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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Philippians 3

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 3

Philippians 3:3. Instead of θεοῦ Elz. has θεῷ, against decisive testimony, although again defended by Reiche. A clumsy emendation in order to complete the λατρ.

Philippians 3:6. ζῆλον] Lachm. and Tisch. read ζῆλος, following A B D* F G א*. A copyist’s error; comp. the exeg. remarks on 2 Corinthians 9:2.

Philippians 3:8. Instead of μὲν οὖν Elz. and Tisch. 8 have μενοῦνγω, which, although supported by A P א, is opposed by very preponderating testimony.

The second εἶναι is wanting in B D* F G א*, 17, Arm. Vulg. It. Lucif., et al. Suspected by Griesb, omitted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. But how readily may it, otherwise superfluous, have been left out before the similar ἵνα!

Philippians 3:10. The second τήν is wanting in A B א*; omitted by Lachm.; overlooked as unnecessary.

Instead of συμμορφιζόμενος (so Lachm. and Tisch.), which Griesb. approves, Elz. and Scholz have συμμορφούμενος. But the former has in its favour A B D* P א*, min. Or. ms. Bas. Macar., as also συνφορτιζόμενος in F G It. Lucif. Ir. The Recepta substitutes an analogous form more familiar.

Philippians 3:11. τῶν νεκρ.] A B D E P א, min., and many vss. and Fathers, have τὴν ἐκ νεκρ., which is recommended by Griesb. and adopted by Scholz, Lachm., and Tisch. But Paul always uses ἀνάστασις with merely the genitive τῶν νεκρῶν, or only νεκρ. The ἐκ was written on the margin here to explain the word ἐξαναστ., which does not occur elsewhere in the N. T., and subsequently the erroneous insertion of this ἐκ after τῶν (so still F G) produced the reading τὴν ἐκ νεκρ.

Philippians 3:12. The χριστοῦ alone (Elz. gives τοῦ χ. ἰησοῦ) has preponderant evidence.

Philippians 3:14. ἐπί] Lachm. and Tisch. read εἰς, following A B א, min. Clem. Aeth. Rightly; ἐπί is explanatory.

Philippians 3:16. After στοιχεῖν, Elz., Scholz have κανόνι, τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν, which is wanting in A B א*, min. Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Hilar. Aug., et al. There are, besides, several variations, and differences in the arrangement of the words. The Recepta has arisen from glosses (following Galatians 6:16; Philippians 2:2), and has far too little homogeneousness in a critical point of view, to enable it to be defended on the ground of homoioteleuton (so Matth. and Rinck).

Philippians 3:21. After ἡμῶν, Elz. has εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτό, which (although defended by Matth.) is omitted by decisive authorities. An ancient supplement.

ἑαυτῷ] Following A B D* F G K P א*, min. Eus. Theophyl., αὐτῷ is, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be read; ἑαυτῷ is a more precise definition.

In Philippians 3:1 Paul seems already preparing to close his epistle; but at this point his attention is directed, perhaps by some special momentary occasion, to the party of anti-Pauline teachers, against which he at once breaks forth with vehemence and irony in Philippians 3:2, warning his readers against them; and thereafter, from Philippians 3:4-14, he sets forth in detail his own bearing as contrasted with the character of those false teachers.


Verse 1

Philippians 3:1. τὸ λοιπόν] introduces what is still to be done by the readers in addition to what has been hitherto communicated; see on Ephesians 6:10. Hence it is of frequent occurrence towards the close of the epistles, as bringing in a further request, exhortation, etc. Comp. Philippians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. To the closing address thus introduced, but at once abandoned again in Philippians 3:2, Paul would have attached his giving of thanks for the aid sent to him (comp. Philippians 4:8; Philippians 4:10 ff.). This is contrary to the view of Schinz and van Hengel, who, from the fact that Paul has not yet expressed his thanks, conclude that he did not at this point desire to proceed to the closing of the letter. We need not search for a connection with what precedes (Chrysostom: ἔχετε ἐπαφρόδιτον, διʼ ὃν ἠλγεῖτε, ἔχετε τιμόθεον, ἔρχομαι κἀγώ, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἐπιδίδωσι· τί ὑμῖν λείπει λοιπόν; comp. Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Michaelis, and others). The preceding topic is closed, and the exhortation beginning with τὸ λοιπ. which now follows stands by itself; so that we are not even justified in saying that Paul here passes from the particular to the general (Schinz, Matthies), but must simply assume that he is proceeding to the conclusion, which he desired to commence with this general encouragement.

χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ] is a summons to Christian joyfulness, which is not κατὰ κόσμον (see Chrysostom), but has its ground in Christ, and is thereby specifically defined, inasmuch as Christ—through the Holy Spirit—rules in the believing heart; hence the χαρὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου (1 Thessalonians 1:6) or ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ (Romans 14:17) are in substance not different from this (comp. Galatians 5:22). The subsequent double repetition of this encouragement (Philippians 4:4) is the result of the apostle’s special love for his readers, and of the whole tone of feeling pervading the epistle. Moreover, in ἐν κυρίῳ we are not to seek for a new special element, preparing the way for the transition to the explanations which follow (Weiss, Hofmann); for Paul could not in what went before mean any other joy, either on his own part (Philippians 1:18) or on the part of his readers (Philippians 2:17 f., 28), and in other passages also he does not add to χαίρετε the self-evident definition ἐν κυρίῳ (2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16). Another joy in the Christian life he knew not at all.

τὰ αὐτὰ γράφειν] “Hic incipit de pseudo-apostolis agere,” Calvin. After χαίρ. χ ἐν κ. there is a pause; Paul breaks off. τὰ αὐτά has been erroneously referred to χαίρ. ἐν κ., and in that case the retrospective reference which Paul had in view is either not explained at all (Bengel, Zachariae), or is believed to be found in Philippians 2:18 (van Hengel, Wiesinger), or in Philippians 1:27 f. (Matthies, Rilliet), or in Philippians 1:27 to Philippians 2:16 (Storr). This view is at variance, not indeed with the plural τὰ αὐτά (see, on the contrary, Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 19 D Mätzner, ad Antiph. p. 153; Kühner II. 1, p. 60), but with the facts, first, that there is no express summons whatever to Christian joyfulness generally, given in the previous portion of the epistle (not even in Philippians 2:18); secondly, that so simple and natural a summons—which, moreover, occurs again twice in Philippians 4:4—would certainly have least of all given rise to an apology for repetition; and lastly, that ἀσφαλές, in accordance with its idea (without danger), points not to the repetition of a summons of this kind, but to a warning, such as follows immediately in the context.(145) The accusation of poverty of thought (Baur) is therefore all the more groundless here. And as the altogether vague reference of Theodoret and Erasmus (Annotat.) to the numerous exhortations contained in the epistle generally, or to the fundamental tone of the letter hitherto (Weiss), is simply at variance with the literal import of the words, τὰ αὐτά cannot be interpreted as applicable to anything but the subsequent warning against the false teachers. This warning, however, has not occurred previously, either at Philippians 1:15 f., or indirectly in Philippians 1:27, as Lünemann thinks, or in Philippians 1:27 to Philippians 2:18, as Ewald assumes. Hence many have caught at the explanation: “eadem repetere, quae praesens dixeram” (Pelagius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, so also Erasmus, Paraphr., Calvin, Beza, Balduin, Estius, Calovius, Wolf, Schrader, and others; de Wette undecidedly). But this quae praesens dixeram is quite gratuitously imported; it must at least have been indicated by τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ γρ. ὑμ. or in some other way. The same objection applies against Wieseler (Chronol. d. apost. Zeitalt. p. 458 f.), who takes τὰ αὐτά as contrasted with the oral communications, which would be made to the readers by Epaphroditus and especially by Timothy. The only correct explanation, therefore, that remains is the assumption (which, however, is expressly rejected already by Theodoret) that Paul had already written what follows in an earlier epistle to the Philippians (146) which is not preserved, and that he here repeats the same. So Aegidius Hunnius, Haenlein, Bertholdt, Flatt, Köhler, in the Annal. d. ges. Theol. 1834, III. 1, p. 18 f.; Feilmoser, Bleek, Jatho, Schenkel, Bisping, Hilgenfeld, Hofmann; de Wette undecidedly. It must remain uncertain, however, whether this repetition covers Philippians 3:2 only, or Philippians 3:3 also, or a still larger portion of the sequel; as also, how far the repetition is a literal one, which seems to be the case with Philippians 3:2 from its peculiar character.

ὀκνηρόν] irksome, matter of scruple (Dem. 777. 5; Theocr. xxiv. 35; Pind. Nem. xi. 28; Herodian vi. 9, 7; Soph. O. R. 834), comp. οὐκ ὀκνητέον, Polyb. i. 14. 7, also Plat. Ep. II. 310 D: τἀληθῆ λέγειν οὔτε ὀκνήσω οὔτε σἰσχυνοῦμαι.

ἀσφαλές] safe, so that ye will the more firmly rely thereon for the determination of your conduct. Comp. Acts 25:26; Hebrews 6:19; Wisdom of Solomon 7:23; Plat. Rep. 450 E Phaed. p. 100 D E Dem. 372. 2, 1460. 15. Hofmann, without any precedent of usage, assigns to ὀκνηρόν the sense of indolent cowardice, and takes ἀσφαλές as prudent, which linguistically is admissible (Heind. ad Plat. Soph. p. 231 A), but would be unsuitable to the ὑμῖν. The apostle wishes to say, that the repetition is for himself not irksome ( ὄκνος, haesitatio), and is for his readers an ἀσφαλὲς τεκμήριον (Eur. Rhes. 94.) to be attended to.

NOTE.

