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Bible Commentaries
Philippians 2

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

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Verse 1

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

The "therefore" implies that he is here expanding the exhortation (Philippians 1:27), "In one spirit, with one mind" (soul). Four influencing motives in this verse, to inculcate the four Christian duties corresponding respectively (Philippians 2:2): 'That ye be like-minded, having the same love, of one accord, of one mind.'

(1) 'If there be (with you, as I assume) any consolation in Christ;'

i.e., any consolation (but Ellicott, to avoid tautology, "comfort" following, translates [ parakleesis (G3874)] "exhortation," Romans 12:8) of which Christ is the source, leading you to console me in my afflictions, borne for Christ's sake, ye ought to grant my request, "that ye be like minded" (Chrysostom). (2) 'If there be any comfort of (i:e., flowing from) love.' the adjunct of "consolation in Christ."

(3) 'If any fellowship of (joint participation of) the Spirit' (2 Corinthians 13:14). As pagans meant those who were of one village, and drank of one fountain, how much greater is the union which conjoins those who drink of the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

(4) 'If any bowels (tender emotions) and mercies' (compassions, Colossians 3:12), the adjuncts of "fellowship of the spirit."

The first and third mark the objective sources of the Christian life-Christ and the Spirit; the second and fourth, the subjective principle in believers. The opposites of the two pairs into which the four fall are reprobated, Philippians 2:3-4.

Verse 2

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Fulfil - i:e., Make full. I have joy in you: complete it by that which is still wanting-namely, unity (Philippians 1:9). 'What wilt thou (we might suppose them, in hearing his earnest entreaty, to say)? That we release thee from danger? that we relieve thy wants? None of these things' (Chrysostom); but

That ye be like-minded, [ to (G3588) auto (G846) froneete (G5426)] - 'of the same mind:' more general than the following "of one mind."

Having the same love - disposed to love and be loved.

Being of one accord, [ sumpsuchoi (G4861)] - 'with united souls.' This pairs with the following clause: 'With united souls, being of one mind; as the former two pair together, "that ye be like-minded, having the same love."

Verse 3

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Let nothing be done. The italicized words are not in the Greek. Supply the ellipsis from the Greek (Philippians 2:2) [ fronountes (G5426)], 'minding nothing in the way of strife' ('factious intrigue,' 'contentiousness,' note, Philippians 1:16). It is the mind or thought which characterizes the action as good or bad before God. Lowliness of mind, [ tapeinophrosunee (G5012)]. Its direct relation is to God alone. Sense of dependence of the creature on the Creator as such places all created beings in this respect on a level. The 'lowly of mind,' as to his spiritual life, is independent of men, while sensible of his continual dependence on God. Still, it INDIRECTLY affects his behaviour toward his fellow-men; for, conscious of entire dependence on God for all his abilities, he will not pride himself on them, or exalt self in his conduct toward others (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12). Neander, 'The thinking lowly of ourselves because we are so.'

Let each esteem - `esteeming each other superior to yourselves [ huperechontas (G5242) heauton (G1438)]. Instead of fixing your eyes on those points in which you excel, fix them on those in which your neighbour excels you: this is true "humility" (Romans 12:10; Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5).

Verse 4

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

[A B C Delta G, Vulgate, read hekastoi (G1538) skopountes (G4648) ... hekastoi (G1538); 'Aleph (') hekastos (G1538) skopountes (G4648) ... hekastos (G1538). Elsewhere in the New Testament it is only singular] 'Not looking each of you (plural) on his own things (i:e., not having regard solely to them), but each of you on the things of others' also. Compare Philippians 2:21; also Paul's own example (Philippians 1:24).

Verse 5

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

['Aleph (') A B C Delta f g, Vulgate, read froneite (G5426) for froneisthe] 'Have this mind in you,' etc. Pride is the most naked form of selfishness, which is the essence of sin (Muller). He does not put forward himself (see note, Philippians 2:4; Philippians 1:24) as an example, but Christ, THE ONE pre-eminently who sought not His own, but "humbled Himself" (Philippians 2:8), first, in taking on Him our nature; secondly, in humbling himself further in that nature (Romans 15:3).

