Monday, June 5th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical Lange's Commentary
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Philippians 1". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ lcc/ philippians-1.html. 1857-84.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Philippians 1". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
- Henry's Complete
- Clarke Commentary
- Bridgeway Bible Commentary
- Coffman's Commentaries
- Carroll's Biblical Interpretation
- Barnes' Notes
- Bullinger's Companion Notes
- Calvin's Commentary
- Bell's Commentary
- College Press
- Smith's Commentary
- Dummelow on the Bible
- Constable's Expository Notes
- Darby's Synopsis
- Ellicott's Commentary
- Expositor's Dictionary
- Hole's Commentary
- Meyer's Commentary
- Gaebelein's Annotated
- Gann on the Bible
- Morgan's Exposition
- Gill's Exposition
- Everett's Study Notes
- Geneva Study Bible
- Haydock's Catholic Commentary
- Commentary Critical
- Commentary Critical Unabridged
- Gray's Concise Commentary
- Sutcliffe's Commentary
- Trapp's Commentary
- Kretzmann's Commentary
- Lange's Commentary
- Grant's Commentary
- Wells of Living Water
- MacLaren's Expositions
- Henry's Complete
- Henry's Concise
- Poole's Annotations
- Pett's Commentary
- Peake's Commentary
- Preacher's Homiletical
- Poor Man's Commentary
- Benson's Commentary
- Scofield's Notes
- The Biblical Illustrator
- Coke's Commentary
- The Expositor's Bible Commentary
- The Pulpit Commentaries
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
- Wesley's Notes
- Whedon's Commentary
- Calvin's Commentary
- Henry's Complete
- AEK Concordant NT Commentary
- Abbott's NT
- Orchard's Catholic Commentary
- Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary
- Contending for the Faith
- Daily Study Bible
- Expositor's Greek Testament
- Godbey's NT Commentary
- Alford's Greek Testament Commentary
- Meyer's Commentary
- Mahan's Commentary
- Bible Study NT
- Bengel's Gnomon
- People's NT
- Robertson's Word Pictures
- Schaff's NT Commentary
- Vincent's Studies
- Burkitt's Expository Notes
- Daily Study Bible
- Meyer on Philippians
- Dunagan's Commentary
- Hampton's Commentary
- Smith's Writings
- International Critical
- Ironside's Notes
- Beet on the NT
- Eadie's Commentary
- Luscombe's NT Commentary
- Restoration Commentary
- Utley Commentary
- Kelly Commentary
- Zerr's N.T. Commentary
EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE PHILIPPIANS
I. ADDRESS AND SALUTATION
1Paul and Timotheus [Timothy],2 the [omit the] servants of Jesus Christ3 [Christ Jesus], to all the saints in Christ Jesus, which [who] are at Philippi, with the 2[ omit the] bishops4 [overseers] and deacons5 [helpers]: Grace (be)6 unto you and peace, from God our Father and from [ omit from] the Lord Jesus Christ.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Philippians 1:1. Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus.—(Παῦλος καὶ Τιμόθεος δοῦλοι Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ.) See on Ephesians 1:1 and Colossians 1:1. Timothy is not mentioned here as joint writer of the Epistle (Meyer), for the first person singular immediately follows in Philippians 1:3, and in Philippians 2:19 Paul appears as his director, nor for the sake of honoring him and of securing him greater influence in the church (Schenkel). [It has excited surprise that Luke is not named here as well as Timothy, since he was with Paul at Philippi, when the church was gathered (Acts 16:11), and was with Paul at Rome shortly before the time when he wrote to the Colossians (Philippians 4:14). It is conjectured that some unknown exigency may have called him away from Paul just at the time when he wrote this epistle.—H.] The designation servants (δοῦλοι) marks their common relation to the Lord of the church, and corresponds to the familiar character of the epistle, as well as its object, which was to express his thanks for the supplies sent to him from Philippi. The church has by this act served not merely Paul and Timothy, but the Lord whose servants they are. Bengel: Familiarius scribit ad Philippenses, quam ad eos, ubi se apostolum nominat. Sub hoc prædicato communi discipulum Timotheum mediate vocatum sibi human-issime adjungit, qui recens Paulo adjunctus Philippos venerat (Acts 16:3-12).—[We certainly miss here Paul’s customary official title of Apostle, omitted elsewhere only in his two earliest Epistles, namely, those to the Thessalonians, and that to Philemon, which relates to a private matter. We are to attribute this, says Schenkel (Briefe an die Epheser, etc., p. 112), not to his courteous regard for Timothy, for he assumes the title in Colossians 1:1, where, as here, he associates Timothy with himself; but to the almost purely personal occasion of the letter, and its tone of familiarity, which naturally left out of view his official position. Besides, no one here at Philippi had assailed his apostolic authority, and hence he had no reason for giving prominence to his official dignity.—H.]—To all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at. Philippi.—Comp. Ephesians 1:1. Πᾶσι τοῖς ἁγίοις, comprises all the members of the church. It is worthy of notice that this “all” recurs again and again, as in Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:7-8; Philippians 1:25; Philippians 2:17; Philippians 2:26; Philippians 4:22. We are to attribute this to the orderly condition of the church, which rendered exceptions unnecessary; not to the ardor of his love (Meyer), or his impartiality with respect to the disagreement (Philippians 4:2-3) which existed in the church (De Wette), or by way of emphasis with respect to his more confidential friends, for whom chaps. 3 and 4 are intended (Heinrichs), or because he would include also those who had not contributed to his support (Hengel). On τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Φιλίπποις see Introduction, § 5, and on Ephesians 1:1, and Coloss. Philippians 1:1.—With bishops and assistants—σὺν ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις. The ἐπίσκοποι are the πρεσβύτεροι (Acts 20:28), ποιμένες (Ephesians 4:11), the presbytery. At the head of the church stood, therefore, not one bishop, but several elders. Concerning the διάκονοι see Acts 6:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:8-9. llli tum interna, hi externa curabunt proprie (1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:8), nee tamen hi non interna, neque illinon externx. Hæc una ad Philippenses epistola ita inscribitur, ut cum emphatica paraphrasi conjungatur mentio episcoporum et diaconorum (Bengel). Paul indicates that as the individual members are united to each other (πᾶσι), so the church with its officers forms a living, beautiful unity, as evinced also by the contribution sent to the Apostle and collected in the church by its officers. More remote, if at all involved, are the supposed references to the fact that it was a regularly constituted church (Rheinwald), which is not to be presumed as true only of the one at Philippi; to the recognition of officers in the church (wiesinger); to the special zeal of the bishops and deacons (Matthies); to Epaphroditus, as one who belonged to the ἐπισκόποις (Grotius, et al.), or to the fact that the collection came from the members of the church, without its having an official character (Schenkel).
Philippians 1:2. Grace (be) unto you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, Χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη�.—This accords with Ephesians 1:2, which compare.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
Comp. on Ephesians 1:1-2, and Colossians 1:1-2.
1. Paul comprises under δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ the relation of both Timothy and himself as servants. So great and glorious is their Master that before Him all distinctions in rank and importance vanish. These distinctions are authorized, and yet care is to be taken that they be not overstrained, or hierarchically established, or abused. It is one thing for the Apostle in his humility to associate himself with his assistant, and quite another for the latter to arrogate to himself an equality with the former.
2. The Apostle in the first place distinguishes between the church and its servants; but, secondly, he does not separate the two, so that the servants stand exalted above the church, but places them in the church, from which they are taken, and for which they are employed. Thirdly, he distinguishes also the different servants of the church, and names some ἐπίσκοποι and others διάκονοι, without stating any thing more definite in regard to them, except that the former are employed especially in the training and instruction of the Church, the latter in the care of the poor and sick. But, fourthly, he unites these together as belonging to one body and subordinate to one head. Fifthly, he speaks of a single church as having not merely διάκονοι, but also ἐπίσκοποι, so that we do not discover here the beginning of the Episcopal system, but find rather a college of presbyters at the head of a single congregation.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Comp. on Ephesians 1:1-2; Colossians 1:1-2.
Be not confused by the distinctions among men, nor in the presence of them, that thou mayest clearly recognize the common position of all before the Lord. But do not, on account of this equality in His sight, despise the distinctions which He has appointed. Thou who art more highly honored, follow Paul; and thou who art less elevated follow Timothy. The pastor is not lord over the church which has a claim upon him and his office. The church may have stronger grounds of complaint against him than he against the church.
Starke:—One must not seek for saints in heaven only, but find them already upon earth. He who does not become a saint here will not be one there.
Rieger:—Paul places himself here by the side of his young co-laborer, Timothy, that others also may feel a well grounded confidence in him. The kingdom of Christ is throughout a kingdom of love. No one there desires to be alone, or misuses his gifts and advantages for the injury or depreciation of another, but, on the contrary, every one desires to lift up the younger and weaker ones, and to draw them after him. The welfare of the church is the main work. Bishops and servants are appointed to care for its interests and to maintain good order in it.
Schleiermacher:—When we say “peace,” we know that it is the deepest, grandest, expression of our hearts for the soul’s true welfare.
[Robert Hall:—“Peace,” Philippians 1:2. This was the term in which the primitive Christians were accustomed to salute each other in the common meetings, and in the streets, and market places. This was sanctified by Jesus Christ. He said: “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you (by compliment, etc.): let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” They were accustomed to express all this by the term peace; and the best thing we can wish for our fellow-Christians and for ourselves is, that “peace may be multiplied.”—H.]
Schenkel:—The true importance of the office in its relation to the church: (1) as an office in the church; (2) as an office from the church; (3) as an office for the church.
Πρὸς Φιλιππησίους, א, A B F S K, et al.; D E have πρὸς Φιλιππηνσίους preceded by ἄρχεται (found also in F G). There are fuller titles, as in the case of the Epistle to the Ephesians.
Philippians 1:1; Philippians 1:1. [Timotheus occurs in the A. V. seventeen times and Timothy seven times, for Τιμόθεος, in Acts and the Epistles. The anglicized form is the easier one.-—H.]
Ibid. Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, א B D E, et al.; A is uncertain. F S K L have Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. [Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Wordsworth, Lightfoot and others adopt the former collocation.—H.]
Ibid. Σὺν ἐπισκόποις, B, et al.; συνεπισκόποις is a correction [and arose probably, says Ellicott, from the epistolary style of later times. The A. V. translates this Greek title by “overseers” in Acts 20:28.—H.]
Ibid. [Instead of “deacons” (διακόνοις), as in A. V., Braune renders “helpers” (Helfern), but Luther “servants” (Dienern.)—H.]
Philippians 1:2; Philippians 1:2. [The Greek has no verb after χάρις. Luther, whom Braune follows, omits the copula here. The A. V. in this elliptical form of salutation omits or supplies “be” without any rule. In respect to the nature of the ellipsis, see remarks on Philem., Philippians 1:4 (Vol. VIII., p. 12 b).—H.]
Situation and Labors of the Apostle at Rome
(1) The Apostle’s gratitude and joy before God on account of the church (Philippians 1:3-11)
After joyful thanksgiving for the fellowship of the church in the gospel (Philippians 1:3-5), and the expression of his confident hope that God will make it perfect (Philippians 1:6-8), he offers a fervent prayer for them (Philippians 1:9-11)
3I thank my God upon every [all] remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making [the] request [prayer] with joy, 5For your fellowship in 6[unto] the gospel from the first7 day until now; Being confident of this very thing that he which [who] hath begun [began] a good work in you will perform [complete] it until 7[up to] the day of Jesus Christ;8 Even as it is meet [just] for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel ye all are partakers of my grace [of the grace with me]. 8For God is my record [witness]9 how greatly I long after you all in the bowels 9[heart] of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in [ omit] all judgment [discernment or experience]; 10That ye may approve things that are excellent [ or, prove things that differ]; that ye maybe sincere [pure] and without offence till [unto] the day of Christ; 11Being filled with the fruits [fruit] of righteousness which are [is]10 by [through] Jesus Christ,11 unto the glory and praise of God.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Philippians 1:3. I thank my God (εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ μου). Exactly like Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 4:0. Comp. Colossians 1:3.—Upon all [or the whole] remembrance of you.—Ἐπί states the ground or basis (πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ) on which the thanksgiving rests. This remembrance of Paul extends through his life; he contemplates it as one, as a whole. Luther well says: “As often as I think of you.” See Winer’s Gram. pp. 110, 392.12 Meyer, urging the force of πᾶς with the article, explains: My remembrance of you is entirely and throughout connected with thanksgiving to God; and Schenkel: So far as he remembers them. These explanations are wrong; for the thanksgiving and the supplication go together. Still less can ὑμῶν be gen. subj., as if Paul were giving thanks for their remembrance of him (Bretschneider). Further, μνεία is not=mention (Winer, Van Hengel), as in μνείαν ποιεῖσθαι (Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Philippians 4:0). Comp. μνείαν ἔχειν (1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:3).
Philippians 1:4. Always in every prayer of mine for you all (πάντοτε ἐν πασῃ δεήσει μου ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν). In Romans 1:8 we have πάντων ὑμῶν; in 1 Corinthians 1:4, πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν; and in Ephesians 1:16, only ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μου after οὐ παύομαι. Here, after πάσῃ τῇ μνείᾳ (Philippians 1:3) we have the idea of totality repeated three times: πάντοτε, πάσῃ, πάντων. Latum erat cor Pauli (Bengel), by his joy in the church.—This clause is to be joined with the following: Making the prayer with joy (μετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν δέησιν ποιούμενος). [The article before δέησιν recalls δεήσει as the prayer in each instance which he offers in their behalf.—H.] Πάντοτε in the preceding clause shows that his thankfulness goes hand in hand with his constant, prayer, and ἐν πάση δεήσει that his prayer for the church, and indeed for all its members, never ceases; while here in μετὰ χαρᾶς we have his frame of mind disclosed to us, and the prayer noted as a fact. It is peculiar to this place. Theophylact: τὸ μετὰ χαρᾶς μεμνῆσθαι σημεῖον τῆς ἐκείνων�. Bengel: summa epistolæ: gaudeo, gaudete! Nam perpetua gaudii mentio (Philippians 1:18 ff; Philippians 2:2; Philippians 2:19; Philippians 2:28; Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:1; Philippians 4:4). Preces imprimis gaudium animat. For δέησις and προσευχή see on Ephesians 6:18. It is incorrect to join πάντοτε (Wiesinger), or ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν (Hölemann), with εὐχαριστῶ (Philippians 1:3). It is wrong also to make the participial clause parenthetical (Heinrichs). [Taking this verse and the preceding one together, we have then three steps in the development of the thought: First, the apostle never remembers the Philippians but with thanks giving; secondly, he remembers them in fact as often as he prays; and, thirdly, this remembrance of them was always a source of joy to himself, as well as a cause of thanks giving to God.—H.]