This exegetical result, that, previously to our epistle, Paul had already written another to the Philippians,(147) is confirmed by Polycarp,(148) who, ad 3, says: τοῦ μακαρίου κ. ἐνδόξου παύλου, ὃς γενόμενος ἐν ὑμῖν κατὰ πρόσωπον τῶν τότε ἀνθρώπων ἐδίδαξεν ἀκριβῶς κ. βεβαίως τὸν περὶ ἀληθείας λόγον, ὃς καὶ ἀπὼν ὑμῖν ἔγραψεν ἐπιστολὰς, εἰς ἃς ἐὰν ἐγκύπτητε, δυνήσεσθε οἰκοδομεῖσθαι κ. τ. λ. It is true that the plur. in this passage ( ἐπιστολὰς, εἰς ἅς) is usually explained as referring to one epistle (see Cotelerius in loc.; and Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. II. p. 914 f.; Hilgenfeld, Apost. Väter, p. 210; J. B. Lightfoot, p. 138 f.), just as it is well known that also in profane authors ἑπιστολαί (comp. literae) is used of one despatch (Thuc. i. 132. 6, viii. 39. 2), sometimes generally in a generic sense as plural of the category, and sometimes specially of commissions and orders. See Schaefer, Plut. VI. p. 446; Blomf. and Stanl. ad Aesch. Prom. 3; Rettig, Quaest. Phil. II. p. 37 f. But there is the less ground for assuming this construction here, since doctrinal epistles, both in the N. T. and also in the apostolic Fathers, are always described by the singular when only one epistle is intended, and by the plural (as in 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 10:9-11; 2 Peter 3:16; comp. Acts 9:2; Acts 22:5) if more than one are meant,—a practice from which there is no exception (not even in 1 Corinthians 16:3), as, in fact, Polycarp, in regard to ἐπιστολή, elsewhere very definitely distinguishes between the singular and plural. See ch. 13: τὰς ἐπιστολὰς ἰγνατίου τὰς πεμφθείσας ἡμῖν ὑπʼ αὑτοῦ καὶ ἄλλας ὅσας εἴχομεν παρʼ ἡμῖνʼ ἐπέμψαμεν ὑμῖν, καθὼς ἑνετείλασθε· αἵτινες ὑποτεταγμέναι εἰσὶ τῆ πιστολῇ ταύτῃ. In order to prove that Polycarp in ch. 3. did not mean more than one epistle to the Philippians, an appeal has been made to ch. 4., where, in the Latin version, which alone has been preserved, it is said: “Ego autem nihil tale sensi in vobis vel audivi, in quibus laboravit beatus Paulus, qui estis (non-genuine addition: laudati) in principio epistolae ejus; de vobis enim gloriatur in omnibus ecclesiis, quæ Deum solae tunc cognoverant, nos autem nondum noveramus.” But epistolae ejus cannot here be the epistle to the Philippians, for the idea: “ye are in the beginning of his epistle,” would be simply absurd; epistolae is, on the contrary, the nominative plural, and the sense is: “Ye are originally his epistles,” that is, his letters of recommendation, in which phrase allusion is made to 2 Corinthians 3:1 ff.(149) The correctness of this explanation, which Wieseler has substantially adopted, is corroborated by the sequel: de vobis enim gloriatur, etc.

It is, moreover, à priori intelligible and likely enough that Paul should have corresponded with this church—which enjoyed his most intimate confidence, and the founding of which marked his entrance on his European labours—at an earlier period than merely now, almost at the close of his life. And Polycarp was sufficiently close to the time of the apostle, not merely to have inferred such a correspondence from our passage, but to have had a historical knowledge of it (in opposition to Hofmann).


Verse 2

Philippians 3:2. This is now the τὰ αὐτά which he had previously written, and probably in the very same words. At least this seems to be indicated by the peculiar expressions in themselves; and not only so, but it serves also to explain the relation of contrast, which this vehement “fervor pii zeli” (Calvin) presents to the tender and cordial tone of our epistle. That lost epistle had probably expressed the apostle’s mind at length, and with all the warmth of controversy, for the warning of his readers as to the Judaizing false teachers. How entirely different is the tone in which, in the present epistle, he speaks (Philippians 1:15 ff.) of teachers likewise of an anti-Pauline type, and labouring, indeed, at that time in his immediate neighbourhood! Comp., moreover, the remark after Philippians 1:18. Those who refer τὰ αὐτά to the χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ, labour in very different ways to establish a connection of thought with βλέπετε κ. τ. λ.; as, for instance, Wiesinger: that Paul wished to suggest, as a ground for the reiterated summons to joy in the Lord, the danger which was threatening them from the men described; Weiss: that the readers were to learn e contrario, on what the true Christian joy was, and on what it was not, based.

βλέπετε] not: be on your guard against, etc. (which would be βλ. ἀπό, Mark 8:15; Mark 12:38), but as a calling attention to: behold! (1 Corinthians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 10:18), with a view, however, to warn the readers against these men as pernicious, by pointing to the forbidding shape in which they present themselves.

τοὺς κύνας] a term of reproach among the Jews and the Greeks (frequently in Homer, who, however, also uses it without any dishonourable reference; see Duncan, Lex. ed. Rost. p. 674); used by the latter specially to denote impudence, furious boldness (Hom. Il. 8:289; Od. 17:248; Anth. Pal. 9:302), snappishness (Pollux, On. 5:65), low vulgarity (Lucian, Nigr. 22), malice and cunning (Jacobs, ad Anthol. VI. p. 18), and the like, see generally Wetstein; used also among the Jews in similar special references (Isaiah 56:10 f.; Deuteronomy 23:18; Revelation 22:15, et al.), and, because dogs were unclean animals, generally to denote the profane, impure, unholy (Matthew 7:6; Psalms 22:17; Revelation 22:15; Schoettgen, Hor. I. p. 1145); hence the Gentiles were so designated (see on Matthew 15:26). In this passage also the profane nature and demeanour of the false teachers, as contrasted with the holy character of true Christianity, is to be adhered to as the point of comparison (Chrysostom: οὐκέτι τέκνα ἰουδαῖοιὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοὶ καὶ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ ἀλλότριοι ἦσαν, οὕτω καὶ οὗτοι γεγόνασι νῦν). Any more special reference of the term—as to shamelessness (Chrysostom and many others, including Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald), covetousness (both combined by Grotius), snappishness (Rilliet, and older expositors, following Ambrosiaster, Augustine, and Pelagius), envy, and the like; or to the disorderly wandering about in selfishness and animosity towards those who were living peaceably in their Christian calling (Hofmann), to which Lange fancifully adds a loud howling against Paul,—is not furnished by the context, which, on the contrary, follows it up with yet another general designation, subjoining, namely, to that of the low, unholy character ( κύνας) that of the evil working: τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτ. Comp. 2 Corinthians 11:13. The opposite: 2 Timothy 2:15; Xen. Mem. i. 2. 57. ἐργάζονται μέν, φησιν, ἀλλʼ ἐπὶ κακῷ, καὶ ἀργίας πολλῷ χεῖρον ἔργον, ἀνασπῶντες τὰ καλᾶς κείμενα, Chrysostom; comp. Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact. They, in fact, laboured in opposition to the fundamental doctrine of justification by faith.

τὴν κατατομήν] the cutting in pieces (Theophr. H. pl. iv. 8. 12), a word formed after the analogy of περιτομή, and, like the latter in Philippians 3:3, used in a concrete sense: those who are cut in pieces! A bitter paronomasia, because these men were circumcised merely as regards the body, and placed their confidence in this fleshly circumcision, but were wanting in the inner, spiritual circumcision, which that of the body typified (see Philippians 3:3; Romans 2:28 f.; Colossians 2:11; Ephesians 2:11; Acts 7:51). Comp. Galatians 5:11 f. In the absence of this, their characteristic consisted simply in the bodily mutilation, and that, from the ideal point of view which Paul here occupies, was not circumcision, but concision; whilst, on the other hand, circumcision, as respected its moral idea, was entirely independent of the corporeal operation, Philippians 3:3. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 439, ed. 2. This qualitative distinction between περιτ. and κατατ. has been misunderstood by Baur, who takes the climax as quantitative, and hence sees in it a warped and unnatural antithesis, which is only concocted to give the apostle an opportunity of speaking of his own person. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact justly lay stress on the abolition of the legal circumcision as such brought about through Christ (the end of the law, Romans 10:4),—a presupposition which gives to this antinomistic sarcasm its warrant.(150) A description of idolatry, with allusion to Leviticus 21:5, 1 Kings 18:28, et al. (Storr, Flatt, J. B. Lightfoot; comp. Beza), is quite foreign to the context. It is erroneous also to discover here any indication of a cutting off of hearts from the faith (Luther’s gloss), or a cutting in pieces of the church (Theodoret, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Hammond, Clericus, Michaelis, Zachariae, and others), against which the necessary (comp. Philippians 3:3) passive signification of the word (not cutters in pieces, but cut in pieces) is decisive.

The thrice repeated βλέπετε belongs simply to the ἐπι΄ονὴ of earnest emotion (Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 315; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 341 [E. T. 398]), so that it points to the same dangerous men, and does not, as van Hengel misconceives, denote three different classes of Jewish opponents, viz. the apostate, the heretical, and the directly inimical. The passage quoted by him from Philostr., Vit. Soph. Philippians 2:1, does not bear upon the point, because in it the three repetitions of ἔβλεψε are divided by ΄ὲν δέ. Weiss also refers the three designations to three different categories, namely: (1) the unconverted heathen, with their immoral life; (2) the self-seeking Christian teachers, Philippians 1:15-17; and (3) the unbelieving Jews, with their carnal conceit. But the first and third categories introduce alien elements, and the third cannot be identified with those mentioned at Philippians 1:15-17, but must mean persons much more dangerous. In opposition to the whole misinterpretation, see Huther in the Mecklenb. Zeitschr. p. 626 ff. All the three terms must characterize one class of men as in three aspects deserving of detestation, namely the Judaizing false teachers. As is evident from τ. κατατομήν and Philippians 3:3 ff., they belonged to the same fundamentally hostile party against which Paul contends in the Epistle to the Galatians. At the same time, since the threefold repetition of the article pointing them out may be founded upon the very notoriety of these men, and yet does not of necessity presuppose a personal acquaintance with them, it must be left an open question, whether they had already come to Philippi itself, or merely threatened danger from some place in its vicinity. It is certain, however, though Baur still regards it as doubtful, that Paul did not refer to his opponents in Rome mentioned in Philippians 1:15 ff. (Heinrichs), because in the passage before us a line of teaching must be thought of which was expressly and in principle anti-Pauline, leading back into Judaism and to legal righteousness; and also because the earnest, demonstrative βλέπετε, as well as ἀσφαλές (Philippians 3:2), can only indicate a danger which was visibly and closely threatening the readers. It is also certain that these opponents could not as yet have succeeded in finding adherents among the Philippians; for if this had been the case, Paul would not have omitted to censure the readers themselves (as in the Epistle to the Galatians and Second Corinthians), and he would have given a very different shape generally to his epistle, which betrays nothing but a church as yet undivided in doctrine. His language directed against the false teachers is therefore merely warning and precautionary, as is also shown in Philippians 3:3.


