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Philippians 1

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Verse 1

Php 1:1

Philippians 1:1

Paul and Timothy,—Paul associates Timothy with him in this epistle because he was with him at this time in Rome, had labored at Philippi, was known to the church there, and was much beloved and esteemed by Paul as a brother and fellow laborer in Christ. It was customary with Paul to associate those teachers with him, especially those known to those to whom he was writing. He did this not because they were apostles, but simply as brethren, faithful and beloved. Here he does not call himself an apostle as he does in many of his epistles. It is thought that this was be­cause his right to be an apostle had not been called in question in the church at Philippi as at some other places. The question of circumcising the Gentiles had been settled before the gospel had been preached at Philippi. It was the partisanship aroused by this question that called in question his apostolic character and position. When not necessary to vindicate his teaching as from God, he was modest and unassuming and placed himself on an equality with the humblest servant of the Lord Jesus. He assumed no titles or dignities. He felt himself “less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8), because he had persecuted the church of God. The spirit of Christ and his religion are contrary to the assumption of titles and dignities that lift one Christian above another. Paul never did, save when the truth of God and the faith of Christians were imperiled by his not doing so.

servants of Christ Jesus,—Here he calls himself and Tim­othy servants, which applies equally to the poorest slave that obeyed God. [When Christ is the Master, the service, though there is no promise that it shall be easy at all times, is trans­figured always into the perfect freedom of the loving and devoted heart.]

to all—[The word all, which occurs again and again (Philippians 1:2; Philippians 1:7-8; Philippians 1:25; Philippians 2:17; Philippians 4:21), springs from the deep affection of Paul for the Philippian church, whose beautiful spirit of unity, promptness in obedience, and liberality made it possible to include all its members without exception in his greeting.]

the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi,—Sanctified, set apart from, separated to, or set apart in Christ as his servants. All such disciples are saints, entitled to the claim of trying to serve God, no matter how weak or liable to err they might be. [At the same time the word suggests holiness of character, as the ultimate goal toward which those who are separated are con­fidently aiming.]

with the bishops and deacons:—Why these are separately addressed does not appear, as no special instruction is given to them in the epistle. Bishops or overseers among the Gentiles corresponded to elders among the Jews. It shows that there was more than one of both classes in the church at Philippi, as in others. The deacons were the servants of the church, to look after the necessities of the poor.

Verse 2

Php 1:2

Philippians 1:2

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—He extends the usual salutation to them in the prayer that God and Jesus Christ would bestow grace and peace upon them. [In grace kindness is always present, with the special thought of entire and marked absence of obligation in the ex­tension of it. It is essentially unmerited and free.]

Verse 3

Php 1:3

Philippians 1:3

I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you,—Paul’s treatment by the unbelievers in the city of Philippi was very bitter. He and Silas had been beaten with many stripes, their backs had been lacerated and made bloody by the stripes laid upon them, they had been harshly cast into the inner prison and their feet made fast in stocks; but out of it all a most faithful church had grown that has shown an earnest love for Paul, that followed him in his labors and sufferings with their prayers and their contributions for his help, so that every time he called them to remembrance his heart overflowed with thanksgiving to God for them. He always cultivated a cheerful and thankful heart. [As he reviews his whole relation to them from the very beginning of his work there, the total impression left upon his mind to the very time he was writing was nothing but the most hearty thanksgiving.]

Verse 4

Php 1:4

Philippians 1:4

always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy,—Paul’s remembrance of them took the direction of joyful supplication to God to bless them. [His whole remembrance of them caused gratitude, and this finds expression in every prayer. His prayer for them was the outflowing of an entirely joyful heart. Often he prayed for his brethren with deep grief and tears, but not so for this devoted church. For them he made supplication with joy, for there was nothing in their condition to hinder emotions of gratitude and praise. This gives them a unique place among the churches of the New Testament.]