Verse 6

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Translate, 'Who subsisting [or existing-namely, originally: huparchoon (G5225), not oon (G5607)] in the form of God (God's essence is not meant, but His external self-manifesting characteristics, the form shining forth from His glorious essence. God had infinite beauty in Himself, even without any creature contemplating that beauty: that beauty was "the form of God." As "the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:7), which is in contrasted opposition to it, takes for granted the existence of His human nature. so "the form of God" takes for granted His divine nature (Bengel). Compare John 5:37; John 17:5; Colossians 1:15, "Who is the IMAGE of the invisible God," at a time before "every creature," 2 Corinthians 4:4), esteemed (the same Greek [ heegeesato (G2233)] as in Philippians 2:3) His being on an equality with God [ to (G3588) einai (G1511) isa (G2470) Theoo (G2316)] no (act of) robbery' or self-arrogation; claiming to one's self what does not belong to him.

Ellicott, etc., translate, 'a thing to be grasped at,' which would require harpagma, whereas harpagmos (G725) means the act of seizing. So harpagmos means in the only passage where else it occurs (Plutarch, 'De Educations Puerorum,' 120). The same objection lies against Alford, 'He regarded not as self-enrichment

(i:e., an opportunity for self-exaltation) His equality with God.' His argument is, that the antithesis (Philippians 2:7) requires 'He used His equality with God as an opportunity, not for self-exaltation, but for self- abasement.' But the antithesis is not between His being on an equality with God, and His emptying Himself; for He never emptied Himself of the fullness of His Godhead, or His 'BEING on an eq uality with God;' but between His being "in the FORM (i:e., the glorious self-manifestation) of God," and His 'taking on Him the form of a servant,' whereby He in a great measure emptied Himself of His precedent "form" as God. Not 'looking on His own things' (Philippians 2:4), He, though existing in the form of God, esteemed it no robbery to be on an equality with God, yet made Himself of no reputation. 'Being on an equality with God' is not identical with 'subsisting in the form of God:' the latter expresses the sell-manifesting characteristics, majesty and beauty of Deity, which 'He emptied himself of' to assume "the form of a servant;" the former, 'His BEING,' His ESSENTIAL EQUALITY IN ALL RESPECTS with God the Father. A glimpse of Him "in the form of God," previous to His incarnation, was given to Moses (Exodus 24:10-11), Aaron, etc.

Verse 7

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Made himself of no reputation, and ... and, [ heauton (G1438) ekenoosen (G2758) morfeen (G3444) doulou (G1401) laboon (G2983): genomenos (G1096)] - 'emptied Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant, (by) being made in the likeness of men.' The two latter clauses (there being no "and ... and" in the Greek) express in what Christ's 'emptying of Himself' consists-namely, in 'taking the form of a servant' (note, Hebrews 10:5: cf Exodus 21:5-6; Psalms 40:6, proving that it was at the time when he assumed a body he took "the form of a servant"); and in order to explain how He took "the form of a servant," there is added, by 'being made in the likeness of men' (an appropriate phrase: though perfect man, He was not mere man, but the Word made flesh). His subjection to the law (Luke 2:21; Galatians 4:4) and to His parents (Luke 2:51); His low state as a carpenter, and carpenter's reputed son (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3); His betrayal for the price of a bond-servant (Exodus 21:32), and slave-like death, to relieve us from the slavery of sin and death; finally, His servant-like dependence as man on God, while His divinity was not outwardly manifested (Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 49:7) - all show His "form as a servant." This proves --

(1) He was in the form of a servant as soon as He was made man.

(2) He was "In the form of God" before He was in "the form of a servant." (3) He did as really subsist "in the form of God," or the self-manifested divine nature, as in "the form of a servant," or in the nature of man.

For he was so in the form of God as 'to be on an equality with God:' He therefore could have been none other than God; for God saith, "To whom will ye liken me and make me equal?" (Isaiah 46:5) (Dr. Pearson.) His emptying Himself presupposes His previous plenitude of Godhead (John 1:14; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9). He remained full of this, yet he bore Himself as if He were empty.

Verse 8

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Being found in fashion as a man - being already, by His 'emptying Himself,' in the form of a servant, or likeness of man (Romans 8:3). "Found:" RECOGNIZED by men's senses as really man (cf. Galatians 2:17). 'He humbled Himself (still further by) becoming obedient even unto death; and that the death of the cross' [etapeinosen heauton, genomenos hupekoos mechri thanatou, thanatou de staurou]. "Fashion" expresses that He had the outward guise, speech, and demeanour [schema]. [ Morphee (G3444)] "Form" is more intrinsic and essential. In Philippians 2:7 the emphasis is on Himself (which stands before the Greek verb): 'He emptied Himself,' His divine self, viewed in respect to what He had heretofore been. In Philippians 2:8 the emphasis is on "humbled "(which stands before the Greek "Himself"): He not only 'emptied Himself' of His "form of God" negatively, but submitted to positive acts of HUMILIATION. He "became obedient" namely, to God, as His "servant" (Romans 5:19; Hebrews 5:8). Therefore "God" "exalted" Him (Philippians 2:9), even as it was God to whom He became voluntarily 'obedient ' (Matthew 26:39). 'Even unto death,' the climax of His obedience (John 10:18).

