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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Philippians

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Book Overview - Philippians

by Heinrich Meyer

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL

COMMENTARY

ON

THE NEW TESTAMENT

HANDBOOK

TO

THE EPISTLES TO THE PHILIPPIANS AND COLOSSIANS

BY

HEINRICH AUGUST WILHELM MEYER, TH.D.,

OBERCONSISTORIALRATH, HANNOVER.

TRANSLATED FROM THE FOURTH EDITION OF THE GERMAN BY

REV. JOHN C. MOORE, B.A.

THE TRANSLATION REVISED AND EDITED BY

WILLIAM P. DICKSON, D.D.,

PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW.

EDINBURGH:

T. & T. CLARK, 38 GEORGE STREET.

MDCCCLXXV

PREFATORY NOTE

T HE Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians was translated from the third edition of the German by the late Mr. G. H. Venables; but, as it became necessary to incorporate the numerous alterations and additions made by Dr. Meyer for the fourth edition, the work of revising and completing the version of Mr. Venables has been entrusted to the Rev. John C. Moore, who has also executed independently the greater portion of the translation, from the fourth German edition, of the Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians. I have myself translated a small portion of the latter, and, as in previous volumes, have revised the whole with some care, and carried it through the press.

It is stated by Dr. Meyer’s son, in the Preface to the new edition of this volume, that his father had, before his fatal illness, despatched the one half of the manuscript of his revision to the printers, and that the other half was found labelled “ready for the press.” The book, therefore, although issued subsequently to the author’s death, is entirely his own work. I have reserved the biographical sketch of Dr. Meyer given by his son for the first volume of the series. The Commentary on the Epistle to Phlippians, which in the German accompanies those now issued, will also appear subsequently.

It is scarcely necessary to say that the explanations given in preceding volumes as to the principles on which this translation is issued, and the caveat inserted regarding the views or opinions occasionally expressed by Dr. Meyer, are equally applicable to the present.

W. P. D.

GLASGOW COLLEGE,

October 1875.

EXEGETICAL LITERATURE OF THE EPISTLES

TO THE

PHILIPPIANS AND COLOSSIANS

[FOR commentaries or collections of notes embracing the whole New Testament, see Preface to the Commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew; for those which deal with the Pauline, or Apostolic, Epistles generally, see Preface to the Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. The following list includes only those which concern the Epistle to the Philippians or the Epistle to the Colossians, or in which one of these Epistles holds the first place on the title-page. Works mainly of a popular or practical character have, with a few exceptions, been excluded, since, however valuable they may be on their own account, they have but little affinity with the strictly exegetical character of the present work. Monographs on chapters or sections are generally noticed by Meyer in loc. The editions quoted are usually the earliest; al. appended denotes that the book has been more or less frequently reprinted; † marks the date of the author’s death.]

BÄHR (Carl Christian Wilhelm Felix), Ministerialrath, Baden: Commentar über den Brief Pauli an die Colosser, mit stäter Berücksichtigung der ältern und neuern Ausleger. 8°, Basel, 1833.

BAUMGARTEN (Sigmund Jakob). See GALATIANS.

BAUMGARTEN-CRUSIUS (Ludwig Friedrich Otto), (5) 1843, Prof. Theol. at Jena: Commentar über den Brief Pauli an die Epheser und Kolosser … 8°, Jena, 1845.

Commentar über die Briefe an die Philipper und Thessalonicher … 8°, Jena, 1848.

BAYNE (Paul), (6) 1617, Min. at Cambridge: A Commentarie upon the I. and II. chapters of Saint Paul to the Colossians … 4°, Lond. 1634, a(7).

BEELEN (Jean-Théodore), R. C. Prof. Or. Lang. at Louvain: Commentarius in Epistolam S. Pauli ad Philippenses. 8°, Lovanii, 1852.

BLEEK (Friedrich),(8) 1859, Prof. Theol. at Berlin: Vorlesungen über die Briefe an die Kolosser, den Phlippians und die Epheser … 8°, Berl. 1865.

BÖHMER (Wilhelm), Prof. Theol. at Breslau: Theologische Auslegung des paulinischen Sendschreibens an die Colosser. 8°, Breslau, 1835.