Verse 5

Php 1:5

Philippians 1:5

for your fellowship—This means more than the contribu­tion of their means for his support, This help was the fruit of the fellowship. Fellowship means to share with, to participate in the same things. To fellowship Jesus is to partake of or take part in his poverty and want, to share in his sorrows, his suffer­ings, and self-denial in this world, as well as to partake of the joys and hopes, the consolations and blessedness of this world, and the hopes and glories of the world to come. We must suffer with him if we would reign with him. Here it certainly refers to their sympathy, common faith with Paul in the truths he had taught them, common sufferings they had endured for the truth, and the watchful interest with which they followed him and the prayers in his behalf, and the contributions sent to him. Paul desired both the prayers in his behalf and the contributions sent him. The contributions for their good (Philippians 4:16), that would abound to their account, but the prayers for his good and help. He was more desirous of the spiritual help that came through their prayers than for the material help bestowed in their gifts.

in furtherance of the gospel—From the first day of their conversion they had been moved to sympathetic cooperation towards its furtherance. For this end the Philippian church worked together, either one with another, or the whole body with Paul and others.

from the first day until now;—This fellowship had been continuous, from the first act of Christian love, when Lydia con­strained Paul and his companions to come into her house and abide there, to the sending of relief to his necessities in Rome. [Constancy is the great test of personal worth. A fellow worker always ready to cooperate is beyond price.]

Verse 6

Php 1:6

Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing,—[The constancy of their fellowship and labor gave to the apostle a personal certainly that the work would be continued.]

that he who began a good work in you will perfect it—Paul gave God the credit really as well as in form for having begun the work. It was done through Paul and his fellow laborers, but God directed them to go, had been with them, had sustained and upheld them, and in every trial and trouble had been with them to deliver them, and to turn their sufferings to the glory of God.

[His admonition is: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13). Paul with fear and trembling did the will of God, and God worked through him to will and to work the things that pleased God.]

until the day of Jesus Christ:—God had begun the work among them and Paul had confidence that he would perfect it, still through his chosen agents until the day of Jesus Christ—the coming of Christ, or until death when they would go to him.

Verse 7

Php 1:7

Philippians 1:7

even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all,—[This confidence is accorded as their just due; not in mere charity, but in the love that springs from his experience of them. This implies strong proof of their sincerity and excel­lence.]

because I have you in my heart,—The ground for this was because he loved them dearly as the first fruits of his labor in Europe, now the most promising field, [and the depth of his love warrants the fullness of his confidence.]

inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and con­firmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace.—This love had been intensified by their love to him, both while he was a prisoner and while he was standing for the defense and confirmation of the gospel among strangers and amid bitter persecutions, they had shared his grace. They remembered him, prayed for him, sent to his help time and again, sent messengers to know his condition in prison, ministered to his wants (Philippians 2:25), and they themselves were bearing persecution for Christ’s sake. In doing and suffering these things they were partakers of his grace.

Verse 8

Php 1:8

Philippians 1:8

For God is my witness, how I long after you all—God knew how he yearned for them and their good.

in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus.—Paul was willing to suffer for them as Jesus had suffered for them. [That divine tenderness is the element in which Paul’s love lives and breathes.]

Verse 9

Php 1:9

Philippians 1:9

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment;—He prays for an increase, a growth in their love, by knowing more and more of the will of God. Their growth in the knowledge of God’s will, and discerning his work, increased his love to God and man, and fitted them more and more to cherish the same love for man that God cherishes. Through knowing God’s will we come to more fully understand him, we more faithfully obey him, walk in closer union with him, partake more fully of the presence and blessings of his Spirit, and come to take more fully of his character.

Verse 10

Php 1:10

Philippians 1:10

so that ye may approve the things that are excellent;—This increase in the knowledge of God enables man to understand and approve the things that are excellent, to discern between the good and the evil. [If we distinguish between the things that differ, it is for the sake of approving what is excellent. In this process we are not merely to distinguish the good from the bad, but the best among the good. This is a true description of Chris­tian wisdom, love growing continually richer in knowledge and spiritual discernment.]

that ye may be sincere—[Sincerity denotes truth and up­rightness; and agreement of heart and tongue. Sincerity is opposed to double-mindedness; or deceit, when the sentiments of the heart are contrary to the language of the lips.]

and void of offence unto the day of Christ;—Offense is the cause of stumbling. It may mean without giving or receiving offense, that by the increase of the knowledge of God’s will, one may neither find occasion or cause of stumbling himself nor be the cause of others stumbling in the Christian race. [Having nothing against which either themselves or others may strike their foot and fall.]