Verse 9

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Wherefore - the just consequence of his self-humiliating obedience (Psalms 8:5-6; Psalms 110:1; Psalms 110:7; Matthew 28:18; Luke 24:23; John 5:27; John 10:17; Romans 14:9; Ephesians 1:20-22; Hebrews 2:9). If we would hereafter be exalted, we too must, after His example, now humble ourselves (Philippians 2:3; Philippians 2:5; Philippians 3:21; 1 Peter 5:5-6). Christ emptied Christ; God exalted Christ AS MAN to equality with God (Bengel). As God, the Son, always had it, at the Ascension He was invested, as the Son of man, with all the glory and power of the Godhead.

Highly exalted, [ huperupsoosen (G5251)] - 'super-eminently exalted' (Ephesians 4:10) as the Most high.

Given him, [ echarisato (G5483)] - 'bestowed on Him.'

A name [ onoma (G3686) to (G3588) huper (G5228) pan (G3956) onoma (G3686)] along with A name, [ onoma (G3686) to (G3588) huper (G5228) pan (G3956) onoma (G3686)] - along with the reality and majesty. His revealed personality, acknowledged by man.

Which. Translate, (namely) 'that which is above every name.' The name of humiliation, "Jesus" (Philippians 2:10), which is even now in heaven His name of honour (Acts 9:5) "above," not only men, but angels (Ephesians 1:21).

Verse 10

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

At the name, [ en (G1722) to (G3588) onomati (G3686)] - "In the name" (Ephesians 5:20).

Bow, [ kampsee (G2578)] - 'bend' in worship. Referring to Isaiah 45:23; quoted also Romans 14:11. To worship "in the name of Jesus" is to worship Jesus Himself (cf. Philippians 2:11; Proverbs 18:10), or God in Christ (Ephesians 3:14). To worship God as manifested in Jesus; to ask God in the name of Jesus, "the express image of his person" (John 16:23; Hebrews 1:3). Compare "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (i:e., the Lord in His revealed character) shall be saved" (Romans 10:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2: cf. 2 Timothy 2:22; Acts 7:59; Acts 9:14; Acts 9:21; Acts 22:16).

Of things in heaven. Angels worship Him not only as God, but as the ascended God-man, "Jesus" (Hebrews 1:6; 1 Peter 3:22).

In earth - men; among whom he tabernacled for a time.

Under the earth - the dead; among whom he was numbered once (Romans 14:9; Romans 14:11; Ephesians 4:9-10; Revelation 5:13). The homage of demons and the lost, being one of fear, not love, hardly suits the sense (Mark 3:11; Luke 8:31; James 2:19; see note, Philippians 2:11).

Verse 11

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Every tongue - cf. "every knee" (Philippians 2:10). In every way He shall be acknowledged [ exomologeeseetai (G1843): 'openly confess'] as Lord (no longer "servant," Philippians 2:7; Matthew 28:18). As none can fully do so 'but by the Holy Spirit' (1 Corinthians 12:3), the spirits of good men dead must be the class directly meant, Philippians 2:10, "under the earth."

To the glory of God the father - the grand end of Christ's mediatorial office and kingdom, which shall cease when this end shall have been fully realized (John 5:19-23; John 5:30; John 17:1; John 17:4-7; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28). The Father's glory, and the Son's, is inseparable.

Verse 12

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Wherefore - seeing that we have in Christ such a specimen of glory resulting from humble 'obedience' (Philippians 2:8) see that ye also be "obedient" to God; so 'your salvation' shall follow your obedience.

As [ kathoos (G2531 ): even as] ye have always obeyed - God; as Jesus was "obedient" unto God (note, Philippians 2:8).

Not [ mee (G3361 )] as ... - join with "work out:" "not as" a matter to be done "in my presence only, but now much more (with more zeal) in my absence" (because without my support and eye).

