has said, in Philippians 2:20-21, that none with him were like-minded with Timothy, and that all sought their own, and his solution is, that “he did not refuse to call even them brethren.” Nor might all these brethren be qualified for such a mission as Timothy's. See p. 149. A special class are subjoined-
μάλιστα δὲ οἱ ἐκ καίσαρος οἰκίας—“but chiefly they of Caesar's household.” A special prominence is attached to their salutation. The very source of it must have excited wonder and gratitude. Calvin remarks-ac eo quidem admirabilius, quo rarius est exemplum, sanctitatem in aulis regnare. They of Caesar's household must have taken a deep interest in the apostle, and might have been converted by him during his imprisonment. They must also, so far as permitted to them, have ministered to his comfort, and they could not but feel a special sympathy for a church which had sent Epaphroditus to do a similar service. Who they were, has been keenly disputed.
The term οἰκία is not the same with πραιτώριον, but refers to the imperial residence. Matthies indeed says-so ist dieses am natürlichsten hier zu verstehen, und an solche aus der Kaiserlichen Leibwache zu denken. But the statement is unsupported. It has been supposed to mean:-
1. The emperor's family or relatives. So van Hengel and many others, including Baur, for a sinister purpose of his own. The words may bear such a signification-1 Corinthians 16:15, οἴδατε τὴν οἰκίαν στεφανᾶ; Luke 1:27; Luke 2:4, ἐξ οἴκου δαυίδ.
2. The word is used in an inferior sense to signify domestics generally. So in Josephus, Antiq. 17.5. 8- τοῦ καίσαρος τὴν οἰκίαν. Also Philo- τὸν ἐπίτροπον τῆς οἰκίας, and in a yet more honourable sense- εἰ δὲ μὴ βασιλεὺς ἀλλὰ τις τῶν ἐκ τῆς καίσαρος οἰκίας—“if he had not been king, but only one of Caesar's household, ought he not to have had some precedence and honour?” In Flaccum, vol. ii. p. 522. Or Tacitus, Hist. 2.92-quidam in domum Caesaris transgressi, atque ipsis dominis potentiores. Nero, as has been often remarked, had but few relations, and the probability is, that domestics, either slaves or freedmen, are here intended. The persons referred to are not named, as Epaphroditus could give the Philippians the requisite information. It is almost needless to allude to any hypothesis on this subject; yet out of this reference arose the fiction of Paul's correspondence with Seneca, Nero's preceptor. Lucan the poet, Seneca's nephew, has also been included. Estius refers to two names, Evellius and Torpetes, as being Neronis familiares, and as occupying a place in the Roman martyrology of this period. But this is all uncertainty. Witsius gives Pomponia Graecina, a name occurring in Tacitus. Meletem. Leid. p. 212. Some have fixed on Poppaea Sabina, Nero's wife. These domestics were, in all probability, brought into contact with the apostle during his confinement in the praetorium. For the opinions of those who think that this epistle was written at Caesarea the reader may turn to the Introduction.
(Philippians 4:23.) ῾η χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ᾿ιησοῦ χριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν—“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” The reading ἡμῶν after κυρίου has very little support. The received reading is μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν, which Meyer retains. The new reading is supported by A, D, E, F, G, 17, 672, 73-80, by the Vulgate, etc., and is adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf, etc. The common reading is found in B, J, K, the Syriac, and in Chrysostom and Theodoret. It is difficult to say which reading is preferable, as the new one may have been formed from Galatians 6:18; Phlippians 1:25; or 2 Timothy 4:22. The sense in either case is not materially different. He wished them to enjoy that grace which Christ bestows. If the critical reading be adopted, then the apostle wished the favour of Christ to descend upon their higher nature, or that portion of their nature for which it was specially fitted, and which indeed could alone enjoy it. Tischendorf rejects the ᾿αμήν, and Lachmann puts it within brackets. The apostle concludes with a benediction or salutation-probably an autograph. Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17. In parting from his readers, he wishes them to possess the grace of the Lord Jesus; that grace which blesses and cheers, which strengthens and consoles, and at last ripens into glory. The unauthorized postscript is variously read, both in the MSS., Versions, and Fathers; the received Text being- πρὸς φιλιππησίους ἐγράφη ἀπὸ ῾πώμης δἰ ᾿επαφροδίτου.
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Eadie, John. "Commentary on Philippians 4". John Eadie's Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. https://www.studylight.org/
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