Verse 11

Php 1:11

Philippians 1:11

being filled with the fruits of righteousness,—Righteous­ness comes through the plan God has ordained to make men righteous. When a man does this God makes him righteous, clothes him with his own righteousness and the blessings that come to a man as a result of being clothed with the righteousness of God. He becomes a partaker of the divine nature, conforms his character to the character of God, and God bestows on him the privileges and blessings of a child.

which are through Jesus Christ,—These fruits are the same as the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22). They all come through Jesus Christ. Without him, without the help he bestows, and out of him, these fruits could never be borne in the life of a Christian. [This conformity to what is right however is defined as that which is by Jesus Christ, and thus is that which begins in the soul at its entrance into the new life through faith. Faith works by love, and the result is right living. The fruits of right­eousness grow more abundantly as the love abounds more and more in knowledge and all perception, until the Christian appears at the tribunal full of its fruits.]

unto the glory and praise of God.—That they are borne in the life of the child of God is to the glory and praise of God who provided to redeem and rescue man.

Verse 12

Php 1:12

Philippians 1:12

Now I would have you know, brethren,—Paul was and had been for some time, when this letter was written, a prisoner in Rome. He had appealed from the trials and decisions at Caesarea and Jerusalem to the emperor at Rome. For a long time, it seems, the trial before Caesar was delayed. He was allowed to live in his own hired house, guarded by a soldier for two years. From this epistle it would seem that the trial had taken place, and he was awaiting the verdict, expecting to be released, yet uncertain. [Inasmuch as they might have looked upon his imprisonment in Rome as a hindrance to the spread of the gospel, his first thought was to dispel such an anxiety. God had so wrought that what seemed a loss had proved a great gain.]

that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel;—This seems to show that his recent trial had brought his condition before the people and afforded an opportunity to present the gospel to all those in the palace and in other places. It had given the gospel a publicity among all classes and in all places as could not otherwise have been gained. So he tells the Philippians who watched his course with such an affectionate interest that these things which had occurred in connection with his trial had turned out to the advancement of the gospel.

Verse 13

Php 1:13

Philippians 1:13

so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard,—[By his trial in Rome it became manifest throughout the whole Praetorian guard that his imprison­ment was no political matter, neither was it on account of any crime he had committed; but was wholly due to his union of life and action with Christ.] The household of Caesar was com­posed of his attendants, courtiers, officers, and guards. Some of Caesar’s household, probably his servants and humbler class of his retainers, became obedient to the faith. It is probable that the employees in the lower orders connected with the household would pass unnoticed in such things as readily as in any other position in the empire.

and to all the rest;—[To all the Roman public, as distin­guished from this special class. This phrase points to an extended development of Paul’s personal influence.]

Verse 14

Php 1:14

Philippians 1:14

and that most of the brethren in the Lord, being confi­dent through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear.—Courage as well as fear is contagious. Seeing Paul preach Christ and him crucified openly before the highest officers and dignitaries of the empire inspired others to do likewise. Paul’s defenses of himself consisted in preaching Christ to the rulers and judges, as may be seen from his defense before Festus and Agrippa. His defense made a good impression on the public and “most of the brethren” were en­couraged “to speak the word of God without fear,” and his in­spiring example, his hopefulness, and cheerfulness, even in bonds, encouraged these brethren to lay hold with firmer faith upon the promises of God.

[On his coming to Rome, Paul had thanked God and taken courage at the sight of them. (Acts 28:15). Now they thank God and take courage at the sight of him and his patient confidence.]