BRAUNE (Karl), Superintendent at Altenburg in Saxony: Die Briefe Sti. Pauli an die Epheser, Kolosser, Philipper. Theologisch-homiletisch bearbeitet. [In Lange’s Bibelwerk.] 8°, Bielefeld, 1867.

[Translated from the German, with additions (Philippians), by Horatio B. Hackett, D.D., and (Colossians) by M. B. Riddle, D.D.] 8°, New York and Edin. 1870.

BRENZ [or BRENTIUS] (Johann), (10) 1570, Provost at Stuttgart: Explicatio Epistolae ad Philippenses. 8°, Francof. 1548.

BYFIELD (Nicholas), (11) 1622, Vicar of Isleworth: An Exposition upon the Epistle to the Colossians … 4°, 1617, a(12).

CALIXTUS (Georg). See ROMANS.

DAILLE (Jean), (14) 1670, Pastor at Paris: Exposition sur la divine Épître de l’apôtre S. Paul aux Filippiens. 8°, Genev. 1659.

DALMER (Karl Eduard Franz): Auslegung des Briefes Pauli an die Colosser. 8°, Gotha, 1858.

DAVIES (JOHN LLEWELYN), Rector of Christ Church, Marylebone: The Epistles of St. Paul to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and Phlippians, with introduction and notes, and an essay on the traces of foreign elements in the theology of these Epistles. 8°, Lond. 1867.

EADIE (John), D.D., Prof. Bibl. Lit. to the United Presbyterian Church: A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians. 8°, Edin. 1859.

A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistle to the Colossians. 8°, Lond. and Glasg. 1856.

ELTON (Edward), Minister at Bermondsey: An Exposition of the Epistle to the Colossians … 4°, Lond. 1615, a(18).

HEINRICHS (Johann Heinrich), Superintendent at Burgdorf: Testamentum Novum Graece perpetuo annotatione illustravit J. P. Koppe. Vol. vii. p. 2. Complectens Pauli Epistolas ad Philippenses et Colossenses. Continuavit J. H. Heinrichs. 8°, Götting. 1803, ed. II., 1826.

HENGEL (Wessel Albert van), Prof. Theol. at Leyden: Commentarius perpetuus in Epistolam Pauli ad Philippenses. 8°, Lugd. Bat. 1839.

HOELEMANN (Hermann Gustav), Teacher in Gymnasium at Zwickau: Commentarius in Epistolam divi Pauli ad Philippenses. [THEILE: Comment. in N. T., vol. xxii.] 8°, Lips. 1839.

HOFMANN (Johann Christian Konrad von), Prof. Theol. at Erlangen: Die Heilige Schrift des N. T. zusammenhängend untersucht. IV. 2. Die Briefe Pauli an die Kolosser und Phlippians. IV. 3. Der Brief Pauli an die Philipper. 8°, Nördlingen, 1870–2.

HUTHER (Johann Eduard), Pastor at Wittenförden, Schwerin: Commentar über den Brief Pauli an die Colosser. 8°, Hamb. 1841.

JATHO (Georg Friedrich), Director of Gymnasium at Hildesheim: Pauli Brief an die Philipper. 8°, Hildesheim, 1857.

JUNKER (Friedrich): Historisch-kritischer und philologischer Commentar über den Brief Pauli an die Colosser … 8°, Mannheim, 1828.

KÄHLER (C. R.): Auslegung der Epistel an die Philipper. 8°, Kiel, 1855.

KRAUSE (Johann Friedrich), (23) 1820, Superintendent at Weimar: Observationes critico-exegeticae in Pauli Epistolae ad Philippenses c. i. et ii. 4°, Regimont. (1810).

St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and Phlippians. A revised text, with introductions, notes, and dissertations. 8°, Lond. 1875.

MATTHIAS (Konrad Stephan), Prof. Theol. at Greifswald: Erklärung des Briefes Pauli an die Philipper. 8°, Greifswald, 1835.

MAYERHOFF (Ernst Theodor): Der Brief an die Kolosser mit vornehmlicher Berücksichtigung der Pastoralbriefe kritisch geprüft. 8°, Berl. 1838.

MELANCHTHON (Philipp), (25) 1560, Reformer: Enarratio Epistolae Pauli ad Colossenses. 8°, Viteb. 1559, a(26).

MICHAELIS (Johann David). See GALATIANS.