Philippians 1:5 brings forward the cause of his thanks.—For your fellowship unto the gospel.—Ἐπί with the dative (preceded by εὐ χαριστεῖν) quite often indicates the object of the thanks giving (1 Corinthians 1:4). See Winer’s Gram. p. 393.—Τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶν represents the fellowship of the Philippians as already existing, and not now as first to be prayed for, and the object of this fellowship is the gospel (εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον). Κοινωνία is found without the gen. obj. in Galatians 2:9 and in 2 Corinthians 9:13, where we have also εἰς αὐτούς, analogous to κοινωνεῖς εἰς λόγον (Philippians 4:15). The article is not repeated before εἰς εὐαγγέλιον, because it appears as one conception, gospel fellowship. The connection of this clause with the participle is incorrect (Calvin, et al.), for we expect here a statement of the ground of his thanksgiving, and τὴν δέησιν has already been defined as ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν. It is wrong also to take κοινωνία actively, as support, contribution (Estius, et al.), as in Numbers 15:26 (κοινωνίαν τινὰ ποιεῖσθαι), Hebrews 13:16 (εὐποιί̈ας καὶ κοινωνίας), where the context demands that meaning; to refer it to their fellowship with Paul (Chrysostom, Van Hengel), for μετ’ ἐμοῦ (1 John 1:3) is wanting; to regard it as=ἡ� in Philippians 1:9 (Meyer); to refer it to the fellowship of the Philippians with other Christians (Wiesinger); or to render it: quod evangelii participes facti estis (Grotius, et al.).—From the first day until now, ἀπὸ πρώτης ἡμέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν, marks with emphasis this well-tried fellowship of faith and love as existing from the first preaching of the gospel among them (Acts 16:13) until the moment of Paul’s writing the letter. [The church at Philippi had existed now about ten years. Among the proofs of this spirit of fellowship and zeal for the gospel (though not limiting himself to them) Paul no doubt had more or less distinctly in view the supplies which the Philippians had sent to him; first, once and again at Thessalonica, soon after his first departure from them (Philippians 4:16), and still more recently at Rome, by the hand of Epaphroditus (Philippians 4:18). Nothing but the want of an opportunity on the part of the Philippians to transmit their gifts, had prevented his receiving still others during the intermediate period (Philippians 4:10). The recorded instances of their liberality, therefore, might well be mentioned as characteristic of their later history as a church. The article before πρώτης is unnecessary, the ordinal being sufficiently definite by itself. See Winer’s Gram. p. 124.—H.]. It is incorrect to connect from the first day, etc., with εὐχαριστῶ (Bengel), or with πεποιθώς (Meyer). The aim is to characterize the fellowship, but not the thanksgiving or confidence of the apostle.
Philippians 1:6. The apostle is confident (πεποιθώς) that God will still work for them and in them. This participle marks his confidence as antecedent to the εὐχαριστῶ. Hæc fiducia nervus est gratiarum actionis (Bengel). Αὐτὸ τοῦτο shows that his confidence rests upon God and nothing else (Ephesians 6:18; Ephesians 6:22; Colossians 4:8).—That he who began a good work in you will complete [or finish] it, ὅτι ὁ ἐναρξάμενος ἐν ὑμῖν ἔργον�. Without doubt God is meant (Philippians 2:13), and ἐν ὑμῖν is in animis vestris (Philippians 2:13), while the context requires us to think of all the members of the church as addressed (Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:7). Comp. Gal 3:3 : 2 Corinthians 8:6 (var. προενήρξατο. To explain it as meaning “among the Philippians” (Hölemann) is against the context. Not only the context, but Paul’s doctrine forbids us to understand “every good one” with ὁ ἐναρξάμενος (Wakefield). By ἔργον� is meant not “the good work” (Luther), but the κοινωνία ὑμῶν εἰςεὐαγγέλιον (Philippians 1:5), a work which is not finished at a single blow, but is carried forward through a gradual development from step to step, through many a fluctuation and danger from within and without, to be made complete in eternity. Bengel: Initium est pignus consummationis. Ne homo quidem temere aliquid incipit.—Up to the flay of Jesus Christ, ἄχρις ἡμέρας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. The day of the Lord’s coming for judgment is meant (Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 1:14). The nearness of the day is not indicated (Meyer), or the day of each one’s death intended 13 (Estius, et al.).—Even as it is just for me to think this of you all.—Καθώς gives the reason for the subjective confidence in the objective fact (Ephesians 1:4). Ἐστὶν δίκαιον ἐμοὶ τοῦτο φρονεῖν describes this confidence, which extends to each individual (ὑπὲρ παντῶν ὑμῶν), as a duty and obligation which he owes to his readers (Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:8; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 4:1). To withhold it seems to him a wrong against them (Bengel: justas invenio causas).—Because I have you in my heart—διὰ τὸ ἕχειν με ἐν τῇ καρδία̣ ὑμᾶς. The context demands με as the subject; with this agrees the sing. καρδία̣. See Winer’s Gram., p. 329. It is contrary to the order of the words, as well as to the context, to take ὑμᾶς as subject (Am Ende, Flatt, et al.). He has them in his heart, because he is separated from them. This certainly shows his deep, abiding affection for them. But this again would be only a subjective matter, like his confidence. Hence what follows is to be closely joined with it: He has them in his heart, and loves them as sharers of the grace of God.—Inasmuch as both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace—lit., grace with me; ἔν τε τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου καὶ ἐν τῇ�̣ καὶ βεβαιώσει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου συγκοινωνούς μου τῆς χάριτος πάντας ὑμᾶς ὄντας. The nerve of the argument lies in συγκοινωνούς μου τῆς χάριτος πάντας ὑμᾶς ὄντας; πάντας ὑμᾶς corresponds to ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν, and they are all characterized as fellow-partakers (συγκοινωνοί) with the Apostle in the grace of God. The pronoun μου depends in sense upon σύν, τῆς χάριτος upon κοινωνούς: they share with Paul in the same grace, which he has received. [For the dependence of the two genitives on συγκοινωνούς (comp. also Philippians 2:25; Philippians 2:30), see Winer’s Gram., p. 191—H.] The context (Philippians 1:6-7), defines it as the grace of God mediated through, the gospel, i.e., salvation and blessedness in eternity. It is thus not suffering for the gospel (5:29, 30), as Meyer thinks, or merely gratiosa evangelii donatio, (Hölemann), or the apostolic office upheld and made more efficient by the liberality of the Philippians (Storr, Am Ende), gratitude—i.e., to them (Rilliet), or gaudii (Vulg.), [which seems to rest on the assumed reading, χαρᾶς.—H.]. The importance of this co-partnership is the greater on account of Paul’s situation at the time. Hence he characterizes the situation under two aspects before he speaks of their personal relation to each other: ἒντετοῖς δεσμοῖς μου and ἐν τῇ�. The first expression refers to his imprisonment, and the second to his work as a prisoner, embracing his labors both in opposition to adversaries, and for the confirmation of Christians (Acts 28:23). It is not therefore merely his judicial defence that is meant (Van Hengel), or his general Christian activity alone (Wiesinger), but both together. It is incorrect also to regard the last two substantives as ἕν διὰ δυοῖν (Heinrichs), or to separate to τοῦ εὐαγγελίου from ἀπολογία̣, and to refer this last only to his person (Estius), since neither ἐν, nor the article before βεβαιώσει, is repeated. The explanation which makes the two entirely synonymous (Rheinwald) has as little in its favor as that which makes the one a defence by word, the other a confirmation by act (Erasmus). The most natural connection is with ὑμᾶς συγκοινωνοὺς—ὄντας and not with ἔχειν ἐν τῇ καρδία̣ (Chrysostom, also Meyer). [We prefer with Chrysostom, Neander, De Wette, Meyer, Alford, and others, to connect the words in question with what precedes, and not so closely with what follows. Nothing surely could be more pertinent here as a proof of Paul’s affection for the Philippians (ἔχειν—ἡμᾶς), than to say, that not all his trials and anxieties as a prisoner at Rome, and not all his arduous labors in the church and for the conversion of sinners, could divert his thoughts from them or interrupt or weaken at all his attachment to them. This view of the connection, too, better explains the solemn appeal in μάρτυς—ὁ θεός, which (note the γάρ, Philippians 1:8) seems too impressive to be referred merely to διά τὸ ἔχειν—ἡμᾶς.—H.] To infer from Philippians 1:29-30, that the bonds and the defence and confirmation of the gospel were common to Paul and the Philippians, (Schenkel) is not permitted either by δεσμοῖς μου, or by πάντες.
Philippians 1:8. For God is my witness, μάρτυς γάρ μου ὁ θεός. Comp. Romans 1:9. He would confirm here his declaration that he has them in his heart. [His earnest desire to see the Philippians was both a proof and a consequence of his earnest affection for them.—H.]—How I long after you all.—Ὡς shows the degree, the prep, in ἐπιποθῶ, the direction of the ποθεῖν, Php 2:26; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:4. The object of ἐπιποθῶ is πάντας ὑμᾶς, none being excepted. Observe the energetic repetition of the πάντας.—In the heart of Jesus Christ, ἐν σπλάγχνοις Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, characterizes the ἐπιποθεῖν of Paul. Επλάγχςα, רַחֲמִים, viscera, is the physical designation of the inmost seat of the affections, of the emotional life in the soul (Colossians 3:12 : οἰκτιρμῶν; Luke 1:78 : ἐλίους); hence ἐν local. Bengel explains it well: In Paulo non Paulus vivit, sed Jesus Christus; quare Paulus non in Pauli, sed Jesu Christi movetur visceribus. Nexus hic est: ego vos tamquam consortes gratiæ in corde meo habeo (2 Corinthians 7:3) atque desidero, neque id affectu naturali, sed pietate Jesu Christi, inde persentisco eodem erga vos affectu esse ipsum potius dominum, qui rem a principiis ad suos exitus est deducturus.14 See ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστός, in Philippians 1:21, and comp. ζῇ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός (Galatians 2:20). Winer’s Gram. p. 189. It is incorrect to regard ἐν as the rule or norm, (Rilliet), for it is not=κατά; or to explain the genitive as, in animo penitus affecto, ut animus fuit Christi. (Van Hengel). It is incorrect to join the word with ὑμᾶς, and to supply ὄντας (Storr). We are to reject every such weakened explanation as amore vere Christiano (Grotius), or digna Jesu Christi affectione (Castalio).
Philippians 1:9. And this I pray.—To the prayer of thanksgiving in Philippians 1:3; Philippians 1:8, καί adds further, the fact that he prays, and what he prays for, in behalf of the church (τοῦτο προσεύχομαι). The subject or contents of this prayer are first stated with emphasis, and therefore placed in connection with the subject and ground of his thanks; hence not προσεύχομαι τοῦτο. It is not true that καί connects what follows with Philippians 1:8, and joins still another act, i.e., προσεύχομαι, with μάρτυςμου ὁ θεός, ὡς ἐπιποθῶ. (Rilliet).—That your love may abound yet more and more.—Ἵνα points out the direction, purpose, of the prayer, and so the contents, purport of it. Comp. Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9. Ἡ�, pre-supposes this love to be already existing, and that in no small degree, like ἵνα πληρωθῆτε. Colossians 1:9. Bengel: Ignis in apostolo nunquam dicit, sufficit. Love of the church is meant, which, as shown by the cause of his joyful thanksgiving (ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑμῶνεἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, Philippians 1:5), and by the ground of his confidence and longing (συγκοινωνούς μου τῆς χάριτος, Philippians 1:7), is more exactly defined to be Christian love. It is therefore neither merely love towards one another (Meyer), nor works of love for the cause of the gospel (Schenkel), nor love to the Apostle (Chrysostom, et al.),nor to God and Christ (Calov), although all these are involved. The accumulative, ἔτι μᾶλλον καὶ μᾶλλον, marks the earnestness of the supplication. Comp. πολλῷ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον, Philippians 1:23. Περισσεύη indicates an increase of this love of the church above the ordinary measure of its possession. (Comp. 1Th 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:10, περισσενειν μᾶλλον).—How that shall take place is shown by what follows: In knowledge and in every perception, or discernment, ἐν ἐπιγνώσει καὶ πάσῃ αἰσθήσει. The first (see Ephesians 1:17) is a more perfect knowledge of the truth in contrast with a knowledge which is defective, uncertain, confused; and therefore an intellectual act and intensive. The other (αἴσθησις, here only in the N. T.) is the perception by the mind or senses of what takes place or exists around us; here in its ethical sense as opposed to a weak judgment, to inexperience, inconsiderate conduct, and, having to do with the entire range of man’s acts and relations, is therefore extensive, on which account also πάσῃ (=every form of) is added. [This faculty (αἵσθησις), as Wordsworth remarks, is that delicate tact and instinct which almost intuitively perceives what is right, and almost unconsciously shrinks from what is wrong.—H.] Both of these, the theoretical knowledge and the ethical tact, belong and go together. The prep. εν marks each as the sphere, or element, in which the increase of love is to take place. The progress is also a natural one, from knowledge to knowledge, from experience to experience, each promoting the other. Comp. Colossians 2:7. It is incorrect to deny here an increase of love, as if that were already complete (Meyer), or to find that the Philippians were not wanting in love, but in knowledge, their zeal being still οὐ κατ’ ἐπίγνὠσιν (Romans 10:2), i.e., blind, undiscriminating, liable to error (Schenkel).