Verse 15

Php 1:15

Philippians 1:15

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife;—Under these circumstances it is difficult to see how any one could be led to preach Christ of envy and strife to add opposition to Paul. While his preaching made a favorable impression, it was not sufficiently popular to lead those not faithful to the Lord to engage in it. It is strange that true believers would do it out of envy.

[Were they persons without the love of the gospel, and without personal convictions of its truth? This is impossible. Paul would have regarded such as enemies of the Lord; and such would more likely oppose Christ as well as Paul. Were they then Judaizers? Most assuredly not the mere legalists, such as Paul exposed in the epistle to the Galatians. He certainly could not have rejoiced in the gospel and the Christ they preached. (Philippians 3:2; Galatians 4:6-7; Galatians 5:3; Galatians 5:10-12; 2 Corinthians 11:4). It seems more probable; therefore, that they were those who opposed Paul on various grounds and questioned his authority. It is very likely also that the Christians at Rome were without a strong leadership before Paul’s coming, and that some of their leaders, jealous of his in­fluence, became personal enemies.]

The preaching of these fac­tious adversaries is so insincere that the very contrast between their state of mind and their action carried their condemnation with it. They thought to take advantage of the fact of his bonds, and of whatever these occasioned in the unlimited freedom of his preaching to promote the interest and increase of their own party to make his bonds more grievous. Paul says nothing here that many faithful gospel preachers have not experienced.

and some also of good will:—[These are the same as those mentioned in the preceding verse, but introduced here again under a different point of view, and in contrast with those just described. These preach from good will. Their motive was a personal one also, but how noble and pure. Good will toward Paul who was the appointed proclaimer of the gospel, whose work they regarded as holy, which it was their duty and privilege to help forward, especially now that by his imprisonment he himself was hindered to a great extent from carrying out his mission.]

Verse 16

Php 1:16

Philippians 1:16

the one do it of love,—The preaching prompted by “good will” springs out of love

knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel;—[This is the ground of this special manifestation of Christian love, which inspired sympathy with him in his great work, and moved them to preach the gospel committed to his charge.]

Verse 17

Php 1:17

Philippians 1:17

but the other proclaim Christ of faction,—[This is an explanation of the envy and strife. Faction properly implies self­seeking, hence it came to be employed not only of the method of gaining followers, but also of the act. It is the ambition of rival leaders who create parties for egotistic purposes and to serve their own ends, and it is, therefore, of the leaders of the party that was hostile to Paul rather than the followers who are condemned here. From the earliest times the churches were troubled by those who sought adherents only that they might glory in their ability as leaders. Paul found much trouble from the Judaizers among the Galatian churches (Galatians 1:6-10), and it was the same spirit that was at work in Rome.]

not sincerely,—Their motive was not a pure one, though they might call themselves ministers of Christ.

thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds.—[They could do this by preventing the access of inquirers to him, unable as he was to go to them. Loyal fellow workers would have made it a point to bring their hearers under the personal influence of Paul, and also into a personal connection of order with him. Every instance in which the opposite was done was fitted to try severely the spirit of Paul, to afflict him in and through his posi­tion of restraint]

Verse 18

Php 1:18

Philippians 1:18

What then?—What was he to say concerning their preaching, what judgment was he to pass on their motives and conduct?

only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed;—The thing that mattered was not his personal feeling or comfort, nor whether Christ was being pro­claimed exactly in accordance with his sense of fitness, or the motive which prompted it, he was willing to suffer all things that Christ might be proclaimed.

and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.—Paul’s own sufferings, strifes, imprisonment, and death itself, never for a moment weighed in the matter of preaching the gospel to the world. [These words are a noble testimony of Paul’s breadth of mind and toleration, and a notable instance of his power to forget himself when the cause of Christ was at stake. His opponents* method of preaching did not commend itself to him; and their attitude towards him was mean, ungenerous, and painful, yet it was Christ that was being proclaimed, and he, therefore, rejoiced. ]

Paul rejoiced because the people heard the gospel, and could thereby be saved from their sins, notwithstanding it was pro­claimed to them by envious partisans. But had these converts themselves become envious partisans keeping up strife and divi­sion, they would have forfeited their claims to be Christians. They should, therefore, be taught that sects and parties are sinful, and if they imbibe their spirit, and work to build them up, they sin against God. In this teaching we are at a disadvantage with Paul. He was inspired, God was with him, the Spirit taught him. The disciples knew his infallibility, and a word from him carried at once the authority of God. We cannot speak with the personal authority that Paul did. Our judgment will be called in question.