Verse 3

Philippians 3:3. Justification of the preceding τ. κατατομήν; not, however, “an evident copy” of 2 Corinthians 11:18 f. (Baur), but very different from the latter passage amidst the corresponding resemblances which the similarity of subject suggested; in both cases there is Pauline originality.

ἡμεῖς] with emphasis: we, not they. The κατατομή being not the unconverted Jews, but Christian Judaizers, the contrasted ἡμεῖς cannot mean the Christians generally (Weiss), but only those who, in the apostle’s sense, were true and right Christians, whose more definite characterization-immediately follows. The ἡμεῖς are the ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ of Galatians 6:15 f., the members of the people of God in the sense of the Pauline gospel, and not merely Paul and the true teachers of the gospel (Hofmann),—a restriction which the exclusiveness of the predicate, especially furnished as it is with the article, does not befit; in Philippians 3:17 the context stands otherwise.

περιτομή] If this predicate belongs to us, not to those men, then, in regard to the point of circumcision, nothing remains for the latter but the predicate κατατομή! As the ἡμεῖς, among whom the readers also were included, were for the most part uncircumcised (Galatians 2:9; Galatians 2:3; Ephesians 2:11), it is clear that Paul here takes περιτομή purely in the antitypical spiritual sense, according to which the circumcised are those who, since the reception of baptism, are regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and therefore members of the true people of God; the investiture with their new moral condition is typically prefigured by the legal bodily περιτομή of the Jewish theocracy. Comp. Romans 2:29; Romans 4:10 f.; Ephesians 2:11; Colossians 2:11; Acts 7:51. Whether the bodily circumcision was present or not, and whether, therefore, the subjects were Jewish or Gentile Christians, was in that case matter of indifference, 1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 3:28; Galatians 5:6. Comp. the further amplification of the thought in Barnab. Ep. 9.

οἱ πνεύματι θεοῦ κ. τ. λ.] We who serve through the Spirit of God, in contrast to the external, legal λατρεία, (Romans 9:4).(151) Comp. Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 9:14; Romans 12:1 f. With this λατρεία, wrought by the Holy Spirit,(152) there takes place on the part of man (comp. Romans 1:9), but in virtue of that very working of the Holy Spirit, the worship which is required in John 4:24. The article οἱ extends also to the two participles which follow; and the arthrous participles (quippe qui colimus, etc.) contain the experimental proof that the ἡμεῖς are the περιτο΄ή. The dative πνεύ΄ατι denotes neither the standard (van Hengel) nor the object (Hilgenfeld), which latter view would amount to the conception, foreign to the N. T., of a worship of the Holy Spirit—but is instrumental, expressing the inward agent (Romans 5:5; Romans 8:14 f., et al.). vi spiritus divini (Romans 8:13, et al.). On the absolute λατρεύειν, to render divine worship, comp. Luke 2:37; Acts 26:7; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:2; Romans 9:4; Romans 3 Esdr. 4:54.

καυχώμ. ἐν χ. .] and who glory in Christ Jesus (as Him through whom alone we have attained righteousness, etc., see Philippians 3:9; comp. Galatians 6:14), not in our own privileges and legal performances, as those false teachers do, who place their confidence in what is fleshly, i.e. in that which belongs to material human nature and has nothing in common with the divine blessings of the Christian (such as circumcision, descent, outward observance of the law, comp. Philippians 3:4-6). Hence the contrast: καὶ οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθότες, with which the disposition of mind contrary to the καυχᾶσθαι ἐν χ. . (from which disposition the καυχᾶσθαι, opposed to that Christian καυχᾶσθαι, of itself results) is negatived; so that this contrast is pregnant, belonging, however, by way of antithesis, to the second statement, and not containing a separate third one (Hofmann). if κ. οὐκ ἐν σ. πεπ. were merely a more precise definition of purport added to καυχ. ἐν χ. . (Weiss), it must have been added without καί. As to οὐκ in the passage, referring to concrete persons and a definite fact, and negativing not merely the ἐν σαρκί (Hofmann), but the actual position ἐν σ. πεποιθ., see Winer, p. 451 f. [E. T. 609]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 276 f.


Verse 4

Philippians 3:4. By the οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθ., which he had just used, Paul finds himself led to his own personal position; for he was, in fact, the proper organ of the anti-Judaizing tendency expressed in Philippians 3:3, and the real object against which the whole conflict with it was ultimately directed. Hence, by the words οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθ. he by no means intends to concede that he is destitute of that πεποίθησις which was founded on externals;(153) no, in this respect also he has more to show than others, down to Philippians 3:6. (154) So no one might say that he was despising what he himself did not possess.

The classical καίπερ with the participle (only used here by Paul; and elsewhere in the N.T. only in Hebrews 5:8, et al.; 2 Peter 1:12), adds to the adversative sentence a limiting concessive clause (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 201 f.), and that in such a way, that from the collective subject of the former the apostle now with emphasis singles out partitively his own person ( ἐγώ).(155) If, following the Homeric usage, he had separated the two particles, he would have written: καὶ ἐγώ περ.; if he had expressed himself negatively, he would have said: οὐδέπερ ἑγώ οὐκ ἔχων.

The confidence also in flesh, i.e. in such circumstances as belong to the sphere of the materially human, is in ἔχων (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:4) conceived as a possession; he has this confidence, namely, from his personal position as an Israelite—a standpoint which, laying out of view for the moment his Christian transformation, he boldly adopts, in order to measure himself with his Judaistic opponents on their own ground of proud confidence, and thereupon in Philippians 3:7 ff. yet again to abandon this standpoint and to make those Israelitish advantages vanish into nothing before the light of his vital position as a Christian. Hence the πεποίθησις, his possession of which he in the first instance urges, is not fiduciae argumentum (Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, and others, including Flatt, Hoelemann, and Weiss); nor is the possession of it to be viewed as something which he might have (Storr, Rilliet, Matthies, Ewald); nor is it to be referred to the pre-Christian period of the apostle’s life (van Hengel). The latter is also the view of Hofmann, who holds ἔχων (and then διώκων also) as the imperfect participle, and gives to the whole passage the involved misinterpretation: that καίπερ introduces a protasis, the apodosis of which follows with ἀλλά in Philippians 3:7. In accordance with this view, Philippians 3:4 is supposed to mean: “Although I possessed a confidence, and that, indeed, based on such matters as are flesh, if any other ventures to trust in such things, I for my part possessed confidence in a higher degree”. This is erroneous; first, because the familiar ἀλλά of the apodosis is used indeed after καίτοι (with finite tense; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 68 E Parm. p. 128 C), but not after the common καίπερ with participle, attaching itself to a governing verb; secondly, because καί before ἐν σαρκί means nothing else than also, which does not suit the interpretation of Hofmann, who desires to force upon it the here inappropriate sense, and that indeed; thirdly, because the present δοκεῖ presupposes the present sense for ἔχων also; and lastly, because with ἐγὼ ΄ᾶλλον the present (in accordance with the preceding δοκεῖ), and not the imperfect, again suggests itself as to be supplied. And how awkward would be the whole form of expression for the, after all, very simple idea!

τις ἄλλος] quite generally: any other person, but the intended application to the above-mentioned Judaizers was obvious to the reader. See the sequel. The separation by δοκεῖ lays all the stronger stress on the τίς.

δοκεῖ] not: “thinks to be able to confide” (de Wette and many others); nor yet: “si quis alius videtur” (Vulgate), since it is a matter depending not upon the judgment of others, but upon his own fancy, according to the connection. Hence: if any one allows himself to think, if he presumes. Just in the same way, as in the passage parallel also in substance, Matthew 3:9. Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:16.

ἐγὼ μᾶλλον] sc. δοκῶ πεπ. ἐν σαρκί, I for my part presume it still more. This mode of expression implies a certain boldness, defiance; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:21.


Verse 5-6

Philippians 3:5-6. Predicates of the ἐγώ, by which that ἐγὼ μᾶλλον is justified.

If those Judaizers were, as may be inferred from our passage, partly proselytes (to these the περιτ. ὀκταήμ. stands in contrast), partly persons whose Jewish descent was not so noble and pure as that implied in ἐκ γένους.… ἑβραίων, and if they could not boast of any such law-strictness, zealous activity, and righteousness, as is described in κατὰ νόμονἄμεμπτος; and if, on the other hand, there were found conjoined in the case of Paul the elements here adduced of ancient theocratic legitimacy and perfection; the ἐγὼ μᾶλλον in Philippians 3:4 was completely made good.

περιτομῇ ὀκταήμ.] in respect to circumcision an eighth-day-one, not older, as were the proselytes who were only circumcised at a later period of life. The eighth-day character in the’ relation specified by περιτομῇ is conceived as a quality of the persons concerned, which distinguishes them from those circumcised later.(156) The reading περιτομή as nominative (some min. and Fathers, Erasmus, Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, Mill, Bengel, Matthies, Heinrichs, and others, also Elz. 1624, 1633, not 1641), so that it would stand in the concrete sense (circumcisus), is erroneous, because this usage occurs only collectively.

ἐκ γένους ἰσρ.] that is, a descendant of Jacob, not, therefore, possibly of Idumaean blood. The theocratic name ἰσρ. corresponds entirely with the design of the passage. Comp. on Ephesians 2:12. On what follows, comp. 2 Corinthians 11:22; Romans 11:1.