Philippians 1:10. That ye may prove things that differ.—Εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν denotes the immediate end of the περισσεύῃ. It is in practice, the conduct of life that we are to prove τὰ διαφέροντα. As the senses are to be exercised, προς διάκρισιν (Hebrews 5:14), so here love should increase in knowledge and experience, that we may prove the things in regard to which we are to decide or act. Δοκιμάζειν means to test, distinguish the genuine from the spurious (χρυσίον, 1 Peter 1:7), to distinguish between things which are different (τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν, 1 Thessalonians 2:4; πάντα δὲ δοκιμάζετε, τὸ καλὸν κατέχετε, 1 Thessalonians 5:21), or between men who differ (1 Timothy 3:10). The things which experience presents to us are different in degree as well as kind. Non modo præ multis bona, sed in bonis optima. (Bengel). The rendering ut probetis potiora (Vulg., et al.) is incorrect.—The purpose of this increase of love is: That ye may be pure and without offence unto, or against the day of Christ. Ἵνα points out the direction of the prayer for the increase of their love. A firm decision for the good follows a correct judgment respecting what is good and evil. The knowledge and experience brought into activity lead to a certain condition and conduct (η̇͂τε): (εἰλικρινεῖς καὶ�). The first (Grimm, Clavis s. v: ab. εἵχη s. ἕλη, splendor solis, el κρινω, qui ad solis lucem explicatus et examinatus purus deprehenditur,15 ex aliorum conjectura ab εἶλος, εἱ̓λειν, volubile agitatione secretus et purgatus) elsewhere only in 2 Peter 3:1, is positive, internal; the second, negative, outward, as referring to persons and relations; hence active, as in 1 Corinthians 10:32, while in Acts 24:16, it is passive. We are to look here not to the church or the world, not to the present or the past, but to God who ἐπιτελέσει�́ (1 Thessalonians 5:6); hence εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ, against, for the day of Christ [not until, A. V.] in which this, character will be made manifest. They should prepare for this as their great aim (see Philippians 2:16 : Ephesians 4:30).—Being filled, πεπληρωμένοι. The passive refers to what has been experienced or attained, and the perfect to the continued effects of this experience, and thus the participle characterizes the ἦτε εἰλικρινεῖς καὶ�.—The fruit of righteousness which is by or through Jesus Christ (καροπον δικαιοσυνης τὸν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ). The acc., as in Colossians 1:9, points out that with which they are filled. The sing. καρπόν marks the harmonious unity, as Galatians 5:22. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Romans 6:22; James 3:18. The gen. δικαιοσύνης indicates the cause, source. The omission of the article makes it a single conception: righteousness-fruit, more strongly descriptive of the character of the fruit: this fruit is itself righteousness in its very nature. Hence we must not think here of justification (Hölemann). But this fruit of righteousness is not produced by the unaided strength of the Christian without the mediation of Jesus. See Ephesians 4:7-8; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:22. This truth humbles us because it rebukes self-exaltation, but makes us rejoice also because it shows how glorious this fruit is.—Unto the glory and praise of God (εἵς δόξαν καὶ ἔπαινον θεον͂) is an addition to πεπληρωμένοι. Comp. Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14. Such fulness is of itself the glory of God, because it shows His excellence, and leads to His praise, because men declare it in every way. [“Herein is my Father glorified,” says Christ, “that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:0.).—H.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1.The salvation of individuals is the chief topic of this section, viewed however not theoretically, but practically, in its relation to a living body of Christians. It is a work, a good work, (ἕργον�), wrought in the individual (Philippians 1:6 : εν ὑμῖν), in whose inmost personality it is accomplished. Hence in its first province it is a human work.
2. In its nature salvation is righteousness, the fruit of which appears in the life (Philippians 1:11 : καρπὸν δικαιοσύνης), and love (Philippians 1:9 : ἡ�), which is self-sacrificing. Hence it is opposed to self seeking and self-will, and is fellowship with God, Christ, and the brethren. It is, then, in its next effect, a social work.
3.The source of salvation is to be sought in God alone (Philippians 1:6 : ὁ ἐναρξάμενις) without any merit or worthiness on the part of the subject who needs salvation, and is capable of receiving it, so that he is only the object, the recipient, of the blessing (συγκοιωνοὺς τῆς χάριτος, Philippians 1:7). Hence in its beginning it is a divine work, which excludes as well the αὐτεξούσιον of the Greek Fathers, especially Clemens and Origen, as it does Pelagianism, denying the transmission of sin (which Socinianism warmed again into life), and Semi-pelagianism (which Arminianism revived), weakening the conviction of this sinfulness in conformity with its idea of universal grace.
4. Nor in its entire progress is this less a work of God who does not draw back where He has put His hand, who, in the realm of creation and of redemption, in all His works in nature, and in the lives and hearts of men, is ever present, not only as a witness (μάρτυς μου ὁ θεός, Philippians 1:8) but to complete also (ἐπιτελέσει, Philippians 1:6), what He has begun.
5. The work of salvation is mediated, objectively, through the person of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:11), the preaching of the gospel (Philippians 1:5), and supplication, With regard to the how nothing more definite is here said, because it does not come into question.
6. The subjective mediation is indicated under different aspects, (a) Christ, He who is preached coming near to us in the preaching, and received in us by His word, becomes our life, His heart our heart, His pity our pity, so that we love with Him, with His heart, with His love (Philippians 1:8 : ἐν σπλάγχνοις Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ); (b) He who does not resist Him, receives His strength and gifts, so that by means of these he works in turn; won for Him, drawn to Him, united with those who are like-minded, he lives, and acts, and walks in love (Philippians 1:9 : ἡ� Philippians 1:5 : ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνςία̣ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον); (c) Personal activity is not excluded, but called forth (Philippians 1:9-11), self-exaltation is destroyed, and Synergism has no place here.
7. Love, combined with an active faith, is the central force which penetrates the inmost personality, directs the life, and goes forward step by step towards its perfection. This progress shows itself in a two-fold way: a) Internally, the Christian becomes intellectually more intimate with God and with His thoughts (ἐπίγνωσις). Love thus becomes clearer, deeper, stronger. It increases in knowledge, grows in that and with that. As an ethical effect, also, the love perceives, experiences, feels (πᾶσα αἵσθησις), the power of the kingdom of God with its manifold ordinances, and richly endowed membership. It thus becomes stronger, fuller, riper. It increases in experience, grows in that and with that. Thus Christians come to a surer judgment respecting the things which are about them, and concern them (εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν τὰ διαφέροντα) within and without, good and bad. The result is purity (εἰλικρινεῖς). b) Externally, love acts spontaneously, without calculation, with nice moral tact, with tender conscientiousness, giving no offence, (ἀπρόσκοποι). The eye ever directed to the end (εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ) animates this love thus progressive to the final day (ἅ χρις ἡμέρας Χριστοῦ). Pantheistic necessity, all physical compulsion in the Christian’s progress, are excluded. Our moral responsibility remains entire.
8. Love in two respects is an object of the Apostle’s joy. It actuates all, one as well as another (Philippians 1:7 a, and 7 b, 8), and redounds to the honor of God (Philippians 1:11). First, though there is a difference in the strength, purity, breadth, and capacity of this love, from Lydia (Acts 16:14-15) and the jailer (ib. 30–34) down to the weakest member, the fellowship between them is not disturbed. Every one looks upon the other with humility, and without envy, and cleaves to him. Secondly, the majesty of love becomes manifest, while gratitude for God’s gifts is shown in word and work.
9. It is instructive to observe how the Apostle demeans himself here. He is thankful for what is given or done to him; God’s act is final; his own doing is as nothing. He rejoices in spite of his imprisonment, since the internal welfare and the salvation of the church are of more importance to him than his own outward suffering. He is full of confidence, for, amid all the dangers to which the members of the church are exposed, from flesh and blood, as well as from the world about them, he has cast his cares upon Him who is greater than he that is in the world, and greater than his own heart. (Comp. 1 John 3:20; 1 John 4:4). He prays for them heartily, as well as confidently. Without pride of office, without selfishness, without carnal calculation, without meagre consolation, or satisfaction in comparing them with other churches, as in Galatia and Corinth, he looks with grand humility, with noble joy, with childlike confidence, and paternal care, upon the condition of this particular church.
10. [Neander:—Paul here (Philippians 1:9-11) gives to love the first place, and ascribes to its quickening presence the knowledge and capacity required for distinguishing the good and the bad, the true and the false; as he himself expresses it, “that your love may more and more abound in all knowledge;” meaning, that therein its effect is seen—that increase of knowledge is the fruit of more abundant love. But as here the theoretical proceeds from the practical, the new direction of the judgment from the new direction of the will, of the moral disposition; so is the theoretical in like manner to react upon the practical, the enlightened judgment upon the conduct. Hence Paul adds, as the object to be thus attained, that they should continue “pure and irreproachable” in their Christian walk, until all shall appear before the Lord; “being filled with the fruit of righteousness, which is by Jesus. Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”—H.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The minister, in view of the past, should have reason to give thanks for the success of the divine word, and in view of the present should rejoice in the growth of love, and in view of the future be consoled as to more immediate danger, and hope for a glorious end. The church should find in him a helper of their joy; ever active, yet without official conceit, a friend, full of sympathy, without selfishness, a hero who lifts praying hands over them, a father who cares earnestly for their future inheritance, Philippians 1:3-11.
Starke:—God has indeed deserved our thanks. He never ceases to do us good. So also our thanks should have no end. Psalms 100:5.—He will be able to pray to God with joy who regards his prayer not merely as a duty, but also as a gospel right, in virtue of which he may come to the throne of grace, and be looked upon graciously.—To begin is well and necessary, but to complete still, better, and more necessary.—The more thou art pressed the more cry out. Remain firm, and be not deterred. Through scorn we come to the crown.—The longer in the Christian life the happier, the better, is the true testimony. He who does not increase, decreases; at least, standing still is not the right way.—Since the chief powers of the soul are understanding and will, the growth must show itself in them both: the one can no more be separated from the other than understanding from the will.
Heubner:—If men do not recognise God as their God, they have no religion at all. It is not a living piety unless they have found God in their inner and outer life.—True love and friendship is ever a religious, mutual remembrance. Remembrance of God is a holy admonition that we live for, with, and in one another. Thus we see how Christianity enlarges the heart. Christian love embraces many; yea, all. (Philippians 1:4-7.)—Every shepherd must pray daily for his church. Paul had much to do, but he always had time for prayer.—True, inward fellowship of hearts, is a cause for thanksgiving. It is a source of true happiness which nothing can surpass. In our days a repugnance to the closer religious associations often shows itself; for in them religion comes nearer to men, and touches the heart. In like manner too great an equality of many with each other is offensive to some. Among ministers a dread of work is often the cause of this aversion.—There are special days of salvation and grace in our life. These memorable days are not merely birth-days, but rather those in which we have been awakened to a spiritual life.—we have still churchly assemblies, but those really Christian are rare.—For progress in what is good one needs grace as much as at the beginning: it is this which accomplishes all. God’s Spirit leaves nothing half done. He completes His work if man only lets Him rule. It is disgraceful to us, after God has begun the building, to allow it to stop, or to tear it down. God does not destroy His work, we destroy it.—If thou art anxious about thy progress, cling only to God.—Christian love should not make blind, but clear-sighted. Love lifts up the spirit. The truth is always better discerned through love, and the medium of a practical Christianity. When borne up by others, one sees further, more clearly, (Philippians 1:9.)—Love has a keen, critical character. The Christian has a delicate sensibility, by means of which he finds the right. A Christian’s growth is growth in the spirit of examination, and the more the Christian discriminates, the freer does he become from all blemishes. It is only the pure, clean heart, which makes us blameless before Christ, (Philippians 1:10.)—Paul gives here a definition of good works: they correspond to the law, spring from the Spirit of Christ, and redound to the honor of God: this last is their highest object, (Philippians 1:11.) But measured by this rule, many good works so-called lose their value. The Christian should have also not merely single, isolated, good works, but a fullness of them (Philippians 1:12.)—As the Epistle for the 22d Sunday after Trinity: The intimate connection of the Apostle with his church.
1) Ground: faith and love. 2) Effects: growth, new zeal.—Christian friendship: 1) Its nature; 3) Blessing; 3) Conditions.
Passavant:—Without His grace over us, and His Spirit within us, all in us is vain and impure.
Schleiermacher:—The beginning, though very often the most difficult, is also in many cases the easiest, and not until afterwards do the difficulties which must be overcome, appear. The former exertions then seem, as it were, mere play in comparison with the persistent zeal, which must be shown, if the work is to be brought to an end.—If a man is impelled by the power of genuine love, he is not content with mere experience of life, or with a knowledge of the divine word, by itself, but he seeks to bind both together, so that the one shall ever accompany, support, and promote the other.
Krummacher:—Love for all the saints urges, 1) to thorough self-examination; 2) to joyful emulation; 3) to hearty and humble praise of the free grace of God.—The fellowship of the saints: 1) The duty of thankfulness towards God; 2) Communications from the history of His kingdom; 3) Well-meant counsel: pray and watch.
Ashfeld:—At the end of the church year we observe a thanksgiving festival for the spiritual blessings of the year. 1) We give thanks for the gifts bestowed; 2) We trust God, that He will continue them to us; 3) We pray that we may constantly adorn our faith with richer fruits of righteousness.
Löhe:—1) The Apostle’s joyful thanksgiving for the fellowship of the Philippians in the Gospel; 2) His joyful confidence that the good work which has been begun, will be completed until the day of Christ; 3) His great longing for the Philippians, and for their perfection.
Rautenberg:—The signs of genuine thankfulness for the precious gift of the gospel: 1) Hearts which beat for it; 2) Lips which testify for it; 3) Hands which work for it.
Oettinger:—The greatest joy of the faithful is fellowship in the gospel: 1) Of the perfect joy in pure fellowship; 2) of the incomplete joy in mixed fellowship.
Muenkel:—The good work: 1) Begun through the gospel; 2) Proved in sorrow; 3) Completed in the love that gives no offence.
The priestly heart of the Apostle Paul: 1) A mirror for repentance; 2) A copy for faith; 3) A pattern for sanctification.
Pröhle:—True Christian friendship: 1) The source whence it flows; 2) The signs by which it verifies itself; 3) The blessing which rests upon it.—Most holy thought: God is my witness! 1) A thought of delight; 2) or of fear.—The way to a right understanding of Christian truth is through the heart: 1) It inclines the understanding aright; 2) takes away the bandage which keeps it from discerning divine things in their true form; 3) adds an inward experience to the testimony of the convictions of the understanding.