Work out - carry out to full perfection [ katergazesthe (G2716)] (Romans 7:18, 'But how to work out that which is good I find not;' Ephesians 6:13). "Salvation" is 'worked in' (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 1:20) believers by the Spirit, who enables them through faith to be justified once for all; but it needs, as a progressive work, to be 'worked out' by obedience, through the help of the same Spirit, unto perfection (2 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:3). The Christian neither, like the formalist, rests in means, without looking to the end, and to the Holy Spirit, who alone can make the means effectual; nor, like the fanatic, hopes to attain the end without the means.

Your own - emphatic. Now that I am not present to further your salvation, "work out your own salvation" yourselves the more carefully. Think not this work cannot go on because I am absent; "for (Philippians 2:13) it is God which worketh in you," etc. In this case adopt a rule different from the former (Philippians 2:4), but resting on the same principle of "lowliness of mind" (Philippians 2:3); namely, 'look each on his own things,' instead of "disputings" with others (Philippians 2:14).

Salvation - which is in "Jesus" (Philippians 2:10), as His name (meaning God-Saviour) implies.

With fear and trembling - the feeling enjoined on" servants," to accompany their "obedience" (Ephesians 6:5; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 7:15). See that, as "servants" to God, after the example of Christ, ye be so 'with the fear and trembling' which becomes servants: not slavish fear, but trembling anxiety to please your Holy Master, and to reach the goal (1 Corinthians 9:26-27; Hebrews 4:1), resulting from distrust of your own sufficiency, and from consciousness that all depends on the power of God, "who worketh both to will and to do" (Romans 11:20; Luke 13:34; John 6:29; 2 Corinthians 3:5).

Verse 13

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

For. Encouragement to work: "For it is God which worketh in you," always present, though I be absent. Not, 'work out your own salvation, though it is God,' etc., but 'because it is God which,' etc. The will, and the power to work, being first installments of His grace, encourage us to make full proof of, and carry out to the end, the "salvation" which he has first 'worked,' and is still 'working in' us, enabling us to 'work it out.' 'Our will does nothing thereunto without grace; but grace is inactive without our will' (Bernard). Man is, in different senses, entirely active and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. Thus the same things are represented as from God and from us. God makes a new heart, and we are commanded to make us a new heart; not merely because we must use the means in order to the effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty (Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 18:31; Ezekiel 36:26) (Edwards). The "FOR" is explained by Wiesinger, as enforcing "Work out your own salvation with fear," etc.: for it is not you, but God who works in you, to will and work, whereby all self glorying is removed (Philippians 2:3-4).

Worketh, [ energoon (G1754)] - 'worketh effectually.' We cannot of ourselves embrace the Gospel: the "will" (Psalms 110:3; 2 Corinthians 3:5) comes solely of God's gift to whom He will (John 6:44; John 6:65); so also the power "to do" (rather 'to work effectually' [ to (G3588) energein (G1754): the inward ability showing itself in action], the same Greek as that for "worketh in"); i:e., effectual perseverance to the end is wholly of God's gift (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:21). Provenient and cooperating grace.

Of his good pleasure, [ huper (G5228): 'in behalf of'] - 'FOR His good pleasure:' to carry out His sovereign gracious purpose toward you (Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9).

Verse 14

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

Murmurings, [ gongusmoon (G1112)] - secret murmurings against your fellowmen, arising from selfishness: opposed to the example of Jesus just mentioned (cf. the word, John 7:12-13; Acts 6:1; 1 Peter 4:9; Jude 1:16).

Disputings, [ Dialogismoi (G1261)] - translated "doubting" in 1 Timothy 2:8, where see note; but here profitless "disputings" with our fellow-men, in relation to whom we are to be "blameless" (Philippians 2:15: cf. Mark 9:33-34). Disputings flow from "vain-glory" (Philippians 2:3); and abounded among the Aristotelian philosophers in Macedon, where Philippi was.

Verse 15

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Blameless and harmless - without either the repute of, or the inclination to mischief (Alford). Outwardly "blameless;" inwardly "harmless," rather 'pure' [ akeraioi (G185): from a, 'not,' and kerannumi (G2767) "mix," "simple"] (Romans 16:19).

Sons, [ tekna (G5043)] - "the children of God" (Romans 8:14-16). Imitation of our heavenly Father is the instinctive guide to duty as His children, more than any external law (Matthew 5:44; Matthew 5:48).

Without rebuke - `unblameable.' A tacit contrast to Deuteronomy 32:5, "Their spot is not the spot of His children: they are a perverse and crooked generation" (cf. 1 Peter 2:12). [Septuagint, tekna amoometa, genea skolia kai diestrammenee.]