Our appeal must be to the scriptures. It takes time and patience and forbearance and perseverance in that they, not we, are par­tisans. So we must deal with them in love and with patience and in much prayer, that we may deliver them from their evil ways. When a man believes in Jesus Christ with all the heart, and is led by faith to repent of his sins, be baptized into Christ, that man is a Christian, no matter where he did it. If he goes into parties and sects, he sins just as though he fell into other sins, such as drunk­enness and revelry. He is a sinning Christian—an erring brother. Christians should seek to deliver him from his wrong in a spirit of meekness and love, knowing that we are liable to be led into sin.

Verse 19

Php 1:19

Philippians 1:19

For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation,—The salvation referred to must be his deliverance from bondage. This refers back to his imprisonment and defense before the rulers and the good results following.

through your supplication—This, in connection with the prayers of the Christians, together with the guidance of the Spirit, he felt sure would bring about his being set free from imprison­ment. He relied much on the efficacy of prayer in his behalf. It is in securing this harmonious working of the elements of grace and nature for good that prayer comes in to effectually aid and bless the work. He writes to the brethren concerning his deliver­ance: “Who delivered us out of so great a death, and will deliver: on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us; ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplication.” (2 Corinthians 1:10-11). This shows that the prayers of God’s chil­dren enter into the working of God’s laws and bring good to the persons for whom they are offered. God’s providences are the results of the working of God’s laws. The spiritual and natural laws work in harmony for the good of those who love and honor God—for the destruction and ruin of those who refuse to honor him. To honor God is to obey his laws; to dishonor him is to refuse that obedience. In the spiritual world as in the material, man has it in his power to thwart and hinder the workings of God’s laws, because God has made man with freedom to obey or disobey him. The law of harmony runs through all of God’s dealings with man. When Christ said, “According to your faith be it done unto you” (Matthew 9:29), he recognized this law. Hence if a man’s faith is strong, he confidently and faithfully complies with the law of God, and the blessings will be abundant. If his faith is weak, his compliance will be imperfect and careless, and the blessings will be few.

and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,—The spirit of Christ is one that excludes all turning from or neglect of the com­mands of God, or substitution of other service for that ordained by God, and insists on rigid obedience to the divine will as the only means of union with God. The law of the Spirit requires obedience to the will of God that springs from the heart. It insists upon an obedience to the whole law of God from a heartfelt trust in God. The more trusting the heart is, the more faithful and rigid will be the adherence to the will of God.

Verse 20

Php 1:20

Philippians 1:20

according to my earnest expectation and hope,—[Paul has two things in mind—the preaching of the gospel and his own salvation. In reference to the former, he is earnestly expectant that he shall never be put to shame by the opposition of his ad­versaries. This feeling enabled him to rejoice in the midst of all their envy and strife. His hope looks on to his own salvation. But he enjoys both these. He awaits the future both of his work on earth and of his call to heaven without fear. Whatever the crisis might be, he looked eagerly for it]

that in nothing shall I be put to shame,—[He used the phrase elsewhere with special reference to the shame which comes from hopes disappointed and professions unfulfilled. (2 Corinthians 7:14; 2 Corinthians 9:14; 2 Corinthians 10:8; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6). He says: “Hope putteth not to shame.” (Romans 5:5). So probably here; he trusts that in the hour of trial the confidence which he had felt and of which he said: “I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13), may not come to shameful failure, but mag­nify Christ in all boldness of speech.]

but that with all boldness,—[The peculiar boldness was the freedom of speech. It was a favorite word for the free preaching of the apostles (Acts 4:13; Acts 4:29; Acts 14:3; Acts 18:26), such boldness could only be the quality of one whose work had not been frus­trated, but to whom the Lord had constantly witnessed to Paul.]