φυλῆς βενια΄.] therefore not, possibly, an Ephraimite (Ezra 4:1); a climactic more precise definition of the εὐγένεια; εὐγενὴς γὰρ φύσις κἀξ εὐγενῶν Soph. Phil. 862 (874). For its fuller exhibition Paul finally specifies the last feature of his lineage: ἑβραῖος ἐξ ἑβρ., that is, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents, so that his mother also was a Hebrew woman. His lineage is not carried further back in respect to both parents, because it was not the custom to trace back the genealogy of the wives. Inappropriate to the context is the rendering of Michaelis, following Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and Theophylact: “one speaking Hebrew, born of Hebrew-speaking parents.” It is also erroneous, following the Greek Fathers, to take ἐξ ἑβρ. of the tota majorum series (Beza, Grotius, Storr, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others), because this was after the two previously specified points self-evident. If, among his ancestors, Paul had had one who was a non-Hebrew, he would not have been descended from Jacob and Benjamin, but from the non-Hebrew and his forefathers. For instances of expressions quite similar to ἑβρ. ἐξ ἑβρ., used to denote the identity, as conditioned by birth, of a man’s position with that of his parents, see Wetstein and Kypke; they occur very frequently in classic authors.

κατὰ νό΄ον κ. τ. λ.] After his Jewish εὐγένεια there now follows his distinguished personal position in Judaism, set forth in a threefold climactic gradation: (1) In respect of the law (of Moses) a Pharisee. Comp. Acts 26:5; Acts 22:6. The Pharisees stood in the closest and strictest relation to the law, as they with their traditions were regarded as the most orthodox expositors, defenders, and observers of it. The interpretation of νόμον, not in its habitual historic sense, but generally as regular rule (Beza) or disciplina ( αἵρεσις) (Castalio, Wolf, Grotius, Storr, Heinrichs, Rheinwald, Hoelemann, and others), is all the more erroneous, since the validity of the Mosaic law in Christianity was the very principle upheld by those Judaizers; see also below, δικαιοσ. τ. ἐν νόμῳ. (2) In respect of zeal (zealous maintenance and championship of the law-religion, 1 Maccabees 2:58; Acts 21:20; Galatians 1:14), a persecutor of the church. Comp. Galatians 1:13 f. The present participle is used as a substantive, comp. on Galatians 1:23. What Paul, to his deep grief, had been (1 Corinthians 15:8 f.; 1 Timothy 1:13), he, with a bitter recalling of his former distinction in Judaism, throws, by way of confronting the Jewish zealots, into the scale, as a characteristic predicate not yet extinct. And precisely thus, unaccompanied by any ποτέ as in Galatians 1:23, it carries from the standpoint to which he has now attained very strong weight (in opposition to Hofmann, who holds the present sense to be impossible here). (3) In respect to righteousness, which is grounded on the law, having become blameless (Philippians 2:15), having carried it so far (not: having borne myself so, as Hofmann renders it; comp. on Philippians 2:15), that human judgment finds nothing in me to blame in this respect! That which is here denoted by δικ. ἐν νόμῳ is not substantially different from δικ. ἐκ νό΄ου in Philippians 3:9; comp. Romans 10:5. It has its basis in the law, so far as it consists in the accordance of its nature with the character and the rules of that institute (Galatians 3:11; Galatians 5:4), and proceeds from the law, so far as it is produced by the precepts of the latter which man follows. In opposition to the correlation with Philippians 3:9 de Wette interprets: “the righteousness valid in the state of law (comp. Romans 2:12).” Calvin appropriately observes that Paul means “totam justitiam legis,” but “communi hominum existimatione;” that it is not, therefore, the real moral fulfilment of the law, but its justitia externa literalis. Comp. J. Müller, v. d. Sünde, I. p. 59, ed. 5.


Verse 7

Philippians 3:7. Now, with the antithetic ἀλλά, the apostle comes again to his real standpoint, far transcending any πεποιθέναι ἐν σαρκί, and says: No! everything that was gain to me, etc.

ἅτινα] quaecunque, the category of the matters specified in Philippians 3:5-6. (157) The emphasis is to be placed on this word; comp. ταῦτα subsequently.

ἦν ΄οι κέρδη] is not the dative of opinion (Erasmus, Beza, and many others, including Heinrichs, Rheinwald, Hoelemann, Matthies, de Wette, Hofmann; comp. van Hengel, who takes κέρδη as lucra opinata); but such things were to the apostle in his pre-Christian state really gain ( κατὰ σάρκα). By means of them he was within the old theocracy put upon a path which had already brought him repute and influence, and promised to him yet far greater honours, power, and wealth in the future; a career rich in gain was opened up to him. The plural κέρδη denotes the various advantages dependent on such things as have been mentioned. Frequently used also in the classical writers.

ταῦτα] emphatically: these very things.

διὰ τὸν χ.] for the sake of Christ, who had become the highest interest of my life. Paul explains himself more particularly in Philippians 3:8-9, explanations which are not to be here anticipated.

ζημίαν] as harm, that is, as disadvantageous (the contrast to κέρδος; comp. Plat, de lucri cup. p. 226 E, Leg. viii. p. 835 B), because, namely, they had been impediments to the conversion to Christ, and that owing to the false moral judgment and confidence attaching to them. Comp. Form. Conc. p. 708; Calvin on Philippians 3:8. This one disadvantage he has seen in everything of which he is speaking; hence the plural is not again used here as previously in κέρδη. The ἥγη΄αι (perfect), however, has occurred, and is an accomplished fact since his conversion, to which the apostle here glances back. On ἡγεῖσθαι ζημίαν, comp. Sturz, Lex. Xen. II. p. 454; Lucian, Lexiph. 24; on the relation of the singular to the plural κέρδη, Eur. Cycl. 311: πολλοῖσι κέρδη πονηρὰ ζημίαν ἠμείψατο.


Verse 8

Philippians 3:8. ἀλλά is the climactic but, still, much more, giving a corrective reference of the sense, signifying that with the previous ἅτιναζημίαν there has not yet been enough said. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 7:11. In the μὲν οὖν it is implied, that “ μὲν rem praesentem confirmet, οὖν autem conclusionem ex rebus ita comparatis conficiat,” Klotz, ad Devar. p. 663. Hence ἀλλὰ μὲν οὖν: at quidem igitur. The καί before ἡγοῦμαι (after ἀλλὰ μ. οὖν) serves also to help the climactic sense, outbidding what has been said previously: etiam, i.e. adeo. It is consequently to be explained: but, accordingly, I am even of opinion that everything (not merely what was meant by ἅτινα in Philippians 3:7) is a disadvantage. It is clear, withal, from the following διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον κ. τ. λ. that πάντα is meant indeed without restriction, of all things, goods, honours, etc. (comp. also Hofmann), but in so far as they are not made subordinate to the knowledge of Christ. The explanation of others, according to which ἀλλὰ μὲν οὖν is intended to oppose the present ἡγοῦμαι by way of correction to the perfect ἥγημαι (Calvin and others, including Winer, p. 412 [E. T. 552], and the explanation hitherto given by me), is incorrect, because ἥγημαι, and not the aorist ἡγησάμην, was employed previously, and the perfect already involves the continuance of the opinion in the present, so that no contrast of the tenses would logically be elicited. The climactic contrast lies rather in the fact that the second ἡγεῖσθαι ζημίαν is a much more comprehensive one than the first, in fact, one without exception ( πάντα).

διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον κ. τ. λ.] on account of the surpassingness of the knowledge of Christ; that is, because this knowledge, to which I have attained, is a possession which excels in value everything else; the eminent quality of a possession attained is the ground ( διά) for estimating other possessions according to their relation to that one, and consequently, if they stand to the latter in a relation hindersome to us, for looking upon them no longer as something advantageous, but as hurtful. As to the neuter adjective used as a substantive with the genitive, in order to the more prominent setting forth of the attribute, see Bernhardy, p. 155 f.; Winer, p. 220 [E. T. 294].

χριστὸς ἰησοῦς κυριός μοῦ; this is the fundamental sum of the whole contents of Christian knowledge. This saving knowledge is the necessary intelligence of faith (comp. on John 8:32), and grows with the experience of faith (Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 3:16 ff.).

διʼ ὅν] for the sake of whom, i.e. for the sake of possessing Him; comp. afterwards ἵνα χριστὸναὐτῷ.

τὰ πάντα] the whole, not general like πάντα previously (Hofmann), but: which I possessed, Philippians 3:5-7. This more precise definition by the article results from ἐζημιώθην, in connection with which the aorist is to be noted, by which Paul denotes that great historical turning-point in his life, the event of his conversion; through that event he has lost all his (pre-Christian) valued possessions,(158) and thenceforth he has them no more. Luther erroneously interprets: “considered as harm;” and the emotion and force of the expression are only weakened by the frequently given reflexive sense (see Beza, Calvin, Heinrichs, Flatt, Hoelemann, van Hengel, and many): I have made myself lose,—a meaning, besides, which cannot be shown to belong to the passive form of the aorist of this verb (not even in Luke 9:25). The future passive form ζημιωθήσομαι (see Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iii. 9. 12, Thuc. iii. 40. 2) is invariably damno afficiar.

καὶ ἡγοῦμαι κ. τ. λ.] not to be taken as independent (de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Weiss), but, in keeping with the climactic flow of the discourse, as still in continuous connection with διʼ ὃν κ. τ. λ.; hence διʼ ὃν τ. π. ἐζη΄. is not, with van Hengel, to be put in a parenthesis. Paul had become loser of all these things for Christ’s sake, and he holds them as not worthy of possession, but as rubbish! σκύβαλον,(159) refuse (such as sweepings, dung, husks, and the like); Sirach 27:4; Plut. Mor. p. 352 D and see Wetstein ad loc.; frequently in the Anthol., see Jacobs, Ach. Tat. p. 522, ad Anthol. VII. p. 173, IX. p. 208. Comp. the similar figurative expressions περικάθαρμα and περιψή΄α, 1 Corinthians 4:13.