MÜLLER (Cornelius): Commentatio de locis quibusdam Epistolae ad Philippenses. 4°, Hamburgi, 1844.

MUSCULUS [or MEUSSLIN] (Wolfgang), (27) 1563, Prof. Theol. at Berne: In Epistolas ad Philippenses, Colossenses, Thessalonicenses ambas et primam ad Timotheum commentarii. 2°, Basil. 1565, a(28).

PEIRCE (James), (30) 1726, Minister at Exeter: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul to the Colossians, Philippians, and Hebrews, after the manner of Mr. Locke … 4°, Lond. 1727, a(31).

RETTIG (Heinrich Christian Michael), (32) 1836, Prof. Theol. at Zürich: Quaestiones Philippenses. 8°, Giessen. 1831.

RILLIET (Albert), Prof. Theol. at Geneva: Commentaire sur l’épître de l’apôtre Paul aux Philippiens … 8°, Génève, 1841.

ROELL (Herman Alexander), (34) 1718, Prof. Theol. at Utrecht: Brevis Epistolae Pauli ad Colossenses exegesis. 4°, Traject. 1731.

SCHENKEL (Daniel), Prof. Theol. at Heidelberg: Die Briefe an die Epheser, Philipper, Kolosser. Theologisch-homiletisch bearbeitet. [In Lange’s Bibelwerk.] 8°, Bielefeld, 1862.

SCHINZ (Wilhelm Heinrich): Die christliche Gemeinde zu Philippi. 8°, Zürich, 1833.

SCHMID (Sebastian). See ROMANS.

SCHOTANUS (Meinardus H.), (35) 1644, Prof. Theol. at Utrecht: Analysis et Commentaria in Epistolam Pauli ad Philippenses. 4°, Franek. 1637.

STEIGER (Wilhelm), (36) 1836, Prof. Theol. at Geneva: Der Brief Pauli an die Colosser; Uebersetzung, Erklärung, einleitende und epikritische Abhandlungen. 8°, Erlangen, 1835.

STORR (Gottlob Christian), (37) 1805, Prof. Theol. at Tübingen: Dissertatio exegetica in Epistolam ad Philippenses.… Dissertatio exegetica in Epistolae ad Colossenses partem priorem [et posteriorem] … 4°, Tübing. [1783–87].

Expositions of the Epistles of Paul to the Philippians and Colossians by John Calvin and D. Gottlob Christian Storr. Translated from the original by Robert Johnston. [Biblical Cabinet.] 12°, Edin. 1842.

SUICERUS [SCHWEITZER] (Johann Heinrich), Prof. of Greek in Heidelberg: In Epistolam ad Colossenses commentarius critico-exegeticus. 4°, Tiguri, 1699.

TIL (Salomon van). See ROMANS.

VELASQUEZ (Juan Antonio), S. J.: In Epistolam Pauli ad Philippenses commentaria et adnotationes. 2°, Lugd. et Paris. 1628–33.

VICTORINUS (C. Marius), about A.D. 360, teacher of rhetoric at Rome: In Epistolam ad Philippenses liber unicus. [In Mai’s Scrip. Vet. Nov. Coll. iii.1.]

WEISS (Bernhard), Prof. Theol. at Kiel: Der Philipperbrief ausgelegt, und die Geschichte seiner Auslegung kritisch dargestellt. 8°, Berl. 1859.

WIESINGER (J. C. August), Pastor at Untermagerbein, near Nördlingen: Die Briefe des Apostel Paulus an die Philipper, an Titus, Timotheus und Phlippians erklärt. [In Olshausen’s Commentar.] 8°, Königsb. 1850.

[Translated by the Rev. John Fulton, A.M. 8°, Edin. 1851.]

ZACHARIAE (Gotthilf Traugott). See GALATIANS.