[Neander:—It is customary with Paul to commence his letters with a recognition of whatever is praiseworthy in the church to which he is writing. In this appears his wisdom as a spiritual guide. The confidence of men is far more easily won, and a hearing secured for whatever one has to say in the way of admonition and rebuke, if it appears that he nowise overlooks or undervalues what is good in them, that he does not willingly find fault, but is ready to acknowledge every real excellence with cordial approbation. Good and bad, moreover, stand frequently in close connection with each other. The good lies at the foundation; but the evil mingles its disturbing influence with the good, and hence it is through the latter that we can best reach and remedy the former. It is in the clear perception of this relation, and in the skilful use of it for the correction of error, that Paul manifests his wisdom (see Philippians 1:5-7).—H.]
Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:6. [A few of the oldest MSS. insert τῆς before πρώτης. Some copyist may have thought it necessary, but the grammar does not require it. See the Exegetical Remarks.—H.]
Ibid. [Instead of Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (T. R.) some copies invert the order as in Philippians 1:1 (Lachmann, Ellicott, Tischendorf, Alford). The evidence seems not to be conclusive.—H.]
Philippians 1:8; Philippians 1:8. [Meyer, Tischendorf and others, reject ἐστίν in μου ἐστίν of the T. R. The omission, on the whole, is very doubtful. See Ellicott’s statement of the testimony.—H.]
Philippians 1:11; Philippians 1:11. Καρπὸν δικαιοσύνης τόν in א A B (which last, however, omits the article τόν) and many others. The plural καρπῶν—τῶν is not duly attested. [The A. V. therefore requires correction here.—H.]
Ibid. [Whether the order here is Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus, with the present evidence, is uncertain.—H.]
[The reference here and elsewhere is to the translation of the seventh edition of Winer’s Grammar of the Idiom of the New Testament, revised and edited by Prof. J. Henry Thayer (Andover, 1869).—H.]
[ Alford (in loc.) supposes Paul to assume here “the nearness of the coming of the Lord.” But that view is apparently inconsistent with 2 Thessalonians 2:2; for the Apostle there declares this opinion (which some had falsely imputed to him) to be unfounded and without sanction in any thing that he had said or written. If at that early period (2 Thess. being the second of all his extant Epistles) Paul did not entertain that definite expectation, much less should we ascribe it to him after the lapse of so many years, during which this visible coming of Christ had been delayed. The reason why Paul refers here to a more distant event, instead of saying that God would strengthen the Philippians and enable them to persevere to life’s end, may be that the day of one’s death coincides so essentially in its moral consequences with the Lord’s final advent, and hence was habitually near (as it should be to us all) to the feelings and consciousness of the first Christians. On this topic see remarks of the writer in his Commentary on the Acts, pp. 80–82 (revised ed.). See also Ellicott’s notes on Philippians 1:6, in opposition to Alfoer’s view.—H.
[‘Did I speak of having yon in my heart? I should rather have said that in the heart of Christ Jesus I long for you.’ A powerful metaphor describing perfect union. The believer has no yearnings apart from his Lord; his pulse beats with the pulse of Christ; his heart throbs with the heart of Christ (Lightfoot).—H.]
[The above is the generally received etymology. But Borne derive εὶλικρινεῖς from εἴλη=ἴλη, ‘band‚’ ‘troop‚’ and κρίνω, ‘to separate,’ and hence gregatim, ‘distinct,’ ‘unmixed.’ Hesychius defines: εἰλικρινές τὸ καθαρὸν καὶ�. Lightfoot adopts this derivation. Ellicott prefers the second of the views mentioned in the text (see in loc.).—H.]
(2) The gospel, in spite of insincere or false brethren and threatening danger of death, makes progress during the Apostle’s captivity at Rome (Philippians 1:12-26)
After referring to the happy effects of his ministry in bonds (Philippians 1:12-14) among sincere and insincere witnesses for Christ (Philippians 1:15-17) he expresses his views respecting this varied experience (Philippians 1:18-20) and calmly revolves the question whether life or death may be better for him (Philippians 1:21-26).
12But I would that ye should understand [know], brethren, that the things which happened unto me [my affairs] have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel; 13so that my bonds in Christ are [have become] manifest in all the palace16 14[Prœtorium, or Prætorian camp] and in all other places [to all the rest]; and many [the greater part] of the brethren [in the Lord], waxing confident [in the Lord] 15by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed 16preach Christ even of envy and strife; and [but] some also of good will. The one17 of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; 17but the other [others]18 preach Christ of contention [contentiousness or party spirit] not sincerely, supposing 18[thinking] to add19 [raise up] affliction to my bonds. What then? notwithstanding20 every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will [shall] rejoice. 19For I know, that this shall [will] turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation, and (my) hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but (that) with all boldness, as always, (so) now also, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether (it be) by life, or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die (is) Galatians 2:0; Galatians 2:02But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; 23yet what I shall choose I wot [know] not. for21 I am in a strait betwixt two, having 24a [the] desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 26that your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ, for [in] me by my coming to you again.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Philippians 1:12. But I would that ye should know, brethren.—The position of γινώσκειν renders it emphatic: contrariis rumoribus prœoccupari potuissent ecclesiæ (Bengel). Δέ marks the transition from the condition of the church at Philippi to that of the Apostle at Rome. Ὑμᾶς βούλομαι, together with the friendly address ἀδελφοί, shows that this desire springs from Paul’s heart. Comp. 1Co 11:3; 2 Timothy 3:1.—That my affairs (ὅτι τὰ καὶ ἐμέ, as in Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7,) have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel. The comparative μᾶλλον refers to the anxiety of the Apostle and the Philippians. (Winer’s Gram., p. 243). [The result was favorable rather (μᾶλλον) than adverse, as Paul and the Philippians had feared.—H]. The perf. (ὲλήλυθεν) indicates an effect which still continues. Comp. Philippians 1:25. Hölemann’s explanation quam antea contigerat, is wrong, for there is no comparison here of past and present.
Philippians 1:13. So that my bonds in Christ have become manifest.—Ὥστε explains how it was that his imprisonment at Rome had contributed to the progress of the gospel (εἰς προκοπὴν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἐληυθεν). Τοὺς δεσμούς μου φανεροὺς ἐν Χριστῷ γενέσθαι mentions the first result of his imprisonment in regard to hearers who were not Christians. As in 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 1 Corinthians 14:25, φανεροὺς γενέσθαι means to become manifest. It is incorrect to explain φανερός as illustris, conspicuus (Calvin). It is the opposite of κρυπτός, ἀπόκρυφος. The order of the words demands the connection of ἐν Χριστῷ with φανερούς. Paulus cum aliis captivis traditus par eis visus est; deinde innotuit, aliam esse Pauli causam et sic invaluit evangelium, (Bengel). The nature of the information thus diffused, is shown by ἐν Χριστοῷ. Paul’s bonds are those of a Christian. He is δέσμιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐν Κυρίῳ (Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 4:1; Philemon 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:8). His bonds had indeed been manifest before this time, but had not been manifest ἐν Χριστῷ. The emphasis lies on the fact that in this relation they had become manifest or known, and on that account φανερούς precedes.—In all the Prætorium or Prætorian camp, (ε̇ν ὅλῳ τῶ πραιτερίῳ) designates the place where this knowledge had spread. On the subject, see Act 28:10-31.22 The castrum prætorianorum (Sueton. Tib. 37, Tac. Ann. 42) is meant, (which was built by Sejanus in the reign of Tiberius, near the porta Viminalis), not the aula Cæsaris (Bengel); for πραιτώπιον is not the same as Καίσαπος οἰκία (Philippians 4:22), as many hold. “Repressaque in præsens exitiabilis superstitio rursus erumpebat, non modo per Judæam, originem ejus mali, sed per urben etiam.” (Tacitus Ann. 15, 40). [Prof. Lightfoot at present understands πραιτωρίῳ in the sense of “prætorians,” and not “prætorian camp,” as formerly. (See his Commentary in loc). But with that direct personal sense we might have expected the dative without ἐν, as in the other clause (comp. Acts 4:16; Acts 7:13; 1 Timothy 5:15); whereas with the local sense as the direct one, and the personal as indirect, the change of construction becomes perfectly natural. Ewald’s periphrastic rendering “in all the Prætorium among the soldiers” (Sendeschreiben des Apostel Paulus, p. 441), gives the correct sense.—H.]—And to all the rest, καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς πᾶσιν, points to others besides the Pretorians, for many besides these could hear, and did hear Paul preach. But we are not to think of heathen merely (Van Hengel), regarding the expression as analogous to 1 Thessalonians 4:13. The prep. ἐν should not be repeated, and τόποις supplied (Chrysostom, et al.); for that would be making the circuit too extensive. It is plain from ὅλῳ and πᾶισιν (which shows how widely the gospel had become known) that the letter could not have been written very soon after Paul’s arrival, but at a later period.
[Paul (if we make a distinction between ξενίαν, Acts 28:23, and μισθώματι, Philippians 1:30) may have spent a few days after his arrival at Rome at some place of public or of private hospitality; but after that he “dwelt in his own hired house,” yet under the surveillance of soldiers, who, according to the Roman custom, were detailed from the Prætorian camp to attend him as a guard. But the Prætorian camp occupied an extensive circuit, and “might have contained within its precincts lodgings rented by prisoners under military custody” (Lightfoot). Hence as different Prætorians relieved each other in the performance of this office, Paul would in the course of time become favorably known to many of them, and through these to other comrades. Thus it was soon understood far and wide that Paul had been imprisoned not for any immorality or crime alleged against him, but for preaching the gospel of Christ.—H.]
Philippians 1:14. Here we learn another fact which was a consequence of the Apostle’s captivity, and favorable to the gospel: And the greater part of the brethren (καὶ τοὺς πλείονας τῶν�). [Luther renders πλείονας many, as does also the A. V. They constituted the majority, but Paul intimates at the same time that all the Roman Christians did not derive the same benefit from his example.—H.] The reference is to Christians, members of the church, who stood at the Apostle’s side as assistants, co-laborers; not to teachers (Schenkel).—Waxing confident in the Lord by my bonds (ἐν κυρίῳ πεποιθότας τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου) explains why they acted thus. The perf. part. marks this confidence as already attained, and still in operation; ἐν κυριῳ is the nearest object of the verb (Philem. Philippians 1:21). Oecumenius well remarks: εἰ γὰρ μὴ θεῖον ῆν, φησί, τὸ κήρυγμα, οὐκ ἂν ὁ Παῦλος ἠνείχετο ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ δεδέσθαι. Paul’s bonds are to those qui antea timuerant (Bengel) an actual pledge of the entire truthfulness, power, and glory of the gospel (Meyer), and, indeed, as the emphatic position of ἐν κυρίῳ shows, their confidence rests entirely on Christ, and not on any human calculation or reflection. See Winer’s Gram. 137 sq.; Gal 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:4. Luther incorrectly connects ἐν κυρίῳ with ἀδελφῶν, while Bengel joins it with τολμᾷν.—Are much more bold, (περισσοτέρως τολμᾷυ), states in what degree they were animated by the Apostle’s zeal. The comparative supposes the case of Paul’s being free from bonds, (i.e., more boldly than if he were not imprisoned) and does not refer to the time of his arrival at Rome (Schneckenburger), or to that of his former freedom (Schenkel).—To speak the word without fear, (ἀφόβως τὸν λόγον λαλεῖν) shows what they are now much more bold to do, though even before this time they had attempted it. Hence περισσοτέρως is not to be joined with ἀφόβως, (Baumgarten-Crusius). Τὸν λόγον is absolute, as Galatians 6:6, i.e., God’s word, which every Christian in his sphere is to speak and to bear witness to. The article denotes, according to the context, that it is the word which the Apostle preaches. The verb is used not merely of teachers (Ephesians 6:20; Colossians 4:3-4), but also of members of the church (Ephesians 5:19).
Philippians 1:15. Some indeed preach Christ, also of envy and strife (τινὲς μὲν καὶ διὰ φθόνον καὶ ἔριν); in contrast with τοὺς πλείονας τῶν αδελφῶν we have τινὲς μὲν—τινὲς δέ, in contrast with τὸν λόγον λαλεῖν we have Χριστὸν κηρύσσουσιν—καταγγέλλουσιν (Philippians 1:17), and in contrast with ἐν κυρίῳ πεποιθότας we have διὰ φθόνον καὶ ἔριν. The καί, also, introduces something additional (Meyer) i.e., others besides those mentioned in Philippians 1:14, who are also teachers. Their motive (διά) is a base one, namely, envy, excited by the Apostle’s activity, and prompting them to strife for the purpose of disturbing or checking this activity, or of injuring his person.—And some also of good will (τινὲς δὲ καὶ διὰ εὐδοκίαν) forms the antithesis to what precedes. We are to take εὐδοκία therefore in the sense of having pleasure or satisfaction, i.e., in Paul’s work and person, which includes indeed, complaisance, or a desire to please, but not exactly benevolence. Those here meant are not identical with those designated in Philippians 1:14. It is not therefore that they act from conviction: ideo quod ipsi id probarent (Grotius) nor alios salvare volentes (Pelagius). Τὸν Χριστὸν κηπρύσσουσιν belongs to the two contrasted groups. In their teaching concerning Christ they do not essentially differ, but they differ entirely in their motives, their moral classification, their character. This is more clearly explained in Philippians 1:16-17.—The one of love (οἱ μὲν ἐξ�) points to the latter group, οἱ δέ (Philippians 1:16) to the former. See Winer’s Gram. p. 561. The latter are characterized as ἐξ� as in Galatians 3:7 : οἱ έκ πιστεως sc. ὄντες. They are viewed as children of love; ἀγάπη is their nature. Comp. on εἶναι ἐκ τινός in 1 John 2:16, (Lange’s Series, XV.) By ἀγάπη (Bengel: erga Christum et me), the generic or essential characteristic is meant; by εὐδοκία the specific as a manifestation or result of the other.—Knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel, εἰδότες presents the motive (as Ephesians 6:8-9) ὅτι εἰς�. The verb κεῖμαι (as in Luk 2:34; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Timothy 1:19) represents his bondage as a divine appointment or destiny. Incorrect and opposed to the context (Philippians 1:12) is the idea of his being prostrate in conditione misera (Van Hengel), or in bonds (Luther), because by their preaching they make up for his impeded activity, supplent hoc meum impedimentum sua prædicatione (Estius). The task which devolves upon him in his situation has for its object the defence of the gospel, ἀπολογίαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (Philippians 1:7), in which these Christians support the Apostle by their co-operation. It is incorrect to refer this to his account before God (Chrysostom), or his defence before the court, coram judice (Van Hengel).