ἵνα χ. κερδ.] The design in the ἡγοῦ΄αι σκύβ. εἶναι: in order to gain Christ, not the aim of τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην (Hofmann), there being no reason for such a retrospective reference. The gaining of Christ, i.e. the appropriation of Him by means of the fellowship brought about through faith, is that, which for him is to take the place of those former κέρδη which he has lost, and so he looked to this gain in his ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα εἶναι; it is present to his view as the one and highest gain at which he has to aim. It is true that Paul has Christ already long ago (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:3); nevertheless, this κερδαίνειν is from its nature a development, the completion of which still lies before him. Comp. Philippians 3:12 ff.


Verse 9

Philippians 3:9. καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ] and to be found in Him. The emphasis, which previously lay upon χριστόν, is laid not upon ἐν αὐτῷ (Hofmann), but upon the εὑρεθῶ placed first for that reason, and introducing a new feature of the relation aimed at, annexing to the (subjective) gaining of Christ the (objective) moulding of life corresponding to it. The apostle desires to be found in Christ, as in the element of his life; by this he means (comp. Ignatius, Eph. 11) the whole perceptible manifestation of his Christian being and nature; so that εὑρ. must neither be limited to the judicium Dei (Beza, comp. Flatt), nor taken as sim (Grotius and others). Calvin erroneously makes εὑρεθῶ active: Paulum renuntiasse omnibus quae habebat, ut recuperaret in Christo.

μὴ ἔχων κ. τ. λ.] Specific modal definition to εὑρ. ἐν αὐτῷ: so that I, in accordance with this design, may not have, etc. Van Hengel erroneously connects (Lachmann, also, and Tischendorf have omitted the comma after αὐτῷ) μὴ ἔχων κ. τ. λ. immediately with εὑρ. ἐν αὐτῷ· et deprehendar in communione ejus non meam qualemcunque habere probitatem. Thus, indeed, ἐν αὐτῷ would be utterly superfluous! The subjective negation μή flows from the conception of design ( ἵνα), see Baeumlein, Partik. p. 295; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 302 [E. T. 351]; and ἔχων is the simple habens, possessing, not: holding fast (am Ende, Rheinwald, Baumgarten-Crusius).

ἐμὴν δικ. τὴν ἐκ νόμου] See on Philippians 3:6; comp. Romans 10:3. It is the righteousness acquired as a self-achievement ( ἐμήν), which proceeds from the law by means of a justifying compliance with it (Romans 2:13). As to the nature of this righteousness, and the impossibility of attaining it, comp. Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:10; Romans 3:19 f., Romans 4:4, Romans 7:7 ff., Romans 9:31, et al.

τὴν διὰ πίστ. χριστοῦ] contrast to ἐμήν: that procured by faith in Christ(160) (as the causa apprehendens). The causa efficiens is God (His grace, see Ephesians 2:8); hence, for the complete exhaustion of the matter, τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικ. is added, in which ἐκ θεοῦ, correlative to the preceding ἐκ νόμου, expresses the causal issuing from God. As to the way in which this ἐκ θεοῦ takes place, namely, by God’s imputing faith as righteousness,(161) see Romans 1:17; Romans 3:24 f., Philippians 4:3 ff.; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Galatians 3:6.

ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει] on the ground of faith (Acts 3:16), added at the end with solemn emphasis, and dependent on ἔχων, which is again to be supplied after ἀλλά. So also Weiss. The repetition of ἔχων after ἐπὶ τ. πίστει, which Hofmann feels the want of in this explanation, would be simply superfluous and clumsy. ἐπὶ τ. π. is usually attached to δικαιοσύνην (“justitiam superstructam fidei,” Hoelemann, Wiesinger), some having taken ἐπί as “in fide” (Vulgate, Calvin), or in fide sitam (Castalio); others as “per fidem” (Beza, Grotius); others, for the sake of faith (de Wette); others, upon the condition of faith (Storr, Flatt, Matthies, Rilliet, van Hengel, J. B. Lightfoot). But it may be urged against this connection, first, that, in accordance with the previous definitions, we could not but expect the repetition of the article; secondly, that δικαιοῦσθαι with ἐπί nowhere occurs in the N. T.; and lastly, that δικαιοσύνη in its quality as righteousness of faith was already distinctly designated by τὴν διὰ πίστ. χ., so that the same attribute of it would be expressed twice, and, on the other hand, the ἔχων which is to be repeated after ἀλλά (the basis of which is still ἐπὶ τ. π.) would be without any more precise definition. In opposition to Hofmann, who makes ἐπὶ τ. πίστει belong to the following infinitive clause, see on Philippians 3:10.


Verse 10

Philippians 3:10. Telic definition of the relation expressed by μὴ ἔχων κ. τ. λ. in Philippians 3:9. Paul has not the righteousness of the law, but the righteousness of faith, in order to know, etc. This knowledge would fail him if, on the contrary, instead of the righteousness of faith, he had that of the law. So he reverts to a more detailed illustration of τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως χ., Philippians 3:8, expressing, in the first place, again generally the great personal contents of the knowledge accruing from the righteousness of faith ( τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτόν), and next, more particularly, the most important—especially to the apostle in his position infinitely important—matters which were its objects ( τὴν δύναμιν κ. τ. λ.), developing them from his own richest experience, which had thus brought home to his deepest consciousness the ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως χ. The τοῦ γνῶναι might also be conceived as dependent on εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ (Wiesinger, Schneckenburger, Schenkel); but the more precise definition of this εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ by μὴ ἔχων κ. τ. λ. is so important, earnest, and solemn, that it most naturally carries with it also the statement of aim which follows. Chrysostom joins ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει to Philippians 3:10 : τί δέ ἐστὶν ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτόν; ἄρα διὰ πίστεως γνῶσις, καὶ πίστεως ἄνευ γνῶναι αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔστι. So also Theodoret and Erasmus, and recently Hofmann (comp. also his Schriftbew. I. p. 618), who, in doing so, takes ἐπί in and by itself correctly as on the ground of faith. But such cases of emphatic prefixing, while they are certainly found with ἵνα (see on Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:18), are not found before the genitive of the infinitive with the article, which represents the expression with ἵνα, but in such infinitive clauses only between article and infinitive; hence Paul would have written τοῦ ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει γνῶναι. Comp. Romans 8:12; 1 Corinthians 16:4. Hofmann improperly appeals, not any longer indeed to Revelation 12:7, but, doing violence to the position of the words in the LXX., to 2 Samuel 6:2; Isaiah 10:32. According to Castalio, Calvin, Grotius, Bengel, and others, the genitive τοῦ γν. is meant to depend on τῇ πίστει; “describit vim et naturam fidei, quod scilicet sit Christi cognitio” (Calvin). But πίστις is never joined with the genitive of the infinitive with the article; and, besides, not the nature, but the object of the faith (Philippians 3:9) would be denoted by the genitive (Colossians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, et al.). Nor is τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτόν to be regarded as parallel with ἵνα χ. κερδήσω κ. εὑρ. ἐν αὐτῷ (Estius, Storr, Heinrichs, and others, including Rheinwald, Hoelemann, Rilliet, de Wette, Winer), since it is in itself arbitrary to despise the appropriate dependence on what immediately precedes, and to go back instead to ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα εἶναι; and since in ἵνα χριστὸν κερδ. κ. εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ two elements are given, a subjective and an objective one, so that thus there would be presented no parallel corresponding with the subjective τοῦ γνῶναι κ. τ. λ. Moreover, Paul is in the habit of introducing two parallel clauses of design with a double ἵνα (Romans 7:13; Galatians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 9:3).

The γνῶναι, which both conditions the faith and also in fuller development follows it (see on Philippians 3:8), is not the discursive, or generally theoretical and speculative knowing, but the inwardly salutary, experimental becoming-acquainted-with (“qui expertus non fuerit, non intelliget,” Anselm), as is plain from τὴν δύναμιν κ. τ. λ. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 8:2; Galatians 4:9, et al.; frequently so used in John. See also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 421, ed. 2.

καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστ. αὐτοῦ καὶ τ. κοινων. τ. παθ. αὐτ.] and (that is, and especially) the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. The δύναμ. τ. ἀναστ. αὐτ. is not the power by which He has been raised (Vatablus, Grotius; comp. Matthies), which would be quite unsuitable to the context, but the power which the resurrection of Christ has, its vis el efficacia in respect to believers. The special point that Paul has in view, is supplied by the context through what is said immediately before of the righteousness of faith, to which τοῦ γνῶναι κ. τ. λ. refers. He means the powerful guarantee of justification and salvation which the resurrection of Christ affords to believers; see Romans 4:25; Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 15:17; Acts 13:37-38. This power of the resurrection is experienced, not by him that is righteous through the law, but by him that is righteous through faith, to whom the resurrection of the Lord brings the constant energetic certainty of his reconciliation procured by Jesus’ death and the completion of eternal life (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Colossians 3:1 ff.; Philippians 3:21). Comp. also Romans 8:34, where this δύναμις τῆς ἀναστ. is triumphant in the apostle. As a matter of course, this power, in virtue of which the resurrection of Christ, according to 1 Corinthians 15:17, Romans 4:25, might be described as “complementum redemtionis” (Calvin), is already in regeneration experimentally known, as is Christ generally ( αὐτόν); but Paul speaks from the consciousness that every element of the regenerate life, which has τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει, is an ever new perception of this power. The view which understands it of the moral power of awakening (Beza and others, also van Hengel; comp. Rilliet), according to Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12, or the living power of victory, which lies for the believer in the resurrection of Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 4:10, Galatians 2:20, Philippians 4:13,—by means of which the Christian, “through his glorified Lord, himself also possesses an infinite new power of acquiring victory over the world and death” (Ewald, comp. de Wette, Schneckenburger, Wiesinger, Schenkel; substantially also Hofmann),—does not accord either with the words themselves (for so understood it would be the power of the risen Christ, not the power of His resurrection), or with the following κ. τὴν κοινωνίαν τῶν παθημ. αὐτοῦ, which, in a logical point of view (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12), must either have gone before, or have been expressed by ἐν τῇ κοινωνίᾳ κ. τ. λ. The certainty of our own resurrection and glory (Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Storr, Heinrichs, Hoelemann, and others; comp. Pelagius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, and Theophylact) is necessarily included also in the δύναμις, without, however, being exclusively meant. By the series sermonis Bengel (comp. Samuel Crell) has allowed himself to be misled into explaining ἀνάστασις, not of the resurrection at all, but of the exortus or adventus of the Messiah. References of various kinds are mixed up by Rheinwald, Flatt, Schinz, Usteri, and others.