THE

EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS

INTRODUCTION

T he fortified city of Philippi(39) was situated in Macedonia, on the borders of Thrace; in earlier times, as a Thasian colony, it was called, from its site abounding in springs, κρηνίδες (Diodor. S. xvi. 3. 8; Strabo, vii. p. 490), but it changed this name for that of its enlarger and fortifier, Philip, the son of Amyntas. It was rich in gold mines (Herod. vi. 46; Appian. Bell. civ. iv. 15; Strabo, vii. p. 511); and the victory over Brutus and Cassius made it a landmark in the history of the world. Through this overthrow of Roman freedom it acquired a high rank as a Roman colony with the Jus Italicum (see on Acts 16:11); but it obtained another and higher historical interest, attended by a greater gain for the Roman Empire, through the fact that it was the first city in Europe in which Paul, under the divine direction in a nocturnal vision (see on Acts 16:9 f.), and amid ill-treatment and persecution (Acts 16:16 ff.; 1 Thessalonians 2:2), planted Christianity. Thus did the city vindicate its original name, in a higher sense, for the entire West. This event took place in the year 53, during the second missionary journey of the apostle, who also, in his third journey, laboured among the Macedonian churches (Acts 20:1 f.), and especially in Philippi (Acts 20:6). With what rich success he there established Christianity is best shown by our epistle itself, which exhibits a more cordial, affectionate, and undisturbed relation between the church and the apostle, and bears a more unalloyed testimony to the distinction of the church (comp. especially Philippians 4:1), than we find in any other apostolic letter. This peculiar mutual affection also explains the fact that Paul, contrary to his usual custom, accepted aid on more than one occasion from the Philippians (Philippians 4:10 ff.; 2 Corinthians 11:9); from which, however, on account of this very love, we are not entitled to infer that they were specially wealthy. The Jews were so few in number that they had only a προσευχή (see on Acts 16:13), and the Christian church was one consisting mostly of those who had been Gentiles. The view which discovers a Judaizing faction (Philippians 3:2) in it (Storr, Flatt, Bertholdt, Eichhorn, Rheinwald, Guericke, and others), seems all the more unwarrantable, when we consider how deeply the apostle was concerned to ward off from his beloved Philippians the danger, at that time everywhere so imminent, of the intrusion of Judaistic disturbance, and how susceptible the Philippians themselves were to such a danger, owing to a certain spiritual conceit(40) which had already impaired their unanimity (Philippians 1:12 to Philippians 2:16, Philippians 4:2). Comp. Philippians 1:28. See, against the view of heretical partisanship, Schinz, p. 48 ff.; Rilliet, Commentaire, Geneva, 1841, p. 352 ff.; Weiss, Introduction to his Ausleg., Berl. 1859; compare, however, Huther in the Mecklenb. theolog. Zeitschrift, 1862, p. 623 ff.

§ 2. PLACE AND TIME OF COMPOSITION, OCCASION, AND CONTENTS

It is justly the universal tradition (Chrysostom; Euthalius, in Zacagni, Coll. vet. mon. pp. 547, 642, 648; Synopsis of Athanasius, Syrian Church, the subscriptions), and the almost unanimous view of modern writers, that the epistle was written in Rome. We are pointed to Rome by the οἱκία καίσαρος (Philippians 4:22), and by the crisis between life and death in which Paul was placed,—a crisis which presupposes his appeal to the emperor as the ultimate legal resort (Philippians 1:20 ff., Philippians 2:17),—as well as by the entire conformity of his position and work (Philippians 1:12 ff.) to what we find recorded in Acts 28:16 ff. The epistle must, moreover, have been written during the later period of the Roman captivity; for the passages, Philippians 1:12 ff., Philippians 2:26 ff., betoken that a somewhat lengthened course of imprisonment had elapsed, and the apostle was already abandoned by all his more intimate companions (Philippians 2:20), except Timothy (Philippians 1:1). A more precise specification, such as Hofmann in particular gives (that the apostle had then been transferred from his hired dwelling to the prison-house), is not deducible either from Philippians 1:12 ff., or from the mention of the Praetorium and the imperial house. We must reject the isolated attempts to transfer its composition to Corinth (Acts 18:12; Oeder, Progr., Onold. 1731) or to Caesarea (Acts 23:23 to Acts 26:32; Paulus, Progr., Jen. 1799; and Böttger, Beitr. I. p. 47 ff.; favoured also by Rilliet, and Thiersch, Kirche im apost. Zeitalt. p. 212). Concerning and against these views, see particularly Hoelemann, Commentar, 1839, p. iii. ff.; Neander, Gesch. d. Pflanzung, etc., p. 498 f.