Ye shine, [ Fainesthe (G5316)] - 'ye show yourselves' (cf. Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:8-13).

As lights in the world, [ foosteeres (G5458)] - 'luminaries,' as the sun and moon, 'the great lights' in the material world. Septuagint use the same Greek (Genesis 1:14; Genesis 1:16; note, Revelation 21:11).

Verse 16

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Holding forth - to them, and so applying it [the common meaning of epechontes (G1907); perhaps here including also 'holding fast']. The image of light-bearers or luminaries is carried on from Philippians 2:15. As the heavenly luminaries' light develops the life of the world, so ye hold forth the light of Christ's "word" (received from me) as the "life" of the Gentiles (John 1:4; 1 John 1:1; 1 John 1:5-7). Christ is "the Light of the world" (John 8:12); believers are 'light bearers,' reflecting His light.

That I may rejoice in, [ eis (G1519) kaucheema (G2745) emoi (G1698) eis (G1519) heemeran (G2250)] - 'with a view to (your being) a subject of rejoicing to me against the day of Christ' (Philippians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:19).

That I have not run in vain (2 Timothy 4:7) - that it was not in vain that I laboured for your spiritual good.

Verse 17

Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.

Yea, and if, [ Alla (G235) ei (G1487) kai (G2532)] - 'Yea, if even:' implying the contingency as not unlikely. He had assumed the possibility of his being alive at Christ's coming (for in every age Christ designed Christians to stand prepared for His coming as at hand): he here puts a supposition as more likely; namely, his own death before Christ's coming.

I be offered, [ spendomai (G4689)] - 'I am being poured out' as a drink offering. Present, not future, as the danger is threatening him now. As in sacrifices drink offerings of wine were 'poured out' to accompany the offerings, so the faith of his Philippian converts is the sacrifice, and his blood the drink offering 'poured out' with it (cf. Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 4:6). The Jewish libation was not poured upon the sacrifice, but around the altar, (Numbers 15:5; Numbers 28:7). [Therefore epi (G1909) is 'in': literally, 'unto the sacrifice.']

Service, [ leitourgia (G3009)] - 'priest's ministration:' carrying out the image.

I ... rejoice - for myself (Philippians 1:21; Philippians 1:23). His expectation of release is fainter than in the letters to Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, written earlier from Rome. The appointment of Tigellinus to be praetorian prefect was probably the cause of this change. See 'Introduction.'

Rejoice with you all. Not 'I congratulate you all,' which is against New Testament Greek usage; but 'I jointly rejoice with you all'-namely, at your "joy of faith" (Philippians 1:18; Philippians 1:25). For their rejoicing would not be at Paul's death: for (cf. Philippians 1:22; Philippians 1:24-25) what he means is, even his death will not change his joy at their faith, and with them in their joy of faith. He exhorts them also (Philippians 2:18) to rejoice and join with him in this their common joy of faith, even in the possible prospect of his martyrdom (Philippians 1:21).

Verse 18

For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 19

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state.

Philippians 2:22, "Ye know the proof of him, that ... he hath served with me," implies that Timothy had been long with Paul at Philippi. Accordingly, in Acts 16:1-4; Acts 17:10; Acts 17:14, we find them setting out together from Derbe in Lycaonia, and together again at Berea in Macedonia, near the conclusion of Paul's missionary journey: an undesigned coincidence between the letter and history: a mark of genuineness (Paley). From Philippians 2:19-30, it appears Epaphroditus was to set out at once to allay the anxiety of the Philippians on his account, and at the same time bearing the letter: Timothy was to follow after the apostle's liberation was decided, when they could arrange their plans more definitely as to where Timothy should, on his return with tidings from Philippi, meet Paul, who was designing by a wider circuit and slower progress to reach that city. Paul's reason for sending Timothy so soon after having heard of the Philippians from Epaphroditus was that they were now suffering persecutions (Philippians 1:28-30); besides, Epaphroditus' delay through sickness on his journey to Rome from Philippi made the tidings he brought to be of less recent date than Paul desired. Paul himself also hoped to visit them shortly.

But I trust - Yet my death is by no means certain; yea, 'I hope (my hope centers) in the Lord.'

Unto you, [not pros (G4314) humas (G5209), but humin (G5213)] - 'for you;' to your satisfaction.