Philippians 1:16. But the others of contentiousness or party spirit.—οἱ δὲ ἐξ ἐρίθείας, as in Philippians 1:17. Comp. Romans 2:18. Out of this spirit of rivalry or ambition (Philippians 2:3; James 3:14; James 3:16), which is their characteristic, spring envy and strife, φθόνος καὶ ἔρι (Philippians 1:15). Ἐριθεία from ἔριθος, day laborer, ἐριθύω to be an ἐριθος, and then in the middle, to use unscrupulous means for one’s advantage, is the ambitus of the Romans. See Passow. Lex. s. v. The context requires us to retain the idea of intrigue or party-spirit. Schenkel incorrectly assumes the meaning to be “work for pay.”—These do the same as the other class: they preach Christ (τὸν Χριστὸν καταγγέλλουσιν, Philippians 1:15, κηρυσσουσιν). Both verbs designate preaching, but have this shade of difference, that the latter signifies to proclaim Christ to those who have a very slight, or absolutely no knowledge of Him, while the former means to announce Him as present, near. Colossians 1:28; Acts 17:3; Acts 17:23. We are to join the finite verb with ἐξ� (Philippians 1:16) and ἐξ ἐριθείας (Neander), since otherwise we have a needless accumulation of epithets, and we miss a characteristic designation of the two different classes. The preaching of the opponents is the same in substance as that of the others, but in a different spirit: not purely, οὐχ ἁγνῶς, i.e., properly, not untainted, not free from coarser, or more refined accessory motives (Php 4:8; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 11:2). It is saying negatively that these do not preach from pure, unalloyed love for Christ.—This is further explained, positively:—Thinking to add affliction to my bonds (οἰόμενοι θλῖψιν ἐγείρειν τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου). The participle as present states an attendant motive or belief which the import of the word itself characterizes as unfounded, and the result also shows to be false (Philippians 1:18-20), in contrast with the actual knowledge of the true witnesses respecting the Apostle’s work and destiny (Philippians 1:16, εἰδότες). Ἐγείρειν refers to the stirring up of further, additional, θλίψις, affliction, connected with the imprisonment (τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου), not merely the prisoner, its effect being to aggravate his sufferings. [Prof. Lightfoot finds a metaphor in θλιψιν ἐγεῖρειν=to make my chains gall me. “This word (θλῖψις), though extremely common in the LXX, occurs very rarely in classical writers even of a late date, and in those few passages has its literal meaning. The same want in the religious vocabulary which gave currency to θλίψις also created ‘tribulatio’ as its Latin equivalent. The reading ἐγείρειν, besides being supported, carries out the metaphor better than ἐπιφέρειν of the received text.”—H.].—How this aggravation of his trials was to take place, φθόνος, ἔρις (Philippians 1:15) and ἐριθεία (Philippians 1:17) indicate. Though the Apostle’s enemies preach Christ as do the others, they do not, like them, seek to edify the church, and to assist the Apostle, but stir up strife and hatred against him. They preach Jesus as the promised one, that those who hear may say: ‘This is indeed also Christian preaching; we need not run after Paul.’ They thus draw the church to themselves, and withdraw it from Paul. They preach concerning Christ essentially as he does, only either more strictly to please those who are zealous for the law, or more loosely for the sake of those who are still weak, or in a more rhetorical way, not to offend the cultivated, as does the Apostle. Thus they not merely weaken the attachment of others to him, and draw away his followers, but excite enmity against him, and thereby make his imprisonment still more oppressive. In their preaching of Christ they go beyond their convictions from dislike to Paul; they make them more Christian in form to do him injury. To understand θλῖψις of an increased severity in his imprisonment by command of the emperor Nero (the Greek commentators, and Pelagius, Erasmus, Grotius), accords as little with the contex, as it does to limit the term to his personal mortifications.
Philippians 1:18. What then? τί γάρ;—The question implies a denial of the belief (οἰόμενοι) Quid refert? utrinque juvor (Philippians 1:12). Bengel.—Notwithstanding every way whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached. Πλήν presupposes a difference (that is, of motives), while, at the same time, it brings forward what is common to the parties. Under παντὶ τρόπῳ are included what is outward, the manner of representation, the compass, articulation, the systematic arrangement and tendency of this teaching, not its contents as being Ebionitic, or other Jewish views, or Gnostic conceptions (Galatians 1:8). The more exact definition of πᾶς τρόπος follows in εἴτε προφάσει εἴτε�̣. Both mark the relation of the word preached to the character of the preacher; εἴτε προφάσει points to the difference, εἴτε�̣ to the harmony between the two, as regards the word, doctrine and motives of the respective preachers: on the one side, insincerity, self-seeking, party spirit; on the other, conscientiousness, faithfulness. The first description embraces those mentioned in Philippians 1:15 a and Philippians 1:17, and the second those mentioned in Philippians 1:15 b and Philippians 1:16, and also Philippians 1:14. It is incorrect to regard προφάσει=per occasionem (Vulg., Grotius). It is also incorrect to include under προφάσει those mentioned in Philippians 1:15 b, as if these also merely showed themselves pleased with the apostolic type of doctrine (Schenkel). Χριστὸς καταγγέλλεται in Philippians 1:17, sets forth what is common to the different witnesses.—And I therein do rejoice, καὶ ἐν τούτῳ χαίρω. For the construction see Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:4; Philippians 4:10; Colossians 1:24. The cause of his joy is that in every way Christ is proclaimed. The difference in the mode of proclamation cannot disturb his joy, though he must condemn the unworthy motives of his opponents. This joy is not merely a present, but an abiding one.—Yea, and I shall rejoice (ἀλλὰ καὶ χαιρήσομαι)—let the result of it as to himself be what it may. In like manner ἀλλά (Philippians 3:8) opposes the pres. ἡγοῦμαι to the perfect ἤγημαι. We supply mentally a negative clause—‘I do not merely at present rejoice.’ Hence we are not to insert a period after χαίρω, as in Lachmann’s N. T., see Winer’s Gram., p. 442. We are not to think here of its being less difficult for Paul to show a spirit of resignation or acquiescence because the danger at Rome did not concern his apostolic authority as in some other instances (Meyer); for joy and an elevated tone of mind pervade the entire letter, and the Roman church was an object of the Apostle’s special regard and solicitude, as the Epistle to the Romans testifies. Manifestly the teachers are not like those spoken of in Philippians 3:2 sq., nor are they Judaizers, or Jewish Christians, disinclined to the Pauline view of Christianity (Schenkel). They must have been inclined to Paul’s system of doctrine, and have approximated to it, but they were unfavorable to his mode of treatment, and unfriendly to his person. Their motives were corrupt (Philippians 2:21), and they were not sincere friends of the Apostle. [For Neander’s views on this question see note below.23]
Philippians 1:19.—For I know (οἶδα γάρ) emphasizes the declaration as to his joy.—That this shall result to me (ὅτι τοῦτο μοι�). The demonstrative (τοῦτο) refers to Philippians 1:18 (παντὶ τρόπῳ Χριστὸς καταγγέλεται), and explains why he rejoices, and not to θλῖψιν ἐγείρειν (Philippians 1:17), as Calvin, van Hengel and others think. The use of the verb is similar to that of ἐλήλυθεν in Philippians 1:12. [It explains why nothing hereafter can occur to rob him of this assurance and joy of which he speaks. He feels assured that the opposition of his enemies will be the means not only of advancing the cause of Christ (Philippians 1:18), but, as stated here, of exciting him to greater zeal and activity, and thus also indirectly of promoting his own spiritual welfare and ultimate salvation. The reference of τοῦτο to the opposition of Paul’s enemies (so also Lightfoot) is the most natural, both on account of the sequel, and because the statement that the preaching of Christ must advance the cause of Christ is too obvious to need a formal confirmation (γάρ).—H.]—Unto salvation (εἰς σωτηρίαν), like εἰς προκοπὴν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου in Philippians 1:12, with the meaning (comp. also Philippians 1:20), that in himself Christ and His gospel will be glorified and advanced. Hence it does not refer to his release from imprisonment (Chrysostom, et al.), to the preservation of his life (Oecumenius), to his victory over his enemies (Michaelis), ad salutem mulltorum hominum (Grotius), to salus vera et perennis (Van Hengel), or to his own salvation in a spiritual sense (Rheinwald). [Among others, Ellicott and Lightfoot adopt this last explanation. The pronoun (μοι) indicates a personal result, and the future of the verb shows it to be one not yet secured. This meaning, too, of σωτηρία is the prevailing one in Paul’s Epistles; comp. Philippians 1:28; Philippians 2:12; Romans 1:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13. See further on Philippians 1:20.—H.]—Through your prayer and assistance of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.—The way to this result (ἀποβήσεται) is, first, through (διά) the supplication of the Philippians (τῆς ὑμῶν δεήσεως), to which the Apostle attaches great value (Philemon 1:22; Romans 15:30-31; 2 Corinthians 1:11); secondly, through the assistance of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (καὶ ἐπιχορηγἰας τοῦ πνεύματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), which therefore the Holy Spirit affords, who is indeed the Spirit of Jesus Christ, directs His cause, and hence is designated as His Spirit. The genitive makes it unnecessary to repeat the article (τῆς), as also the close connection of the two substantives makes it unnecessary to repeat διά. On ἐπιχορηγία see Ephesians 4:16; comp. Romans 8:9-10; Galatians 4:6-7. Precationem in cœlum ascendentem, exhibitionem, de cœlo venientem (Bengel). Hence it is wrong to regard καί as epexegetical, and ἐπιχορηγία as the contents of δέησις (Meyer); nor can τοῦπνεύματος be shown to be gen. obj. from Galatians 3:5. [Yet the close connection of the nouns indicates that the gifts and guidance of the Spirit were among the favors for which they prayed in his behalf.—H.]
Philippians 1:20.—According to my earnest expectation and hope (κατὰ τὴν�). Having stated the end or result (εἰς σωτηρίαν), and the means (διὰ τῆς ὑμῶν δεήσεως), he now presents the measure (κατά) of the ἀποβήσεται. The first substantive (ἀποκαραδοκία, see Romans 8:19) denotes the soul’s subjective, intenser longing (ἀποκαραδοκέω, erecto capite specto); the second (ἐλπίς) the more objective, outward, ground or object of expectation.—The object of this longing and expectation is: That in nothing I shall be ashamed (ὅτι ἐν οὐδενἰ αἰσχυνθήσομαι). Ὄτι is declarative, not argumentative (Estius); for οἶδα γάρ brings forward the reason of his rejoicing. Αἰσχύνεσθαι=בּוֹשׁ (Psalms 34:4, 29; Romans 9:33; 2 Corinthians 10:8) is to become ashamed, to fail of one’s purpose, be disappointed. The meaning is not pudore confusus ab officio deflectam (Van Hengel), since, as Meyer well observes, it relates not so much to the conduct as to the fate of Paul. Still less does it refer to an ignominious issue of his trial. Ἐν οὐδενί excludes the being put to shame in any particular, as ἐν μηδενι in Philippians 1:28. It is incorrect to regard it as masculine, and to apply it to his opponents (Hölemann, Lightfoot), especially as the case is one not of individuals, but of parties.—But (ἀλλ’) joins the positive side to the negative.—That with all boldness as constantly, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body (ἐν πάσῃ παῤῥησίᾳ ὡς πάντοτε καὶ νῦν μεγαλυνθήσεται ὁ Χριστὸς ἐν τῷ σώματί μου). Ignominiam a sese removet; sibi parrhesiam, Christo ipsi gloriam tribuit (Bengel). In the person of the Apostle who is in bonds Christ is to be thus glorified. This positive statement shows fully what is meant by the preceding negative statement. Παῤῥησία is not=joyfulness, for see 1 John 2:28, where σχῶμεν παῤῥησίαν is opposed to καὶ μὴ αἰσχυνθῶμεν, as here. Ἐν πάσῃ corresponds to ἐν οὐδενί, and the μεγαλύνεσθαι of Christ in Paul’s person, to Paul’s αἰσχύνεσθαι designed and sought by his enemies. As formerly this had been done in many a difficult position, amid great obstacles, so also now in this severest crisis (καὶ νῦν) will Christ be glorified in him. He desires for himself what he entreats for the church (see Philippians 1:11). On μεγαλυνθήσεται comp. Luke 1:46; Acts 10:46. This exaltation of Christ is effected as much indeed through Paul’s activity and boldness (ἐν πάσῃ παρρησίᾳ), in word and deed, before individuals and crowds, friends and foes, as through his sufferings (hence ἐν τῷ σώματί μου instead of ἐν ἐμοί.) It is not, therefore, the παρρησία of the teachers (Philippians 1:15-18) (Hölemann), nor does the verb (contrary to usage) refer to the growth of Christ in Paul (Rilliet), which surely does not take place in Paul’s body. [He says ἐν τῷ σώματί μου, not ἐν ἐμοί, because he is thinking of the possibility of a violent death.—H.]—Both clauses: Whether by life or by death (εἴτε διὰ ζωῆς εἴτε διὰ θανάτου) are conditioned by ἐν τῷ σώματί μου. The meaning is, that whether he is to live or suffer death, the result will be for the glory of Christ. In the first case, by the Apostle’s activity; in the second, by his joyful death. In either case, his παῤῥησία or ‘boldness’ would be made manifest. [The manner, therefore, in which the Apostle’s trials, his perplexities and annoyances (τοῦτο, Philippians 1:19) might be made to conduce to his salvation (εἱς σωτηρίαν) is evident. If, on the one hand, they should discourage him and lead him to relax his efforts, and render him unfaithful, they would endanger his hopes and safety, or at all events dim the lustre of his crown of glory in the heavenly world. So, on the other hand, if, through the prayers of his friends and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, these same trials should be overruled (as he was confident they would be) so as to strengthen in him the graces of the Christian and excite him to greater fortitude and zeal as a preacher of the gospel, they would then render the fact of his salvation more certain, and in the measure of its fullness more complete and glorious. And it was not a vain confidence which the Apostle has expressed here. At a later period, on the eve of his actual martyrdom, he was enabled to exclaim: “I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-7).—H.]