as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified—Here Paul changes the form of his speech, and puts forward that for which he constantly labored—that Christ may be magnified.

in my body,—The body is the spirit’s vehicle and imple­ment in action on others. The impression made upon others, “whether by life, or by death,” would have to be effected bodily by doing or suffering. [The phrase is no doubt suggested by the idea of death—the death of a martyr in bodily torture or shame. The same idea is suggested in the following: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:10). But while the word “flesh” is sometimes used in the New Testament in a bad sense, the body is always regarded as that in which we may “glorify God” (1 Corinthians 6:20) in word and deed. In the passage before us, the whole idea is of Christ in him; hence the body is spoken of simply as the tabernacle of the dwelling presence of Christ and devoted only to magnify him.]

whether by life, or by death.—He was ready to live or die as would best magnify and honor Jesus Christ. He had drunk into the spirit of Christ so deeply that he was ready to die to honor him and save his fellow men. [We gather from this, and from 2: 23, that the epistle was written at a time of special suspense and uncertainty, regarding what might be the decision of the court in his case.]

Verse 21

Php 1:21

Philippians 1:21

For to me to live is Christ,—To exalt and glorify Christ was his only incentive in life. [Christ lived in Paul, animated and permeated his entire activity, so that all his words and acts were really said and done by Christ and were therefore an outflow of Christ living in him. Consequently, the personality of Christ was the center and circumference of his entire life. So, in his body the character and greatness of Christ ever appeared. And the varying events of his life, pleasant and unpleasant, showed the greatness of Christ.]

and to die is gain.—[Death is a new stage of union with Christ, so he said: “Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). It was not impatience with life that glorified death in his eyes, but his unwavering faith in Christ that caused him to look on death as but the door to a new and more glorious life. Then his union with Christ would be completely realized.]

Verse 22

Php 1:22

Philippians 1:22

But—[This checked the flow of raptured thought of being with Christ to suggest a consideration that made him hesi­tate in his choice between life and death.]

if to live in the flesh,—This does not put forward an hypo­thetical case but a real one. If he continued to live in the flesh, his effort would be to magnify Christ.

if this shall bring fruit from my work,—Fruit that comes from work bringing souls into the kingdom of the Lord, bringing life to them.

then—If all this was true, if life, and life only, subserved his work, then came the difficulty of choice.

what I shall choose I know not.—Since the earthly life and that alone is the sphere of work, with its fruitage of converted souls, he was so uncertain what to choose that he refrained from any decision.

Verse 23

Php 1:23

Philippians 1:23

But I am in a strait—This expresses forcibly the inten­sity of the struggle in his mind.

betwixt the two,—This refers to the alternative between life and death. He was so hedged by the two alternatives that he did not know which way to move. Most of us would have no trouble in making a choice between them; but not so with Paul; and if he were to choose for his own pleasure, it would be to leave this world.

having the desire to depart and be with Christ;—He had already expressed the desire by saying, “to die is gain.” He had grown old; the fleshly ties and hopes had been swallowed up in the higher spiritual life, and the desire of his soul was to depart and be with Christ. He expected to be with him in some very important sense when he departed this life. I do not know of anyone that knows better about this than he.

for it is very far better:—He cannot forget the gain, though his love for the salvation of men may reconcile him to forego it. So, in this further allusion to life with Christ, he intensifies his language by the double comparative—very far better.

Verse 24

Php 1:24

Philippians 1:24

yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake.—He was a helper and instructor of the Philippians and other Christians. The reverence and respect with which they regarded him enabled him to hold them back from many evils. He foresaw that on his death many evils and grievous departures from the faith would follow. (Acts 20:18-35). To the Thessalonians he said: “The mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the lawless one.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). He who restrained the development of the man of sin was Paul. He would hinder until he was taken out of the way, then would he be developed and revealed. [In this he approaches the reason which confirms him as to what his lot will be. He sees that there is much which lies before him, which God is show­ing him that he would have him do, and the sense that the churches will be the better for his life, and need of his con­tinued care, brings with it the certainty that God will not call him home.]