We are to assume, therefore, as the date of composition, not indeed the full expiration of the διετία ὅλη of Acts 28:30 (Hofmann), but the latter portion of that period,—in the year 63 possibly, or the beginning of 64.(41) See on Acts, Introd. § 4.

The occasion of the epistle was the fact that the Philippians had sent Epaphroditus with pecuniary aid to Paul, who, on the return of the former after his recovery from “a sickness nigh unto death,” made him the bearer of the letter (Philippians 2:25-28). In the utterances of the epistle, however, there is nothing to suggest any special change in the situation of the apostle as having afforded a motive for this gift on the part of the church; and it is an uncertain reading between the lines to assume, with Hofmann, not merely that the apostle was transferred to the prison-house, but that with that transference the process had reached the stage of its judicial discussion, in which the Philippians believed that they could not but discern a change to the worse for Paul, whom they regarded as suffering privations in prison. Those traces, also, which Hofmann has discovered of a letter of the church brought to Paul by Epaphroditus along with the contribution, and expressing not only the concern of the Philippians for the apostle, but also their need of instruction regarding the assaults to which their Christianity was exposed, and regarding various other matters of theirs that required to be settled and arranged, are so far from being warranted by the exegesis of the passages in question, that there is neither direct occasion nor any other sufficient reason for going beyond the oral communications of Epaphroditus in order to account for the apostle’s acquaintance with the circumstances of the Philippians. And just as the aid tendered by the careful love of the church had furnished the occasion for this letter to them, so also does its entire tenor breathe forth the heartfelt and touching love, which the captive apostle cherished towards his Philippians. Not one of his epistles is so rich as this in hearty effusions of affection and in tender references; and not one of them is so characteristically epistolary, without any rigid arrangement, almost without dogmatic discussion, as also without quotations from the Old Testament or dialectic chains of reasoning. Not one is so eminently an epistle of the feelings, an outburst of the moment, springing from the deepest inward need of loving fellowship amidst outward abandonment and tribulation; a model, withal, of the union of tender love, and at times an almost elegiac impress of courageous resignation in the prospect of death, with high apostolic dignity and unbroken holy joy, hope, and victory over the world. “Summa epistolae: Gaudeo, gaudete,” Bengel; comp. Grotius: “laetior alacriorque et blandior ceteris.”

After the apostolic salutation (Philippians 1:1 f.), Paul, with heart-winning fervour, expresses thanks, intercession, and confidence as regards his readers (Philippians 1:3-11), and then enlarges on his present position, with his hope of a speedy return (Philippians 1:12-26); after which he exhorts them to unanimity and humility, and generally to the Christian life (Philippians 1:27 to Philippians 2:18). He promises to send Timothy to them soon, yet trusts that he himself shall also soon come to them (Philippians 2:19-24); in the meantime he sends away to them Epaphroditus, their messenger, who is delicately and touchingly commended to them (Philippians 2:25-30). On the point, apparently, of passing on to a conclusion (Philippians 3:1), he proceeds to deal with his Jewish opponents, with whom he compares himself at some length, thereby inciting his readers to be like-minded with him, to keep in view the future salvation, and so to maintain their Christian standing (Philippians 3:2 to Philippians 4:1). After a special exhortation to, and commendation of, two women (Philippians 4:2-3), the apostle subjoins the concluding words of encouragement (Philippians 4:4-9), to which he had already set himself in Philippians 3:1, adds yet another grateful effusion of his heart on account of the aid given to him (Philippians 4:10-20), and ends with a salutation and a blessing (Philippians 4:21-23).