Philippians 1:21. [The Apostle is uncertain whether in a personal point of view he should choose to live or to die (Philippians 1:21-24).—H.]—For to me to live (is) Christ, and to die (is) gain.—Ἐμοὶ γάρ introduces a confirmation of the thought that it is entirely the same to him whether Christ be glorified through his life and activity, or by his death; with others (hence ἐμοί at the beginning) it may indeed be different. Τὸ ζῆν, which is made more specific by ἐν σαρκί, Philippians 1:22, defines the nature of the preceding ζωή: this is Χριστός (predicate). Quidquid vivo (vita naturali), Christum vivo, Christi causam, dam vitam in mundo ago, meam esse censeo (Bengel). [Living consists only in union with and devotion to Christ: my whole being and activities are His. The context shows that Χριστός, besides the idea of union with Him, must also involve that of devotion to His service (Ellicott).—H.] Καὶ τὸ� imports: If the imprisonment end with my being condemned to death, even this as regards my person is also gain, as more fully explained in Philippians 1:23. Hence the inf. aorist is used to mark the simple fact, while ζῆν is a continuative present. It is incorrect to understand ζῆν of the spiritual life (Rilliett), or to make Χριστός the subject in the sense of preaching Christ, κέρδος the predicate, and τὸ ζῆν καὶ τὸ αποθανειν as accusative relations, tamen vita, quam in morte (Calvin, et al.). It is also wrong to make it parenthetic: His assurance that death will be gain will give him strength to die joyfully, and so he will glorify Christ (Meyer, et al.). [Since κέρδος is defined as σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι in Philippians 1:23, ‘the gain’ cannot be a result viewed simply as advantageous to the cause of Christ or the salvation of others.—H.]
Philippians 1:22. But if the living in the flesh, this (is) the fruit of my labor.—Εἰ δέ begins the comparison of two cases. Εἰ pre-supposes an undoubted fact, in opposition (δέ) to the last thought (τὸ�). Τὸ ζῆν is more fully defined by ἐν σαρκί, because there is a life out of the flesh which ἀποθανεὶν calls to mind. Τοῦτο rhetorically brings the two antecedent words together, and μοί, for me, is placed emphatically before the predicate without the copula (ἐστί): καρπδος ἔργου. In καρπός we have a parallel to κέρδος (Philippians 1:21), and τὸ ζῆν ἐν σαρκί is thus also a gain, a living, ever ripening fruit, the nature of which the genit. of apposition more closely defines, like flumen Rheni, virtus liberalitatis (Bengel), and comp. Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 6:14; Ephesians 6:16 f.; Colossians 2:21. See Winer’s Gram. p. 531. So that Paul ipsum opus pro fructu habet, alius ex opere fructum quærit (Bengel). Ἔργου is the Apostolic activity. It is wrong to regard εἰ=an (Beza) [whether (Lightfoot)]; τοῦτο ἔργου as the apodosis=this is fruit, etc. (Pelagius, Bengel, A. V.); καρπὸς ἔργου=operæ pretium (Grotius); or to suppose an aposiopesis: non repvgno, non ægre fero (Conr. Mueller, Rilliet). Hölemann translates against the contest and the language: If to live is a fruit, in the flesh, death is a fruit indeed. [Instead of ἔργου as genit. of apposition, we prefer that of origin or source: If the living in the flesh (εἰ, not hypothetical, but syllogistic=since it is, etc.) this (which simply repeats and emphasizes τὸ ζῆν) is (brings forth, secures) fruit, i.e., the salvation of men, from work (his continued Apostolic activity; comp. Php 2:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:13; 2 Timothy 4:5), also then, etc. (as in the next clause). With this modification the explanation of Dr. Braune as above agrees essentially with that of De Wette, Meyer, Ellicott, Alford, and many other interpreters.—H.]—Then also what (i.e., which of the two) I should choose I know not (καὶ τὸ αἱρήσομαι, οὐ γνωρίζω). To the supposition τὸ ζῆν—καρπός Paul now adds also or then (καί) the uncertainty of the choice to be made (οὐ γνωρίζω). For this use of καί comp. 2 Corinthians 2:2. It is not a Hebraistic form of the apodosis. [Tischendorf has correctly only a comma after ἔργου. In this concomitant use of καί, as we may term it, its proper force is not wholly lost. It implies that if one theory be true, then another will be true also: if the life be thus useful, the choice must also (καί) be difficult. See Ellicott in loc.—H.] On τί αἰρήσομαι, see Winer’s Gram. p. 229. It is a future with the force of the conjunctive, the two being closely related; and τί is for πότερον, as in Matthew 21:31. See Winer’s Gram. p. 169. The middle denotes the choosing for himself, with γνωρίζω=non definio mihi (Bengel). [In the first edition of his Commentary, Meyer renders ‘I am uncertain,’ but in the second and third editions he renders ‘I do not make known,’ ‘give no decision.’ The latter is the prevalent sense in the N. T.—H.]
Philippians 1:23. For I am in a strait betwixt the two (συνέχομαι δὲ ἐκ τῶν δύο).—The negative statement in οὐ γνωρίζω passes here to a positive statement in συνέχομαι, and the latter is made emphatic by its position and strengthened by δέ=rather. The verb means to be held together, to be pressed hard (2 Corinthians 5:14; Luke 8:45 (συνέχουσί σε καὶ�), Phil 12:50), and is followed by the instrumental dative (Matthew 4:24; Luke 4:38; Luke 8:37; Acts 18:5; Acts 28:8). Here the preposition with the genitive (ἔκ τῶν δύο) marks the origin or source of his perplexity about the two conditions, i.e., ζῆν and ἀποθανεῖν already mentioned. The sense of the verb (see above) is manifest from Philippians 1:24. It cannot refer to outward affliction or anxiety.—Having the desire to depart (τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων εἰς τὸ�).—Paul is in a strait or perplexity, since for himself he prefers death to life. The article marks the desire as the one which Paul feels, not one already mentioned (Hölemann), which is not the case. The prep, εἰς points out the direction; whereas the genit. τοῦ would represent death as the object of his desire. Paul is not wearied of life, but his thoughts pass beyond death as a transition, and fix upon that which is to follow. Death is conceived of under a similar figure, viz., that of a journey (Matthew 26:24, ὑπάγειν), that of a voyage (2 Timothy 4:6, solvere ancoram), and also without a figure, as decedere (Luke 12:36, Bengel).—And to be with Christ—καὶ σὺν Χριστῷ εἰναι,—Comp. 2 Corinthians 5:8 (ἐνδημῆσαι πρὸς κύριον); Hebrews 12:22-23; Acts 7:59. The departure (ἀναλῦσαι) brings him into this higher life of fellowship with Christ. There is no thought here of an intermediate state.—Which is far better—πολλῷ γὰρ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον.—The accumulation of comparatives (2 Corinthians 7:13; Mark 7:36) indicates the strength of his desire. Winer’s Gram. p. 240.
Philippians 1:24. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you—Τὸ ἐπιμένειν δέ stands opposed to ἀναλῦσαι. Ἐν τῇ σαρκί has the article here in the correct text (not ἐν σαρκι, as in Philippians 1:22); hence in his flesh as it now is. This remaining is more necessary (ἀναγκαιότερον) as distinguished from his departing (ἀναλῦσαι), which is better (κρεῖσσον), as far as relates to his own preference. But here a calm survey and consideration of the circumstances, a regard for the welfare of others, beloved ones, among whom are to be named especially those to whom he writes (διʼ ὑμᾶς), decide the question. His Apostolic calling and his service to the church, which are of far greater importance to him than his own heart’s desire, control his decision. It is incorrect to explain ἀναγκαιότερον=præstat (Heinrichs), as “too necessary” (Van Hengel), or to consider the glory of Christ as the ground of his wish to live longer (Calvin).
Philippians 1:25. And having this confidence I know (καὶ τοῦτο πεποιθὼς οἶδα). Τοῦτο points back to ἀναγκαιότερον, and indicates the ground of his confidence, and the perf. part. marks this confidence as one which he has had, and still entertains. We are not to join τοῦτο with οἶδα (Erasmus, et al.) or to explain this last as probabiliter sperare (Beza, Van Henghel, Rilliet). Comp. Philem. Philippians 1:22. Though uncertain as to what he ought to choose for himself, yet he is quite sure that he will remain.—That I shall abide and continue with you all.—Ὅτι μενῶ is the opposite of ἀναλῦσαι. On μένειν comp. 1 Corinthians 15:6; John 21:22, 26. It is more fully explained by καὶ συμπαραμενῶ πᾶσιν ὑμῖν. Παραμένειν is to remain here, while σύν adds the idea of association with others (πᾶσιν ὑμῖν). This fellowship helps him to give up the more desired ἀναλῦσαι, especially as his remaining has its consequence and fruit, as well as the being with Christ (σὺν Χριστῷ).—For your furtherance and joy of faith.—This is explanatory of διʼ ὑμᾶς (Philippians 1:24). Εἰς states the purpose of Paul’s remaining; it is twofold: their furtherance in the faith, and their joy in the faith, τὴν ὑμῶν προκοπὴν καὶ Χαρὰν τῆς πίστεως. This is Paul’s life—to preach Christ and to strengthen the faith of others. On προκοπή see Philippians 1:12; 1 Timothy 4:15. Nothing is here said of a favorable termination of his imprisonment (Beza). It is also incorrect to assume a hendiadys: in incrementum gaudii vestri, quod ob agnitum evangelium accepistis (Heinrichs); or to understand it of Paul’s joy on account of the faith of the Philippians (Erasmus), or to connect τῆς πίστεως only with χαράν (Van Hengel); for in this case the pronoun would need to be repeated with πίστεως.
Philippians 1:26. That your rejoicing may be more abundant.—Ἵνα states the final purpose of the subordinate one, expressed by εἰς; comp. Philippians 1:9-11. Τὸ καύχημα ὑμῶν is significatio gaudii, affectus gaudii pleni (Bengel), glorying, as 1 Corinthians 5:6. It is the natural result of the increase and joy of their faith (τὴν ὑμῶν προκοπὴν καὶ χαρὰν τῆς πίστεως), but it is not the object of them. Hence καύχημα is not materies gloriandi (Meyer), nor is it boasting against Judaizing teachers (Flatt), or Paul’s glorying (Chrysostom). But this glorying, as well as faith, is to increase (περισσεύῃ) in Christ Jesus (ἐν Χριστῶ Ἰησοῦ) as its sphere.—In me (ἐν ἐμοί) points to the Apostle’s person and activity as the outward sphere of this glorying which admits of increase in Christ. Neither ἐν Χριστῶ (Calvin), nor ἐν ἐμοί (Flatt), belongs to καύημα. The idea expressed by iv ἐν ἐμοί is rendered still more definite by the statement of the means.—Through my return to you (διὰ τῆς ἐμῆς παρουσίας πάλιν πρὸς ὑμᾶς)—by which the faith of the Philippians shall be confirmed and their joy be increased. On πάλιν, which has here the force of an adjective, see 2 Corinthians 11:23. Paul is thinking of his release from imprisonment; but no safe conclusion can be drawn from this as to the fulfilment of this expectation.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The evil and sorrow of the world, as imprisonment, and death, become a trial, a cross, on which hang victory and a glorious issue, only then, when he who experiences them can say: “For me to live is Christ” (ἐμοὶ τὸ ζῆν Χριστός). Not the sorrow which men experience makes a bearer of the cross, with its power of attraction, the sign in which we conquer; but the Christian’s disposition and behaviour in sorrow make the sorrow a cross. In this consists the true value of martyrdom, and not in the fact alone of suffering and dying. Like the cross of Christ, it must also be a necessity, imposed by the Father, from which we can withdraw only by a violation of conscience, and a refusal to deny self, and to seek our own and our neighbor’s edification. See Harless, Ethik, § 39.
2. The Christian shows himself, in calamity, to be one who is not overpowered, vexed, swept away by sorrow, or engulfed by it, like one who toilsomely wades through deep water, but he compels it to yield him strength and joy, like the stars of heaven in the night, after he has conquered it and made it his attendant. He is not the object of weak compassion and pity, but of admiration and love, like a conquering hero. He is like a praying one who speaks to God; and as one to whom God speaks, is an object almost of religious veneration.
3. The blessing of the cross is seen in three respects—a) The suffering soul becomes free, more joyful, riper, stronger (Philippians 1:19, εἰς σωτηρίαν, comp. 12, 18, 20, 21 sq.), since it becomes more closely united to the Lord, purified from what is earthly and mortal, more intimate with the Eternal Will, and more joyful in it. b) Men on every side, Christians (Philippians 1:14), as well as heathen, even Prætorians (Philippians 1:13; Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47), are improved and benefited; for the glory of the peaceful fruit of righteousness becomes better and better known, and the deep need of its possession is felt in the hearts of men. c) The gospel secures for itself a recognition of its true character by preaching, which brings to view the person and his history (Philippians 1:12; Philippians 1:20), for thus the adaptation of the gospel to the hearts and lives of men is seen and confessed.
4. Death, which, like imprisonment and the world’s enmity, is an evil, becomes in the Apostle’s view an insignificant event, which closes indeed the life upon earth, but changes not the essence, the life of the soul, only the place and form of its existence (Philippians 1:21, ἀποθανεῖν; Philippians 1:23, ἀναλῦσαι). To experience it is no merit, but to conquer it by faith and patience is a grace. Death leads the faithful from the misery of imprisonment to be more completely with Christ. In what way we pass through death into fellowship with Christ, is not said; and still less is there any indication here of an intermediate state. This agrees with the word of the Lord to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43), and with the teaching of the parable of the rich man (Luke 16:23), and still more significantly with the efficacy of Christ’s death and resurrection in regard to the relations of life and death, in heaven and on earth (1 Corinthians 5:1; Ephesians 4:8; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:8; Acts 7:58).