Verse 25

Php 1:25

Philippians 1:25

And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all,—This knowledge was based on his confidence that, if it was best for him to remain, God would so overrule that the decision of the court would be for his acquittal. [No doubt his mind passed to the whole care of the churches, which came upon him daily, and he sees not without some consolation the further prospect of spending and being spent for Christ’s service.]

for your progress and joy in the faith;—He would teach and instruct them, and as they improved in righteousness, the joy and blessedness that came to them through their faith would be in­creased. [He employs the same word here to denote the advance of the Philippians in the faith as he used to describe the effect of his imprisonment and trial upon the Roman Christians. (Philippians 1:12). His presence at Philippi would have an influence similar to that which it had in Rome and would become an influence to greater activity. This would, in itself, fill their hearts with joy, joy proceeding out of loyal and ever-increasing dependence upon Christ, which is the true prerogative of the mature Christian.]

Verse 26

Php 1:26

Philippians 1:26

that your glorying may abound—Should he be released, he looked forward to another visit to them. [The idea is that they may obtain a larger and richer increase of that which is their true glory, the possession of the gospel and of the privileges of the Christian life.]

in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again.—The immediate occasion of the glorying would be Paul. The ground of glorying would attach especially to him as the repre­sentative of the cause which was the great matter of glorying. The ground of glorying was first and comprehensively in Christ; then in Paul as representing Christ; then in Paul’s personal presence with them, with his teaching and example and prayers would be the means for attaining the grace of Christ, and so he was able to add, “in me.” The rejoicing would be of what the Lord had done, and the help thereto would be Paul’s continuance in the flesh.

Verse 27

Php 1:27

Philippians 1:27

Only—Whatever happens they were to deport them­selves as faithful citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ:—The gospel was to elevate the manner of life into the likeness of that which Jesus lived. He died as a man, that men might live like God; he lived in the flesh, that they might walk in the Spirit. [The Christian must remember that he does not live for himself alone, that he is under “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2), enjoys great privileges, which in turn, lay upon him great responsibilities. One so minded will know that in his actions the interests of others are involved as well as his own, and will make it his aim to live worthy of the gospel.]

that, whether I come and see you or be absent,—[Whether he lives or dies, whether he comes to them again or sees them in the flesh no more, whatever happens to him or them, they were to deport themselves in a worthy manner.]

I may hear of your state,—[He had a deep interest in the life of the whole congregation. All their surroundings as well as their doings and condition were of deep interest to him, for they were his children in the faith.]

that ye stand fast—[He was fully aware of the fact that they were in the midst of many adversities, and that they had to fight for the faith, and he urges them to stand their ground against all foes.]

in one spirit,—The spirit is the highest part of our imma­terial nature, which, when enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the word of truth, can arise into communion with God and discern the truth of the spiritual life.

with one soul—[The soul is that element of man’s material nature which is nearest his body and directly influenced by it, and through the body by the outer world; and is thus distinguished from the spirit, which is that in man nearest to God and directly influenced by the Spirit of God. The soul, therefore, is the emo­tional side of man, that which is roused by its surroundings.]

striving for the faith of the gospel;—[Christians are com­rades in one struggle, each helping others. All are exhorted to act together, as though the many were impelled by the soul of one man, this harmony being a condition of steadfastness of which he hopes to hear. On this subject of unity too much stress cannot be laid. Unity conditions efficiency and growth and comfort. It is so in the home and institutions of learning; but pre-eminently so in a body of believers in Jesus Christ. A badly divided, dis­cordant, wrangling church is about the most offensive, as well as the most inefficient thing the eye can look upon. A church in which the sentiment of unity has been displaced by the bitterness of mutual ill will has reached the day when its prosperity is at an end—at an end at any rate until its membership changes its front and comes into a better mood. How much harm has been done to individuals, how the advance of the Lord’s kingdom has been hindered, by the unseemly spectacle of disciples of the Lord ar­rayed in bitterness against each other. Resentments, whims, whis­perings, grudges, alienations are all out of place in a company of true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They can make no head­way in commending the gospel to others, or in magnifying it as the saving power of God, if they themselves were split into factions, and were biting and devouring each other instead of exemplifying a temper of love and unity. Unity would assure them power; they could move forward to conquest.]