καὶ τὴν κοινων. τῶν παθημ. αὐτοῦ] In these words Paul intends to express—and he does so by the repetition of the article with a certain solemnity—a second, highly valuable relation, conditioned by the first, to the experimental knowledge of which the possession of the righteousness of faith was destined to lead him, namely, the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ, in which he sees a high proof of divine grace and distinction (Philippians 1:29, Philippians 2:17 f.). Comp. Colossians 1:24. Suffering for the sake of Christ’s cause is a participation in Christ’s sufferings (a συμπάσχειν, Romans 8:17), because, as respects the characteristic kind and way of suffering, one suffers the same that Christ suffered (according to the ethical category, drinks of the same cup which Christ drank, Matthew 20:22). Comp. 1 Peter 4:13, and see on 2 Corinthians 1:5, Colossians 1:24; also on τὴν νέκρωσιν τοῦ ἰησοῦ, 2 Corinthians 4:10. The explanation which makes it: suffering with such a disposition of mind as He suffered (as stedfastly, etc.), given by Flatt and others, is imported from a rationalistic point of view; and the view which takes it in the sense of: the believing appropriation of the merit of Christ (Calovius, Rheinwald, and others), is opposed to the words, and at variance with the habitual conception of a real συμπάσχειν with Christ, under which the sufferings of Christian martyrs were regarded. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, have already in substance the correct view. Observe, moreover, that Paul has not written τὴν δύναμιν τῆς κοινωνίας κ. τ. λ. (Hoelemann: “vim ac pondus;” de Wette: “all that this fellowship involves;” comp. Corn, a Lapide: “dulcedinem ac sanctitatem”); the γνῶναι, on the contrary, relates to the matter itself, to the knowledge of which only those righteous by faith can attain, whilst to those righteous by the law it remains an unknown element; the subjectivity for it is wanting to the latter, though the objective suffering is present. It was otherwise with the previous element; for the resurrection of Christ in itself—the fact as such—is known also by him who is righteous through the law, but not so its δύναμις, of which only the righteous through faith is aware. The knowledge of this δύναμις, in virtue of which he experiences in the resurrection of Christ the abiding divinely effectual guarantee of his justification and eternal life, makes him capable also of recognising in his sufferings for the sake of the gospel a fellowship in the sufferings of Christ; the latter knowledge is conditioned by the former; he would not have it without the former, because he would be driven to look upon his faith as vain and idle, and upon himself, so far as he suffers, as ἐλεεινότερον πάντων ἀνθρώπων (1 Corinthians 15:14; 1 Corinthians 15:17; 1 Corinthians 15:19). The enthusiastic feeling of drinking the cup of Christ is not possible, unless a man bears in his heart the mighty assurance of salvation through the resurrection of the Lord.

συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ] denotes the corresponding situation (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:10), in which Paul was conscious that he should know, as one righteous by faith, the κοινωνίαν τῶν παθ. χριστοῦ: inasmuch as I am made like to His death; for his position then was such that he saw himself threatened with martyrdom, consequently (comp. Philippians 2:17) his state of suffering developed itself into similarity to the death of Christ. This present state of development of the being made like to Christ is indicated by the present participle. The interpretation, which takes it of the fellowship in suffering generally, which is here more precisely described (Calvin, Estius, and others; also Wiesinger and Weiss), does not satisfy the progression from the general παθημάτων to the definite θανάτῳ. And the sense: “non detrectando mortem ejus morti similem” (Vatablus; comp. Matthies and de Wette) is imported into the words, which by Grotius, van Hengel, Rilliet, Schneckenburger, and others, are interpreted quite in opposition to the context, as referring to the ethical dying to the world, its lusts, etc. (Romans 6; Galatians 2:19). The nominative συμμορφ., which is to be explained as dependent, not in a clumsily complicated fashion on εὑρεθῶ (Grotius, Hoelemann, Hofmann, and others), but on τοῦ γνῶναι κ. τ. λ., refers to its logical subject. See Ephesians 4:2.


Verse 11

Philippians 3:11. εἴ πως] if possibly, designating the aim, the attainment of which is before the apostle’s mind in the συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θαν. αὐτοῦ. In this case, however, the deliberative form of expression (comp. Romans 1:10; Romans 11:14; Kühner, II. 2, p. 1034) bears the impress, not of doubt that he will attain to the resurrection of the dead (in case, namely, he should not live to see the Parousia), but of humility under the conception of the greatness of the bliss, and of the moral condition to which, on man’s part, it is subject; οὐ θαῤῥῶ γάρ, φησιν, οὔπω· οὕτως ἐταπεινοφρόνει, ὅπερ ἀλλαχοῦ λέγει· δοκῶν ἑστάναι, βλεπέτω μὴ πέσῃ, Theophylact: comp. Chrysostom. This suffices also in opposition to Baur’s doubt (Paulus, II. p. 79 f.) whether Paul could have expressed himself in this way at all. The expression excludes moral security, but not the certitudo salutis in itself, as, following Estius and other Catholic expositors, Bisping still thinks. The certainty of salvation is founded on God’s decree, calling (Romans 8:29 f.), promise, and attestation by the Spirit (Romans 8:10), in faith on the saving facts of redemption (Romans 8:32 ff.). Comp. Calovius.

The reader could not feel any doubt as to what ἐξανάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν Paul means, namely, the first, in which οἱ τοῦ χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ (1 Corinthians 15:23) shall arise.(162) Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16. It is the resurrection of the dead κατʼ ἐξοχήν, not different from the ἀνάστασις τῶν δικαίων. See on Luke 14:14. Nevertheless, we must not find this resurrection denoted by the double compound ἐξανάστ., the ἐξ in it conveying the idea ἐκ τῆς γῆς εἰς τὸν ἀέρα (Theophylact). This εξ is simply to be explained by the conception ἐκ τῆς γῆς, so that neither in the substantial meaning nor even in style (Bengel: “Paulinus enim stylus Christo adscribit ἀνάστασιν, ἐξανάστασιν Christianis”) is ἐξανάστ. to be distinguished from ἀνάστ.; but the former is to be explained solely from the more vividly imaginative view of the event which the apostle has before him. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 6:14. The double compound substantive does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. (the verb, Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28; Acts 15:5); but see Polyb. iii. 55. 4, ii. 21. 9, ii. 35. 4; Genesis 7:4. Compl. We may add, that while it has been explained, at variance with the context, as referring to the ethical resurrection, Romans 6:4 f. (Flacius, Balduin, Coccejus, and others; comp. Schrader), it is also erroneous to find in it the sense: “if perchance I should remain alive until the resurrection of the dead” (van Hengel, Hilgenfeld); since, on the contrary, essentially the same meaning is expressed as in Luke 20:34 by οἱ καταξιωθέντεςτῆς ἀναστάσεως, and it is conceived as a possible case (comp. Philippians 1:20 ff., Philippians 2:17) that Paul will not remain alive until the Parousia.(163) καταντ. εἰς (comp. Ephesians 4:13) denotes the attaining to a goal (frequently in Polybius, see Schweighäuser, Lex. p. 332; see also the passages from the LXX. and Apocr. in Schleusner, III. p. 234 f.), which, however, is here not a point of time, but a bliss which is to be attained. Comp. Acts 26:7.


Verse 12

Philippians 3:12. οὐχ ὅτι] By this I do not mean to say that, etc. See on 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 3:5; John 6:46. Aken, Lehre v. Temp. u. Mod. p. 91 ff. He might encounter such a misconception on the part of his opponents; but “in summo fervore sobrietatem spiritualem non dimittit apostolus,” Bengel.

ἤδη ἔλαβον] that I have already grasped it. The object is not named by Paul, but left to be understood of itself from the context. The latter represents a prize-runner, who at the goal of the σταδιοδρομία grasps the βραβεῖον (Philippians 3:14). This βραβεῖον typifies the bliss of the Messiah’s kingdom (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:24; 2 Timothy 4:7-8), which therefore, and that as βραβεῖον, is here to be conceived as the object, the attainment of which is denied to have already taken place. And accordingly, ἔλαβον is to be explained of the having attained in ideal anticipation, in which the individual is as sure and certain of the future attainment of the βραβεῖον, as if it were already an accomplished fact. What therefore Paul here denies of himself is the same imagination with which he reproaches the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 4:8 (see in loc). The reference to the βραβεῖον (so Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Bengel, Heinrichs, Rilliet, and others) is not proleptic;(164) on the contrary, it is suggested by the idea of the race just introduced in Philippians 3:12, and is prepared for by the preceding καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τ. νεκρ., in which the Messianic σωτηρία makes its appearance, and the grasping of the βραβεῖον is realized; hence it is so accordant with the context that all other references are excluded. Accordingly, we must neither supply metam generally (Beza, comp. Ewald); nor τὴν ἀνάστασιν (Rheinwald); nor τὸν χριστόν (Theodoret; comp. Weiss); nor moral perfection (Hoelemann, following Ambrosiaster and others); nor the right of resurrection (Grotius); nor even “the knowledge of Christ which appropriates, imitates, and strives to follow Him” (de Wette; comp. Ambrosiaster, Calvin, Vatablus, van Hengel, Wiesinger); nor yet the καταντᾶν of Philippians 3:11 (Matthies).