3. GENUINENESS AND UNITY

The genuineness of this epistle is established externally by the continuous testimonies of the ancient church from Polycarp, iii. 11, onwards; see Marcion in Epiph. Haer. 42; Canon Murat.; Tertull. c. Marc. v. 19, de praescr. 36; literal use made of it, as early as the epistle from Vienne and Lyons, in Eus. v. 2; direct quotations from it in Iren. iv. 18. 4, v. 13. 3; Cypr. Test. iii. 39; Clem. Paed. i. 107; Tert. de resurr. 23, 47,—in the presence of which testimonies it is unnecessary to adduce uncertain allusions from apostolic Fathers and Apologists. Internally it bears the seal of genuineness in the thoroughly Pauline character of its contents, of its spirit, of its emotions, of its delicate turns and references, of its whole diction and form, and in the comparative absence, moreover, of doctrinal definition properly so called, as well as in the prominence throughout of the features characteristic of its origin as a cordial and fresh occasional letter. Nevertheless, Baur, after repeated threats (see die sogen. Pastoralbr. pp. 79, 86, and Tüb. Zeitschr. 1836, 3, p. 196), has directed his bold attacks against this epistle also (see his Paulus der Ap. Jesu Christi, 1845, p. 458 ff., and second ed. II. p. 50 ff.; also in the theol. Jahrb. 1849, p. 501 ff., 1852, p. 133 ff.(42)); and Schwegler, nachapostol. Zeitalt. II. p. 133 ff., has adopted the same views. See, against these attacks, now hardly worth the trouble of refutation, besides the Commentaries and Introductions, Lünemann, Pauli ad Phil. epist. contra Baurum defend., Gött. 1847; Brückner, Ep. ad Phil. Paulo auctori vindicata contra Baur., Lips. 1848; Ernesti in the Stud. u. Krit. 1848, p. 858 ff., 1851, p. 595 ff.; Grimm in the Lit. Bl. of the Allg. K.Z. 1850, No. 149 ff., 1851, No. 6 ff.; Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1871, p. 309 ff. According to the opinion of Baur, the epistle moves in the circle of Gnostic ideas and expressions, to which it attaches itself; but the only passage adduced as a proof is Philippians 2:5 ff., and this entirely under mistaken explanations or arbitrary references of the several elements of that passage. Comp. the commentary on this passage, and the remark after Philippians 2:11. The further charges—that the epistle labours under feeble repetitions (copies of passages in other epistles, as Philippians 3:4 ff. from 2 Corinthians 10:18, et al.), under a want of connection, and poverty of ideas (in proof of which stress is laid on Philippians 3:1, as the author’s own confession)—rest entirely on uncritical presupposition, and on a mistaken judgment as to the distinctive epistolary peculiarity of the letter, and as to the special tone of feeling on the part of the apostle in his present position generally and towards his Philippians. Lastly, we must reckon as wholly fanciful the doubt thrown upon what is said at Philippians 1:12, for which a combination of this passage with Philippians 4:22 is alleged to furnish ground, and to which the mention of Clement, Philippians 4:3, who is taken to be Clement of Rome, and is supposed to weave the bond of unity round Paul and Peter, must supply the key; while the supposed anachronism in the mention of the bishops and deacons in Philippians 1:1, the Euodia and Syntyche in Philippians 4:2, and the σύζυγος γνήσιος in Philippians 4:3, are likewise wrongly adduced against the Pauline authorship. Indeed, even the historical occasion of the epistle—the aid sent to Paul—is made to appear as a fictitious incident at variance with 1 Corinthians 9:15. The special arguments of Baur are set aside by an impartial interpretation of the passages to which they refer, and the same may be said with regard to the latest attacks of Hitzig (zur Kritik d. paulin. Briefe, 1870) and of Hinsch (in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschrift, 1873, p. 59 ff.) on the genuineness. The latter, though independent in his movement, stands on the ground occupied by Baur; the former has no ground whatePhilippians :Against Hinsch, see Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1873, p. 178 ff.

Heinrichs, with whom Paulus in the main concurred, Heidelb. Jahrb. 1817, 7, has sought to do away with the unity of the epistle by the assumption that there were originally two epistles,—one exoteric, addressed to the whole church, consisting of Philippians 1:1 to Philippians 3:1, χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ, and the salutations, Philippians 4:21-23; the other esoteric, to the apostle’s more intimate friends, which contained from Philippians 3:1, τὰ αὐτὰ γράφειν, down to Philippians 4:20.(43) But this idea is nothing but a consequence of misconceiving the free epistolary movement, which, especially in a letter like this called forth by a special occasion, and addressed to a community so dear to him, might naturally be most unfettered (see on Philippians 3:1); and in this case, the distinction of exoteric and esoteric elements is a mistake, which is no less unhistorical than contrary to all psychological probability.

From Philippians 3:1 we must, moreover, assume that, prior to our epistle, Paul had addressed another letter to the Philippians, which is not now extant; and this is confirmed by Polycarp (Philippians 3). See on Philippians 3:1, remark.

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