Verse 28

Php 1:28

Philippians 1:28

and in nothing affrighted—The Philippian church was then suffering of their enemies. [The original of this word “affrighted” has in it the suggestions of the action of a horse in a race, which becomes scared and springs aside and runs off wildly. It is getting alarmed and disheartened in the face of some oppos­ing demonstration, or under some fierce assault. It is the timidity and misgiving which says at the outset of the struggle: “It is no use; the enemy is too strong or too cunning; and the surrender might just as well be made now as later on.”]

by the adversaries:—[Who were their adversaries? In verse thirty he speaks of them as having the same conflict as he had when at Philippi and then had at Rome. In both instances, most probably, his opponents were heathen. Further, when warn­ing his readers against Jewish malice, what he usually feared was not that they would be frightened into compliance, but that they would be seduced from the right way of the Lord. The pagans at Philippi would struggle hard against a faith which con­demned idol worship, for the extant remains at Philippi and in its neighborhood show that they were a very devout heathen community.]

which is for them an evident token of perdition,—The un­daunted bearing of the Philippian Christians in the face of oppo­sition and persecution was a token of destruction to their adver­saries. It showed that their persecutors were powerless to thwart God’s work; that their resistance was working their own spiritual ruin; that they were fighting against God, which could mean only their destruction.

but of your salvation, and that from God;—Their fidelity in maintaining their faith was a token and sign of their deliverance, and that deliverance would come from God. [These words apply to the word “token,” and so derivatively both to “perdition” and “salvation.” The sign is of God, but it may be read by both sides. Like the pillar of God’s presence, it was “the cloud and the darkness” to the one, but “light by night” to the other. (Exodus 14:20).]

Verse 29

Php 1:29

Philippians 1:29

because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf:—Paul presents it as a privilege that God granted them not only to believe in Christ, but to suffer with and for him. To Timothy he said: “If we endure, we shall also reign with him.” (2 Timothy 2:12). After the apostles had been condemned by the council and beaten, it is said: “They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name.” (Acts 5:41). And Peter says: “But even if ye should suffer for righteousness’ sake, blessed are ye: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled.” (1 Peter 3:14). Christians ought to esteem it an honor that they are permitted to suffer for the name of Christ.

Verse 30

Php 1:30

Philippians 1:30

having the same conflict which ye saw in me,—What they had seen of his sufferings must have been when he and Silas were beaten, imprisoned, and their feet made fast in stocks at Philippi, (Acts 16; Acts 22-24). How deeply this outrage im­pressed itself on his mind, we see both by his conduct toward the magistrates, and also by his allusion to it: “But having suf­fered before and been shamefully treated, as ye know, at Philippi, we waxed bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God in much conflict.” (1 Thessalonians 2:2). Here he uses the remem­brance to suggest to the Philippians that their struggle was only the same which he had borne, and borne successfully. The con­flict, though called the same, need not be taken to imply that they were exposed to the danger of arrest, imprisonment, and scourg­ing, but that they had to endure sufferings and that their cause was the same. They were soldiers under the same Master, and each had a share in the conflict. The word implies a struggle for a prize and is here used to denote the Christian’s position in the world. He is fighting for the mastery, and there are many ad­versaries.

and now hear to be in me.—They had been informed of his imprisonment, and for that reason had sent Epaphroditus to Rome with their gifts, and they would hear still more from Epaphroditus when he returned to them and delivered the apostle’s epistle. Paul, having shown them that they should account it a gracious favor of God to be permitted to suffer for the sake of Jesus, proceeds in this section to urge upon them unity among them­selves and harmony with the Spirit of Christ.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Philippians 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/philippians-1.html.
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