5. [Unless Paul believed that the death which released him from the trials of this life was to introduce him at once to the presence of Christ and a state of blessedness, we see no adequate reason for the struggle between his desire to depart and be with Christ, and his anxiety to labor still for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom on earth. If he believed that he was to remain for an indefinite time without consciousness in the grave, his zeal for men’s salvation and his contempt of personal dangers and trials in the pursuit of that object, would lead him to desire to live as long as possible, on account of the importance of his ministry to mankind. On the other hand, if we suppose him to have regarded his attainment of the joys and rewards of heaven as simultaneous with his departure from this world, we have then an adequate explanation of his perplexity (Philippians 1:21-24). For other passages which seem to involve the same doctrine, see Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6-7; and Revelation 6:9.—H.]
6. The substance of Christian preaching is the person of Christ (Philippians 1:15; Philippians 1:17-18), as the exaltation of His person is the end of Christian life (Philippians 1:20). This should be the preacher’s testimony, his proclamation.
7. The difference in the teaching here consists not so much in the difference of the doctrine of Christ, as in the difference of disposition of the teachers towards Paul (Philippians 1:15-18). The agreement in their teaching, which could scarcely fail to admit of certain variations, is of more account to him than their hostility to him. So much the more magnanimous is his joy in the doctrine which they hold in common.
8. That church fellowship (τὸ καύχημα ὑμῶν περισσεύῃ ἐν Χριστῷ Ιησοῦ) should promote Christian fellowship is exemplified in the intercourse of Paul and the Philippians (ἐν εμοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐμῆς παρουσίας πάλιν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, Philippians 1:26). It is important to observe and maintain this connection.
9. The minister of Christ is helped and served in two ways—(a) by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ; and (b) by the supplications of the church: thus from above and from below. He needs the supplications of the church of Christ not less than the church needs his testimony. The protection of praying hands is no insignificant one.
10. Observe the moral greatness of the Apostle! In the constraint of a prison, in the face of death, amid the enmities of some of his associates, he exults for joy in his fellowship with Christ, and allows it to suffer no abatement on account of an error. He hopes to be able to return again to the Philippians, free from his bonds (Philippians 1:26), as shortly before he had expressed a similar hope to Philemon (Philem. Philippians 1:22). This hope indeed he afterwards gave up (2 Timothy 4:6), and four years before this had declared that he should not see again the Ephesians (Acts 20:22-25). In this uncertainty his official gift remains intact, which, as a prophetical endowment, has to do with God’s word, not with times and seasons (Acts 1:7). He does not, however, declare definitely (Philippians 1:27) that he will come, but leaves it to God’s disposal.24
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
For ministers, three teachings: 1) See that thou overcomest sorrow, and that thou art not overcome by it; 2) that Christ is praised thereby: 3) that the church by this very thing is advanced and built up in the faith.—Rejoice without envy in the preaching of thy worthy official brother. The word of God and the preaching of Christ should be to thee of too much value and importance to allow an unfriendly disposition to mortify or vex thee.—For the church, three teachings: 1) Take not offence at the greatness of the evil in the world, especially of the violent enmity which befalls thy pastor, but follow his deportment in the case; 2) persist in hearty supplication for him; 3) aid him full of confidence with thy testimony.—Only one thing must be regarded: that Christ alone, the Saviour of the world, be preached. Thou art not to judge the disposition of the preacher, but only the correctness of his preaching.—In general: Persecution or, at the utmost, death, is the greatest evil which the world can inflict upon the Christian, but this effects for him what launching does for a ship:—it brings him into his proper element. As the ship is thus sent forth upon the ocean for which it is designed, so is the Christian by this means brought to heaven, which is his home. To die, is but to come to our inheritance, if Christ is our life. From Him comes the unselfish love of life for others sake, which is at once a joy in life and a joy in death, so that from our joy in death there comes no death to our joy. It is unchristian for one to wish for death because he is weary of life, or cowardly to fear death; and worse still are they who desire death while they fear it. Evil does not make us holy, death does not make us happy. Man does not become happy by dying, but the Christian dies, being happy.
Ignatius:—Let me become the prey of wild beasts, that God may become my possession. I am God’s wheat; the teeth of the wild beasts will grind me so that I may become the purified bread of God. I shall become a true disciple of Jesus Christ when the world no longer sees my body. The iron and the cross, the breaking of the legs, the raging of the wild beasts, the mangling of the limbs, and the bruising of the body—all these diabolical torments may be exercised upon me if I but win Jesus Christ.
Starke:—If God will make His children known, even His greatest enemies must lend their aid. Let God rule, and follow His leading.—Short but beautiful confession: Christ is our life in creation, in redemption, in regeneration, in the resurrection.
Rieger:—For those in communion with God, in enjoyment of the life of Christ, dying is not the end; the soul’s life from that point is before it, not behind (see Philippians 1:21).
Schleiermacher:—The distressed and suffering man, be the cause of his suffering and distress what it may, attracts the earnest and anxious attention of men to himself more than all the royalty in the world. The way in which he bears his cross, the way in which he accepts his need and distress in his heavenly calling, excite the sympathy of men. If now we are all cross-bearers of our Lord, and if no one here below escapes from sorrows, then there is opened to us here at once a way in which we all, each according to his ability, may contribute to the advancement of the gospel, by bearing the troubles and adversities which the Lord sends, with patience and resignation to His will, with hope and trust in His imperishable work, with confidence and joyfulness of heart in His all-sufficient wisdom, in order that men may be thereby impelled to acknowledge and praise our heavenly Father.—Boldness on the one hand and faint-heartedness on the other, have, as it were, a diffusive and contagious power among men.—The troubles of this life will result in our highest good if we love God.—Above all things this is meet: 1) that we recognize the rough ways in which the Lord leads us as His ways, and acquiesce with our whole heart in His guidance; 2) that at the same time we look more to the internal than to the external; 3) the apostle adds, that it will turn to his salvation through the prayer of the church and through the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ, which comes to him from the church.—This is the true happiness of the Christian, to which we should all aspire, that the longing for the greater glory which is reserved for us, shall never become so strong as to check or weaken our usefulness in the calling to which God has appointed us here on the earth.—If now we see the vineyard of the Lord so divided that to each one a task therein has been assigned, what else can we say in view of its present condition but that the vineyard is far from being wholly cultivated?—We must say then that all Christians, in whom the fear of death has been destroyed by a living and blessed fellowship with the Redeemer who has taken away the power of death, are able to withstand more firmly the assaults of earthly evil, and that their love for the perishable things of the world and enjoyment in them constantly diminish. The more this actually takes place, the more does there arise in them, even here upon earth, a higher love, a love for the Redeemer and His heavenly kingdom, in the strength of which they can regard themselves as servants of the Lord, as laborers in His vineyard, whose constantly renewed wish is, to bring forth fruit for Him unto whom all fruit belongs, as a reward for His sorrows and as a glorification of His victory.
Heubner:—Man often comes for the first time to know his strength when he is in misfortune.—When a friend of the truth is bound, ten others arise in his place.—The very best deeds may be done from impure motives; even Christ may be preached from ambition.—Spiritual envy and pride creep in even among preachers of the gospel, and incite them to a false and envious emulation.—When the friends of the truth are imprisoned, we ought to undertake their task, and to make good their places, that the good work may suffer no hindrance. The kindest service which can be rendered to noble martyrs in bonds, is to interest one’s self in their cause, not in their person. The work is of more importance than the instrument.—The Christian commits himself wholly to God, and ought with reference to life and death to be absolutely resigned to His will. If he hopes in any respect to be useful to others, then he remains here even gladly.—Whitefield once asked Tennant, a preacher who was his friend, whether the thought that he might soon be called home, gave him joy. Tennant replied: “I have no desire about it; my death does not concern me, my duty is to live as long as I can, as well as I can, and to serve my Master as faithfully as I can, until He calls me away. If I had sent my servant to plough, and should afterwards find him asleep, and he should say to me: ‘Alas, the sun is so hot, let me go to the house!’ might I not say to him, ‘thou sluggard!’ ?”
Passavant:—In steadfastness of faith the man of God holds fast joy in the faith. How little inclined we are by nature to leave this world for another better world in order to be with God, every candid mind willingly confesses to itself, and this fact holds up before us the clear mirror of our natural life, and shows us how far estranged we are from God, from His love, and the blessed life which is in Him.
Nitzsch:—How gloriously do desire for death and love of life unite in the Christian’s mind! 1) The Christian shows by his faith that in death he loses nothing of that in and for which he here lives, but gains it. 2) Though it is better for him to be with Christ, yet it seems more necessary to remain in the flesh and bring forth fruit. 3) Whatever contradiction remains in his desires, he leaves God to settle, and will not choose or decide for himself.
[Rev. J. Trapp:—Two things make a good Christian, good actions and good aims. Though a good aim doth not make a bad action good, as we see in Uzzah, yet a bad aim makes a good action bad, as in these preachers (see Philippians 1:15).—St. Paul stood, as it were, on tiptoes (ἀποκαραδοκία), to see which way he might best glorify God, by life or death (ver, 20).—Far, far the better (πολλῷ μᾶλλον κρεὶσσον, Philippians 1:23), a transcendent expression, like Paul’s καθ’ ὑπερβολὴν εἰς ὑπερβολήν, 2 Corinthians 4:17.—H.]
[Robert Hall:—Paul was so intent upon the advancement of truth, that he overlooked the malignity of the intention in the success of the cause. It is thus, my brethren, that religion lifts us above self-love and party-strife, and leads us to rejoice in every opening prospect of prosperity, and of good to others, in all public events and in every denomination (see Philippians 1:15).—We see that with all his attainments the apostle was not lifted above them when he says, “by your prayers” (Philippians 1:19). How much have we need to say, “Brethren, pray for us.” The prayer of the obscurest Christian may procure and infuse among us the Spirit of God beyond what we could wish ourselves; for with Him all distinctions are lost but piety and necessity.—“To be with Christ,” was the apostle’s view of the heavenly world (Philippians 1:23). Ho knew that Jesus Christ had promised that where He was there also His servants should be (John 17:24). He values the friendship of Christ above all the world,—to be found in His image and to be with Him, he can conceive of nothing higher.—If your attachment to this world be great, it must be cured by giving yourselves up more entirely to your Lord and Master.—H.]
Philippians 1:13; Philippians 1:13.—[Our English version assumes that ἐν ὅλῳ πραιτωρίῳ refers to the palace of the emperor at Rome. But there is no adequate proof that this Greek term ever designated the imperial palace in that city. The majority of the best interpreters discard that view. See notes below.—H.]
Philippians 1:16-17; Philippians 1:16-17 are so arranged in א A B, et al. A few copies have them inverted, as in Luther’s version, evidently to conform with Philippians 1:15. [The A. V. transposes the verses in accordance with the received Greek text. The object of the transposition was to introduce the subjects of the verbs in Philippians 1:16-17 in the order in which they occur in Philippians 1:15; whereas in the text the subject last mentioned is taken up first.—H.]
Philippians 1:17; Philippians 1:17.—[“Other” occurs here in the A. V. (as in Jos 8:22; 2 Chronicles 32:22; Job 24:24) in the plural by an old usage for “others.” The form has been silently changed in some later editions.—H.]
Ibid.—Ἐγείρειν is found in א A B, et al; ἐπιφέρειν is a gloss, with very slight support.
Philippians 1:18; Philippians 1:18.—Πλήν, D E K L, πλὴν ὅτι א, ὅτι B. These last have arisen from the first. [Lightfoot regards πλὴν ὅτι as more probably correct. Some texts have πλήν alone, others ὅτι alone; both which readings appear like attempts to smooth the construction.—R]
Philippians 1:23; Philippians 1:23.—Δέ is found in א and the majority of MSS.; γάρ has but slight support. [It is found in some of the best MSS., and “yet a reading, which comes to the relief of a disjointed syntax, must be regarded with suspicion” (Lightfoot). Meyer regards δέ as the true reading.—H.]
[In regard to the passage referred to, it should be said that the words “the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: hut—” in the A. V. (Acts 28:16) are probably the translation of a later addition to the Greek text. See Mr. Abbot’s note in Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Vol. I., p. 384 (Amer. ed.). At the same time the words state correctly what was unquestionably true in regard to the Roman usage of committing prisoners like Paul to the care of the Prætorian prefect or commander of the Prætorian camp. (See Pliny’s Epist. X. 65). The reference therefore to Acts 27:26 is still pertinent, though not so decisive as if the words were genuine. The false rendering of ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ πραιτωρίῳ by “in all the palace” (A. V.) destroys the interesting connection between the Epistle here and that passage. See above on the text.—H.]