I also - that not only you 'may be of good courage' [ eupsuchoo (G2174)] on hearing of me (Philippians 2:23), but 'I also, when I know your state.'

Verse 20

For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.

His reason for sending Timothy above all others: I have none so [ isopsuchon (G2473)] 'like-soulled' with myself as is Timothy (cf. Deuteronomy 13:6; Psalms 55:14): Paul's second self.

Naturally, [ gneesios (G1103)] - 'genuinely:' 'with sincere solicitude' [ merimneesei (G3309)]. The Spirit of God so changed nature, that to be natural was with him to be spiritual: a high attainment.

Verse 21

For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

[ Hoi (G3588) pantes (G3956)] 'They all' (namely, who are now with me, and are eligible for the mission, Philippians 4:21: such Demas, then with him, proved to be, Colossians 4:14: cf. 2 Timothy 4:10; Philemon 1:24).

Seek their own - opposed to Paul's precept (Philippians 2:4; 1 Corinthians 10:24; 1 Corinthians 10:33; 1 Corinthians 13:5). Philippians 1:16-17 implies that some of those with Paul at Rome were genuine Christians, though not so self-sacrificing as Timothy. Most help only when Christ's gain is compatible with their own (Judges 5:17; Judges 5:23).

Verse 22

But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

Rare praise (Nehemiah 7:2).

Ye know the proof of him - his proved character (Acts 16:1-4; Acts 16:12).

As a son with the father - `as a child to a father.'

Served with me. When the sentence was to run thus, 'As a child serveth a father, so he served me,' he changes it to "served with me," in modesty; as Christians are not servants TO one another, but servants of God WITH one another (cf. Philippians 3:17).

In the Gospel, [ eis (G1519)] - 'unto the Gospel.'

Verse 23

Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.

So soon as I shall see - literally, from afar [ afidoo (G542)].

Verse 24

But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.

Also myself - as well as Timothy.

Verse 25

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

I supposed - `I thought it necessary.' I supposed - `I thought it necessary.'

To send. It was properly a sending Epaphroditus back (Philippians 4:18); but as he came to stay some time with Paul, the word is "send" (cf. Philippians 2:30).

Fellow-soldier - in the "good fight" (Philippians 1:27; Philippians 1:30; 2 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 4:7). 'My brother in the faith, fellow-worker in preaching it, and fellow-soldier in maintain it' (Ellicott).

Your messenger - literally, 'apostle.' The "apostles," or "messengers of the churches" (Romans 16:7; 2 Corinthians 8:23) were distinct from the "apostles" commissioned by Christ, as the twelve and Paul.

Ministered to my wants - by conveying the contributions from Philippi. [ Leitourgon (G3011) generally implies the ministerial office, but here it has the wider sense.]

Verse 26

For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.

For - reason for thinking it "necessary to send" Epaphroditus: [Epeidee epipothon en] 'Inasmuch as he was longing (a continuing state) after you all.'

Full of heaviness, [ adeemonoon (G85)] - distracted with heavy grief.

Because that ye had heard that he had been sick - rather [ eestheneesen (G770)], 'that he was sick.' He felt how saddened you would be in hearing it; he now is hastening to relieve your minds of the anxiety.

Verse 27

For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

Epaphroditus' sickness proves that the apostles had not the permanent gift of miracles anymore than inspiration: both were vouchsafed only for each occasion, as the Spirit thought fit.

Lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow - namely, the sorrow of losing him by death, besides the sorrow of my imprisonment. Here only a sorrowful tone occurs in this letter, which generally is most joyous.

Verse 28

I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.

The more carefully - more so than I should have done if ye had not been grieving at his sickness.

I may be the less sorrowful - as sympathizing in your joy.

Verse 29

Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:

Receive him. There seems something behind respecting him. If extreme affection had been the sole ground of his "heaviness," no such exhortation would have been needed (Alford).

In reputation - `in honour.'

Verse 30

Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

For the work of Christ - namely, the bringing of a supply to me, the minister of Christ. He was probably in delicate health in setting out from Philippi; but at all hazards he undertook this service of Christian love, which cost him a serious sickness.

Not regarding his life. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G read. [ paraboleusamenos (G3851)] 'hazarding,' etc.

To supply your lack of service - not that they lacked the will, but the 'opportunity' by which to send their accustomed bounty (Philippians 4:10). 'That which ye would have done if you could (but which you could not through absence) he did for you; therefore receive him with all joy' (Alford).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Philippians 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/philippians-2.html. 1871-8.
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