[Neander’s views respecting the character and object of those at Rome to whom Paul refers as seeking by their preaching to add affliction to his bonds, deserve to be considered here.—“Are we to suppose that these men, without personal love to the gospel, without personal conviction of its truth, preached Christ for no other reason than to add to the hardship of Paul’s situation, and to bring him into greater danger by the wider extension of the gospel at Rome—thus rendering him, as the origin of it all, more obnoxious to the Roman civil power? It appears at once how unnatural and intrinsically improbable is such a supposition. If they would thus bring Paul into greater peril, they would by so doing plunge themselves into equal danger. Can it he imagined that one would play so hazardous a game, simply from hatred to another? He who at that time did not himself believe in the gospel, must be enlisted against it; and would certainly not have given himself up to the business of preaching it merely as the means to another end. We must seek, then, another explanation of this difficulty. When it is said of an individual that he preaches the gospel only in appearance, this need not be understood as necessarily meaning that he has no concern whatever in regard to the subject of his preaching; that he has no personal interest in it, no conviction of its truth, that he makes use of it only as a means to another end. It may mean that he preaches it, not in its purity and completeness, but as an adulterated, mutilated gospel. And when, moreover, he says of such that they were actuated by party zeal and hatred against him, desiring to add new affliction to his sufferings, it is not necessary to understand by this that their witness for the gospel was mere pretence, a form of hypocrisy to which the circumstances of the time afforded no occasion and no ground; but that their ruling motive in preaching was not from love of the Lord; that it was their aim, consciously or unconsciously to themselves, by their manner of preaching, to give offence to Paul, and to raise up for themselves a party against him. … We know that Paul had to contend with opposers, to whom all that has been here said is applicable. There were those who did acknowledge and preach Jesus as the Messiah, but a Messiah in the Jewish sense; who acknowledged Him, not as that which He has revealed Himself to be, the only ground of salvation for man; who, in connection with the one article of faith, that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, still adhered to the Jewish legal position; who understood nothing of the new creation of which Christ was the author, and to whom faith in Jesus as the Messiah was only a new patch upon the old garment of Judaism. These were the opposers, with whom we so often find Paul contending in his Epistles. Of such he might justly say, that they preached the gospel not purely and sincerely, but only in appearance; for indeed they were far more concerned for Judaism than for Christianity, and their converts became Jews rather than Christians. Of such he might also say that they sought to form a party against him, and to add affliction to his bonds; for those persons every where seem chiefly animated by jealousy of Paul, through whom the gospel was preached to the heathen world as freed from all dependence upon Judaism, and standing upon its own foundation. They oppose themselves to him on all occasions, contest his apostolic dignity, seek to encroach on his sphere of labor, to draw over the people from him to themselves, from that pure and complete gospel to their own mutilated one. And it need not surprise us to meet such even in Rome; for Paul’s Epistle to the church at Rome, written some years previous to his imprisonment there, shows us in this church, consisting chiefly of Gentile converts, a small party of such Judaizing Christians who were in conflict with the rest. It was a matter of course then, that when the pure gospel in the sense of Paul was preached by the one party, the other, provoked to rivalry, should rise up in opposition and seek to give currency to their own corrupted form of the gospel.” (Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, translated by Mrs. H. C. Conant, N. Y., 1851.)—H.]
[If Paul was imprisoned twice at Rome (as is almost certain), he could easily have fulfilled this hope of seeing again both the Philippians and Philemon, in the interval between his first and his second captivity. See Commentary on Philemon (Lange’s Series), pp. 6, 23.—H.]
The Lord’s Example and Pattern for the Observance of the Church
Philippians 1:27 to Philippians 2:18
(1) A true Christian deportment the condition of the Apostle’s joy in the Church (Philippians 1:27-30)
Characteristics of a Christian walk (Philippians 1:27-28 a); and the incentives to such a walk (Philippians 1:28 b, Philippians 1:30)
27Only let your conversation [deportment] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you or (else) be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28and in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which Isaiah 25:0 to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29For unto you it is [was] given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake [in his behalf]; 30having the same conflict which ye saw26 in me and now hear to be in me.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Philippians 1:27. Only let your deportment be as it becometh the gospel of Christ. Μόνον in this emphatic position marks the true Christian walk as the sole, indispensable condition of Paul’s joy, when he should come to them, as the connection with Philippians 1:24-26 shows. (Galatians 2:10; Galatians 5:13). Bengel: hoc unum curate, nil aliud. But this one requisition contains within itself manifold other requisitions. The verb here (πολιτεύεσθε) is taken from political life. The church at Philippi forms a part of the kingdom of God, of which they should prove themselves citizens. Paul uses the word elsewhere only in Acts 23:1 (πεπολίτευμαι), in his speech before the Jewish Council, where in the presence of the civil rulers he feels himself to be but a member of the common body politic. Περιπατεῖν refers more to individual life; this verb to church-life, corresponding to πάντες (Philippians 1:4; Philippians 1:7-8). The fundamental law of this kingdom is denoted by τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τοῦ Χριστοῦ, and the corresponding deportment by ἀξίως. (Colossians 1:10 : ἀξίως τοῦ κυρίου; Ephesians 4:1 : ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως).—That (ἵνα) states the aim or object of his exhortation, agreeably to the context (Philippians 1:26).—Whether I come and see you or be absent (εἵτε ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ὑμᾶς, εἴτε�). He thus leaves it uncertain how it may be, but in accordance with his hopeful desire, puts the supposition of his coming first. In both cases he presupposes his release, which might indeed lead him not to Philippi, but elsewhere.—I may hear (ἀκούσω), includes both cases, i.e., either from their own mouth, or from others (Meyer). Bengel: audiam et cognoscam. The object is: your affairs (τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν), and this as more fully explained: that ye stand fast in one spirit (ὅτι στήκετε ἐν ἐνὶ πνεύματι), which is the subject of Paul’s great anxiety. Comp. οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, Luke 4:34; Luke 19:3; Mark 1:24. See Winer’s Gramm. p. 626. Hölemann incorrectly joins ἵνα with στήκετε, as if it were ἀκούσας, and ὅτι simply repeated ἵνα. The construction would be confused, harsh (hiulca, Calvin terms it), and the participles would be nominative absolute. The verb (Php 4:1; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Galatians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:15) means to keep one’s ground in battle. What is meant evidently is that the Philippians should cherish a spirit of unity among themselves, as in 1 Corinthians 4:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 3:4. It is presupposed that this harmony, which is to be an object of such earnest endeavor, is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:3-4), but the Holy Spirit is not directly intended (Van Hengel).—With one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel (μιᾶ ψυχῇ συναθλοῦντες τῇ πίστει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου. This explains more fully στήκετε ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι. Here we evidently have to do with a struggle in which the main object is unity, and hence μιᾷ ψυχῇ stands with emphasis at the beginning. The πνεῦμα which is in the ψυχή, is that part of our nature which is the sphere ἐν) of the unity. The dative ψυχῄ is the instrumental dative. The substantive ψυχή denotes that part of our being which is connected above with πνεῦμα and below with σάρξ, and constitutes the centre of man’s peculiar personality,—individuality. Hence, μιᾷ ψυχῇ presents their outward manifestation.—Comp. Philippians 2:2; Acts 4:32, (Delitzsch, Psychologie, p. 199. ff.). Repellent peculiarities may exist even where there is an agreement in principle. Bengel: est interdum inter sanctos naturalis aliqua antipathia. The dative τῇ πίστει, for the faith, presents the object of the struggle, which the genitive τοῦ εὐαγγελίου renders more precise, and so guards it from any arbitrary misconception of friends or foes. The preposition in συναθλοῦντες refers to this co-operation of the Philippians with Paul (Colossians 2:1; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). Comp. Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:30; Philippians 4:3, where μοί indicates what is here sufficiently plain from the connection. It is incorrect to limit σύν only to the unity of the Philippians among themselves (Wiesinger), which μιᾷ ψυχῇ after ἐν ἑνὶ πνειύματι has already pointed out, or to exclude this reference (Meyer), or to make σύν govern πίστει (Grotius). Τῇ πίστει is not an instrumental dative (Calvin, et al.), nor should μιᾷ ψυχῇ be connected with στήκετε (Chrysostom, Luther).
Philippians 1:28. And in nothing terrified (μὴ πτυρόμενοι ἐν μηδενί). Καί adds another concomitant of στήκετε. The verb (properly used of horses in the race) means to turn about, to start, spring aside. Comp. Php 1:20; 2 Corinthians 6:3.—By your adversaries (ὑπὸ τῶν�) gives the cause of this agitation or panic. We are to understand this of their personal enemies (comp. Philippians 1:30), unchristian opposers of the gospel, especially among the Jews, but also among the heathen (Philippians 1:30, etc.; Acts 16:11 sq.; Acts 17:5 sq).—The Apostle proceeds to enforce his exhortation by appropriate motives, Acts 28:6-30.—Which to them is an evident token of perdition (ἥτις ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς ἔνδειξις�). The argumentative ἥτις = since it is (Ephesians 3:13), in sense points back to the thought that the church does not allow itself to be terrified, but grammatically connects itself by a familiar attraction with ἔνδειξις (1 Timothy 3:15). See Winer’s Gramm., p. 627. The emphatic position of ἐστίν shows that even if they (οἱ�) do not perceive it, or in their excitement do not acknowledge it, yet the fact that the church is unterrified is an evidence (comp. Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 8:24) of their destruction, of their exclusion from the blessed kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). Comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.—But to you of salvation (ύμῖν δὲ σωτηρίας). Comp. Rom 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12. For the reading see on the text. That which should awaken the fears of others with regard to their final destiny, even if it does not, is to believers a pledge of salvation.—And that of God. Καὶ τοῦτο refers equally to both clauses; for the disquietude of the adversaries before the bar of conscience, and the calmness of believers, alike come from God (ἀπὸ θεοῦ). Punishment and consolation are both from Him! To limit τοῦτο in the second member (Calvin, et al.), to understand it of humility (Hölemann), or to connect it with what follows (Rilliet), is incorrect.
Philippians 1:29. For unto you it was given (ὅτι ὑμῖν ἐχαρίσθη) confirms the statement in Philippians 1:28, the last words of which (ἀπὸ θεοῦ) led the Apostle to adopt the passive form here. It is just you who are struggling and suffering together, to whom this grace [or undeserved favor] has been granted by God. Hence ὑμὶν has the emphatic position. Bengel emphasizes the verb (gratiæ munus signum salutis), but without reason, while Meyer limits the confirmation to τοῦτο�.—In the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf (τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, οὐ μόνον τὸ εἰς αὐτὸν πιστεύειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πάσχειν). This clause forms the subject of ἐχαρίσθη. At first τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ πάσχειν was the thought in Paul’s mind (which expresses positively what is stated negatively in μὴ πτυρόμενοι); but the condition under which the suffering leads to salvation (σωτηρία) occurs to the writer’s mind, and he interpolates the clause οὐ μόνον …. πιστεύειν in the middle of the sentence, but afterwards resumes his first thought in τὸ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ. The faith which works such steadfast endurance of suffering clearly proves that both are from God. To Τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ is not = what concerns Christ (Beza, et al.).
Philippians 1:30. Having the same conflict (τὸν αὐτὸν�) presents the characteristic of this suffering, the participle agreeing with the subject understood with πάσχειν, as in Ephesians 4:2; Ephesians 3:17-18; and Colossians 3:10. See Winer’s Gramm., p. 572. It should not be connected with στήκετε (Bengel), or be referred back to ὑμῖν for its subject (Meyer).—Τὸν αὐτόν is explained by what follows: Which ye saw in me and now hear to be in me (οἷον εἴδετε ἐν ἐμοὶ καὶ νῦν�). He refers in the first verb to his sojourn at Philippi (Acts 16:12-16 sq.), and in νῦν άκούετε to the information contained in the present letter (which would be read before them) and to that furnished by the report of Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:28). Ἐν ἐμοι, in me, in both instances refers to a conflict which Paul suffers, to persecutions directed against himself. The Philippians also endured the same; and it is the kind of conflict which is the same in each case. The likeness does not consist merely in the similar ground of the conflict, that is in the faith for which they suffer (Meyer). The second ἐν ἐμοί is not =de me (Vulg., Erasmus, et al.), nor is allusion made here to false teachers (Heinrichs).
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. A right deportment of the Christian is the one thing which the Apostle demands of each member of the church. It is only this one thing, because this embraces all that belongs to the special circumstances, positions, and relations of life; just this alone, because it is the deportment of a citizen of the kingdom of God, including the relations of each one with every other, and finds its rule in the fundamental law of the people of God, the Gospel of Christ, to which it must correspond (Philippians 1:27).
2. Four points here deserve especial attention, (a) The calling of the Christian is that of a warrior who retreats not; (b) It requires him to hold together and to agree together with the church; (c) It requires him to keep ever in view the object of the contest, his faith; and (d) It secures to him, in all outward afflictions, true soul-peace. In the first respect, it is not something to be won, but is a prize which having been won, the Christian is to defend; not salvation to be gained, but a possession to be kept. In the second respect, it is unity with the Apostle and with each member of the church, in the direction and impulse of the Spirit, in opposition to unchristian opponents. But the individual peculiarities of temperament, education, etc., are not to be made an occasion for separation. In the third respect, it is the holding fast of the faith which is according to the gospel; and in the fourth respect, it is the keeping watch over the soul in order that by looking to the example of the Apostle and of the Lord Himself, we may be kept from fear and despair by reason of the adversaries.
3. The intrepidity of the Christian amid the enmities of unchristian opponents, is as certainly an evidence to him of fellowship with God, as it is for them a proof that they should and may learn therein their exposure to final destruction (Philippians 1:28).
4. He who believes in Christ must regard it as a grace of God that he is permitted to suffer for Him (Philippians 1:29).
HOMILETIC AND PRACTICAL
Compare the Doctrinal and Ethical remarks.
Starke:—Brief epitome of the whole of Christianity: faith, love, patience.
Rieger:—Although we must suffer and struggle together for the gospel, yet we often become thereby more completely linked, together. Since the disposition to yield to fear is planted so deeply in our nature, it becomes a part of the renewal of our souls into the image of God, to obtain again a steadfast courage to adhere to the right.
Schleiermacher:—Fearlessness with respect to all adversaries of the kingdom of God and all their efforts against it, must be peculiar to the Christian; for it has no other basis or other measure in him than his faith in the Redeemer and his love for Him and for His holy cause.
Heubner:—To believe in Christ is to make common cause with Him, hence also to suffer with Him.
Passavant:—Whenever Christians fall out with one another, it happens for the most part because they are unwilling to surrender their own self-will to the control of the one Spirit of the Lord, or to merge their individuality in His sovereignty.
[Robert Hall:—“Nothing terrified by your adversaries” (Philippians 1:28). Having Jesus Christ present with the Father, as an advocate, what was there to terrify them? They knew that He was at the head of all—principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, being made subject to Him. That Christian, my brethren, who views Jesus Christ as the Lord of men, of angels, and of glory, how firm and undaunted may he look around him, and consider kings and princes but as common dust; for they must submit themselves to His authority or perish. See Psalms 2:10-12.—H.]
Philippians 1:28; Philippians 1:28.—[The received text has μέν before ἐστιν, interpolated to respond to δέ in the next clause; and probably for a similar reason ὑμῶν was changed to ἡμῖν (Meyer, Alford, Lightfoot). Ellicott would retain ἡμῖν.—H.]
Philippians 1:30; Philippians 1:30.—[The T. R. has ἴδετε after a few copies, but the correct word is undoubtedly εἴδετε. The itacism, or similar pronunciation, of the first syllable (an error of the ear in dictation) led to the interchange.—H.]