ἤδη τετελείω΄αι] or—in order to express without a figure that which had been figuratively denoted by ἤδη ἔλαβονwere already perfected.(165) For only the ethically perfected Christian, who has entirely become and is (observe the perfect) what he was intended to become and be, would be able to say with truth that he had already grasped the βραβεῖον, however infallibly certain might be to him, looking at his inward moral frame of life, the future σωτηρία. He who is not yet perfect has still always to run after it; see the sequel. The words ἤδη δεδικαίωμαι, introduced in considerable authorities before , form a correct gloss, when understood in an ethical sense. For instances of τελειοῦσθαι—which is not, with Hofmann, to be here taken in the indefinite generality of being ready—in the sense of spiritual perfection (comp. Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 12:23), see Ast, Lex. Plat. III. p. 369; comp. Philo, Alleg. p. 74 C, where the βραβεῖα are adjudged to the soul, when it is perfected. To be at the goal (Hammond, Wolf, Loesner, Heinrichs, Flatt, Rilliet, and others), is a sense, which τετελ. might have, according to the context. In opposition to it, however, we may urge, not that the figure of the race-contest only comes in distinctly in the sequel, for it is already introduced in Philippians 3:12, but that Paul would thus have expressed himself quite tautologically, and that τέλειοι in Philippians 3:15 is correlative with τετελείω΄αι.

διώκω δέ] but I pursue it, i.e. I strive after it with strenuous running; see Philippians 3:14. The idea of urgent haste is conveyed (Abresch, ad Aesch. Sept. 90; Blomfield, Gloss. Pers. 86). The δέ has the force of an ἀλλά in the sense of on the other hand; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 95, and comp. on Ephesians 4:15. We must understand τὸ βραβεῖον as object to διώκω, just as in the case of ἔλαβον and καταλάβω; hence διώκω is not to be taken absolutely (Rilliet; comp. Rheinwald, de Wette, Hofmann), although this in itself would be linguistically admissible (in opposition to van Hengel), see on Philippians 3:14. Phavorinus: διώκειν ἐνίοτε τὸ ἁπλῶς κατὰ σπουδὴν ἐλαύνειν;. also Eustathius, ad Il. xxiii. 344.

εἰ καὶ καταλάβω] This εἰ is, as in εἴ πως, Philippians 3:11, deliberative: if I also, etc., the idea of σκοπεῖν or some similar word being before his mind; the compound καταλάβω is more (in opposition to Weiss) than ἔλαβον, and denotes the apprehension which takes possession; comp. on Romans 9:30, 1 Corinthians 9:24, where we have the same progression from λα΄β. to καταλα΄β.; Herod, ix. 58: διωκτέοι εἰσὶ ἐς καταλα΄φθέντες; and καί implies: I not merely grasp ( ἔλαβον), but also actually apprehend.(166)

ἐφʼ καὶ κατελήφθην ὑπὸ χ.] Comp. Plat. Tim. p. 38 D: ὅθεν καταλαμβάνουσί τε καὶ καταλαμβάνονται, 1 Corinthians 13:12 : ἐπιγνώσο΄αι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην, Ignatius, Romans 8 : θελήσατε, ἵνα καὶ ὑ΄εῖς θεληθῆτε, Trall. 5: πολλὰ γὰρ ἡμῖν λείπει, ἵνα θεοῦ μὴ λειπώμεθα: because I was also apprehended by Christ. This is the determining ground of the διώκω, and of the thought thereto annexed, εἰ καὶ καταλάβω. Theophylact (comp. Chrysostom and Theodoret) aptly remarks: δεικνὺς, ὅτι ὀφείλη ἐστὶ τὸ πρᾶγ΄α, φησί· διότι καὶ κατελήφθ. ὑπὸ χ. Otherwise, in fact, this having been apprehended would not have been responded to on my part.(167) Respecting ἐφʼ , on the ground of this, that, i.e. propterea quod, see on Romans 5:12; 2 Corinthians 5:4. The interpretation: for which, on which behalf (Oecumenius, Beza, Grotius, Rheinwald, Rilliet, Weiss, and others), just as in Philippians 4:10, is indeed linguistically correct and simple; but it assigns the conversion of Paul, not to the general object which it had (Galatians 1:16), but to a personal object. In this case, moreover, Rilliet, de Wette, Wiesinger supply τοῦτο previously, which is not in accordance with the objectless ἔλαβον. More artificial are the explanations: whereunto, in the sense of obligation (Hoelemann); under which condition (Matthies); in so far as (Castalio, Ewald); in the presupposition, that (Baur); which is certain from the fact, that (subjective ground of knowledge; so Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, II. p. 217). According to Hofmann, Paul desires to give the reason why, and for what purpose, he contemplates an apprehension. But thus the reference of ἐφʼ κ. τ. λ. would be limited to et εἰ κ. καταλάβω, although the positive leading thought has been introduced in διώκω δέ. ἐφʼ κ. τ. λ. serves this leading thought along with that of its accessory definition εἰ κ. καταλάβω.

καί] also, subjoins to the active καταλάβω the ingeniously corresponding passive relation κατελήφθην. And by κατελήφθ. Paul expresses what at his conversion he experienced from Christ (hence the aorist); there is no need for suggesting the idea, foreign to the context, of an apprehended fugitive (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodoret, and others, including Flatt and van Hengel). The fact that at that time Christ laid hold of him on his pre-Christian career, and took him into His power and gracious guidance as His own, is vividly illustrated by the figure, to which the context gave occasion, κατελήφθ. ὑπὸ χ.


Verses 12-14

Philippians 3:12-14. Protest, that in what he had said in Philippians 3:7-11 he had not expressed the fanciful idea of a Christian perfection already attained; but that, on the contrary, his efforts are still ever directed forward towards that aim—whereby a mirror for self-contemplation is held up before the Philippians in respect to the moral conceit which disturbed their unity (Philippians 2:2-4), in order to stir them up to a like humility and diligence as a condition of Christian perfection (Philippians 3:15).


Verse 13-14

Philippians 3:13-14. Once more, and with loving earnestness ( ἀδελφοί), Paul says what he had already said in Philippians 3:12 with οὐχ ὅτικαταλάβω; and in doing so, he brings more into relief in the first portion the element of self-estimation, which in his own case he denies; and, in the second part, he sets forth more in detail the idea: διώκω δὲ εἰ κ. καταλ.

ἐγὼ ἐμαυτόν] ego me ipsum, an emphatic mode of indicating one’s own estimation, in which one is both subject and object of the judgment. Comp. John 5:30 f., John 7:17, John 8:54; Acts 26:9, et al. A reference to the judgment of others about him (Bengel, Weiss, and others; comp. also Hofmann) is here out of place.

λογίζομαι] I judge, I am of opinion,(168), Romans 3:28; Romans 8:18; Romans 14:14; 2 Corinthians 11:5, et al.; Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 13; Dem. lxiii. 12.

ἓν δέ] Comp. Anthol. Pal. vii. 455: ἓν δʼ ἀντὶ πάντων, also the frequent ἓν μόνον; see Stallbaum, ad. Plat. Symp. p. 184 C, Rep. p. 548 C. It is here usually supplemented by ποιῶ (Chrysostom appears to have understood ποιῶν). So also Winer, Buttmann, de Wette, Wiesinger, Ellicott. But how arbitrarily, seeing that the context by what immediately precedes suggests simply the supplying of λογίζο΄αι (not λογίζ. κατειληφέναι, Oecumenius, Weiss), and this is in perfect harmony with the sense! Hence we take it thus: “but one thing I think, unum censeo.” This one thing which Paul thinks regarding the matter in question, in contrast to the previous negative ( δέ, as in Philippians 3:12), is then directly expressed by all that follows from τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω to ἐν χ. . Nearest to this contextual supplement comes the Syriac, which has added οἶδα, and Luther, who has added λέγω. The supplying of λογίζομαι is confirmed by the cognate φρονῶμεν, Philippians 3:15. Without supplying anything, ἓν δέ has either been connected with διώκω (thus Augustine, Serm. de divers. i. 6, Pierce, Storr, van Hengel, and others), or has been taken absolutely: “unum contra!” see Hoelemann, comp. Rheinwald. But the former is to be rejected, because the subsequent διώκω carries its own complete definiteness; and the latter would render the discourse abrupt without reason, since it is not written under emotional excitement, and would, withal, require a supplement, such as Beza gives by ἐστί. Hofmann also comes at length in substance to this latter supplement, mixing up an imaginary contrast to that which the adversaries imputed to the apostle: over-against this, his conduct subsequently described was the only thing which was quite right (?).

τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω] what is behind, cannot be referred to what has been mentioned in Philippians 3:5-6 and the category of those pre-Christian advantages generally (so in substance, Pelagius; τινὲς in Theodoret, Vatablus, Zeger, Wolf, and others, also Ewald and Hofmann); this would be at variance with the context, for τὰ ΄ὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθ. corresponds to the negation of the having already attained or being perfect in Philippians 3:12, and must therefore apply to the previous achievements of the Christian life, to the degrees of Christian moral perfection already reached, which are conceived as the spaces already left behind in the stadium of the runner still pressing forward; and not to what had belonged to his pre-Christian conduct (Hofmann). Comp. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact.

ἐπιλανθαν.] forgetting, like the runner who dismisses from his mind the space already traversed, and fixes his thoughts only on what still lies before him. This is surely no break in the internal connection (as Hofmann objects); on the contrary, like the runner pressing forward, Paul in his continuous restless striving overlooks the degree of moral perfection already attained, which he would not do, if he reckoned it already as itself perfection. ἐπιλανθάνεσθαι is joined with the genitive and accusative; the simple verb, on the contrary, only with the genitive. See Kühner, II. 1, p. 313. On the use of the word in the sense of intentional forgetting, comp. Herod, iii. 75, iv. 43; 1 Maccabees 1:49. It thus amounts to the sense of nullam rationem habere (Sturz, Lex. Xen. II. p. 294).

τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμ.] but stretching myself out towards that which is before. The dative is governed by the verb compounded with ἐπί (Krüger, § 48. 11. 5; Nägelsbach, zur Ilias, p. 30, ed. 3), the ἐπί intimating the direction. In the case of such an one running “prono et quasi praecipiti corpore” (Beza), “oculus manum, manus pedem praevertit et trahit,” Bengel. On the verb, comp. Strabo, xvii. p. 800; Aristot. Poet. 21; Plut. Mor. p. 1147 A. τὰ ἔ΄πρ. represent the higher stages of Christian perfection not yet attained.(169)

κατὰ σκοπὸν διώκω] I hasten towards the goal, therefore in a straight course towards the prize of victory. The opposite: ἀπὸ σκοποῦ, Hom. Od. xi. 344, xxii. 6; Plat. Theaet. p. 179 C, Tim. p. 25 E Xen. Conv. ii. 10; Lucian, Icarom. 2; and παρὰ σκοπόν, Pind. Ol. xiii. 144. On διώκω without an accusative of the object (in opposition to van Hengel), comp. Xen. Anab. vii. 2. 20, vi. 5. 25 ( δρόμω διώκειν); Aesch. Sept. 89; Buttmann, Lexil. p. 219; Jacobs, ad Anthol. IX. p. 213. Comp. on Philippians 3:12. The prize of victory ( τὸ βραβεῖον, see on 1 Corinthians 9:24; Clem. Cor. I. 5; Schol. min. ad Soph. El. 680; Oppian, Cyneg. iv. 196; Lycophr. 1154) represents the salvation of the Messiah’s kingdom (see on Philippians 3:12), to which God has called man. Hence: τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως, a genitive which is to be taken not as appositional (de Wette, Schenkel), but as the genitive of the subject: the βραβεῖον, to which the calling relates. Comp. Luther: “which the heavenly calling holds out.” This is therefore the object of the ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως (Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:4; comp. the Platonic καλὸν τὸ ἆθλον καὶ ἐλπὶς μεγάλη, Phaed. p. 114 C).

ἄνω κλῆσις τοῦ θεοῦ is the calling which issued from God above in heaven (on ἄνω, comp. Colossians 3:2, Galatians 4:26; and on the subject-matter, Hebrews 3:1), by which He has called us to the σωτηρία of His kingdom. The general form of expression, not even limited by a pronoun (such as τῆς ἐμῆς), does not allow us to think only of the miraculous calling of the apostle himself; this is rather included under the general category of the ἄνω κλῆσις τοῦ θεοῦ, which in the individual cases may have taken historically very different forms. The ἄνω, which in itself is not necessary, is added, because Paul is thoroughly filled with the consciousness of the divine nature of the κλῆσις in its exaltedness above everything that is earthly. Lastly, the κλῆσις itself is, as always (even in 2 Thessalonians 1:11), the act of calling; not that whereto one is called (de Wette), or “le bonheur céleste même” (Rilliet); and the general currency of the idea and expression forbids us also, since no indication of the kind is given, to conceive of God as βραβευτής or βραβεύς, as the judge of the contest (Pollux, iii. 145; Blomf. Gloss, ad Aesch. Pers. 307), who through the herald summons the runners to the race (Grotius, Wolf, Rosenmüller, am Ende, Hoelemann, van Hengel, Wiesinger); τῆς ἄνω κλ. τ. θ. serves to define more accurately that which is figuratively denoted by βραβεῖον, but does not itself form a part of the allegory.

ἐν χ. .] is rightly (so also Weiss) joined by Chrysostom to διώκω: ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ τοῦτο ποιῶ, φησίν. οὐ γὰρ ἔνι χωρὶς τῆς ἐκείνου ῥοπῆς τοσοῦτον διελθεῖν διάστημα. Comp. Theodoret and Oecumenius. This thought, that the διώκειν just described is done by him in Christ, as the great upholding and impelling element of life in which amidst this activity he moves, is emphatically placed at the end as that which regulates all his efforts. The usual connection of these words with τ. ἄνω κλήσεως τ. θεοῦ, in which the calling is understood as brought about through Christ (rather: having its causal ground in Christ), yields a superfluous and self-obvious definition of the κλήσις already so accurately defined; although the connecting article would not be necessary, since, according to the construction καλεῖν ἐν χ. (1 Corinthians 7:22; 1 Peter 5:10), ἐν χ. . might be joined with κλήσεως so as to form one idea; comp. Clem. Cor. I. 46. A contrast to the calling issued to Israel to be God’s people on earth, is groundlessly suggested by Hofmann.


Verse 15

Philippians 3:15. Application of the passage Philippians 3:12-14 for the benefit of the Philippians, down to Philippians 3:17.

τέλειοι] denotes not perfection, like τετελείωμαι in Philippians 3:12, but the moral ripeness which, with differences of degree in the case of individuals, belongs to the true Christian state that has advanced beyond the novitiate—that Christian maturity in which one is no longer νήπιος ἐν χριστῷ; comp. on 1 Corinthians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:1; Ephesians 4:13. The τετελείωμαι is the ideal goal of the development of this τέλειον εἶναι, contradistinguished from the νηπιότης. The special aspect of this maturity, which Paul had in view in using τέλειοι, is to be regarded, not as theoretical knowledge,—the doctrine of righteousness by faith being conceived to be specially referred to (Erasmus, Wolf, Rheinwald, and others),—but as the moral character and striving of believers, as appears from Philippians 3:13 f., along with which the corresponding relation of practical insight is self-evident as a necessary presupposition (comp. Colossians 4:12; Colossians 1:28); although there is no reason to suppose that particular questions in this domain (such as those relating to sacrificial flesh, fasts, feasts, and the like) had arisen in Philippi and occasioned division, of which no trace exists. The jealousy and partial disunion in the church arose from a moral conceit, which was prejudicial to mutual humility (Philippians 2:3 ff.) and to personal genuine striving after holiness (Philippians 2:12 ff.). In using ὅσοι—with which we are to supply sumus simply, and not volumus esse

Paul leaves it to the conscientious judgment of every reader whether he, on his part, belongs to the number of the τέλειοι; but by including himself in this predicate, and yet having previously negatived the ἤδη τετελείωμαι in his own case (Philippians 3:12), the apostle removes all idle misunderstanding and abuse of his words which might tend to moral pride, and then by τοῦτο φρονώμεν leaves room only for the consciousness: ὡς τελείου τὸ μὴ νομίζειν ἑαυτὸν τέλειον εἶναι, Chrysostom. A tone of irony (Schenkel) is utterly alien to the heartfelt character of the whole discourse, which is, moreover, in this application, Philippians 3:15, so expressed as to include the apostle in common with his readers. To the Catholic fictions of a state of perfection the passage is in direct opposition.

τοῦτο φρονῶμεν] let us have this frame of mind, namely, which I, in Philippians 3:13 f., have just expressed as mine; the frame of humble self-estimation, and at the same time incessant pressing forward. Grotius holds quite arbitrarily that Paul reverts to what he had said in Philippians 3:3. But it is also wrong to seek the reference of τοῦτο φρον. in the passage from Philippians 3:4 onwards: “renunciandum esse splendidis virtutibus Judd. (Philippians 3:4-7), contra in solo Christo acquiescendum (Philippians 3:8-10) et ad victricem palmam studio indefesso annitendum (Philippians 3:12-14),” Hoelemann; comp. Calvin, Wolf, Heinrichs, and others, including Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, Rilliet, and Reiche; similarly Hofmann, who makes it refer to the entire presentation—joining on to Philippians 3:3—of a frame of mind which is opposed to the disposition of those against whom they are to be on their guard. Philippians 3:4-11 are certainly said by way of warning against the false teachers, and are opposed to these; but this opposition is of a dogmatic nature, for the upholding of the Pauline fundamental doctrine against Judaism, and it is only Philippians 3:12 that begins what has regard to the moral progress of the Church in the right way pressing onward to the goal, in which respect Paul desires to serve for their model (Philippians 3:17),—as which he has sketched himself in Philippians 3:13 f, when he begins with ἀδελφοί and introduces his ἐγώ. Besides, the φρονῶμεν, which is correlative with the λογίζομαι, does not point back beyond Philippians 3:13 f. Therefore, not even the appropriation of Christ, Philippians 3:8-11, is to be included in the reference of the τοῦτο (in opposition to de Wette and Wiesinger). Van Hengel is inclined to refer τοῦτο to τὸ βραβεῖον; but the readers needed the exhortation to the right mode of striving after the βραβεῖον, and not the summons generally, that they should have the βραβ. in view. This applies also against the similar, although more exact, interpretation of Fritzsche (Diss. II. in 2 Cor. p. 92): “hac mente simus sc. ut τὸ βραβ. τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως consectemur.”

καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρον.] and if as to any point ( τὶ, accusative of the object) ye be otherwise minded, take up another way of thinking, varying, namely, from that specified in τοῦτο φρονῶμεν. A man may, forsooth, have in general the same frame of mind which Paul has represented in himself, and to which he has summoned his readers; but at the same time an isolated concrete case ( τὶ) may occur, which a man cannot fit into the φρονεῖν in question, and regarding which he is of opinion that he ought to be differently minded, so that in such a state of things he becomes morally inconsistent in his frame of mind, inasmuch as he lacks the befitting ἐπίγνωσις and αἴσθησις εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν κ. τ. λ., Philippians 1:9, in the moral judgment which determines the φρονεῖν. Hofmann arbitrarily limits the τὶ to some matter independent of the essential disposition of the Christian life. This sense would have required a more precise definition, in order to be found. And the hope which is uttered in the apodosis, is in perfect harmony with the prayer in Philippians 1:9 f.; hence Hofmann’s objection, that the readers must have themselves corrected the fault which according to our view here emerges, is quite groundless. The subject addressed is the readers generally (see Philippians 3:17), not the νήπιοι (Hunnius, Wolf, Bengel, Storr, and others, including Flatt, Rheinwald, Hoelemann, Rilliet, Reiche), whom several expositors have regarded as those who had not yet raised themselves to the pure righteousness of faith excluding the law (see Rheinwald and Reiche), or who had allowed themselves to be led away by false teachers (see Hunnius, Grotius, Storr). But setting aside the arbitrariness generally with which this contrast is introduced, it is opposed by the fact, that Paul does not assume any thorough and essential diversity in the φρονεῖν, but only such a variation as might affect some one or other isolated point ( τὶ), and that not in the doctrinal, but in the moral province of Christian conduct. Moreover, if persons led astray were here in question, nothing would be less in harmony with the character of the apostle than the hopeful tolerance which is expressed in the words καὶ τοῦτοἀποκαλύψει. Lastly, the change of person (in opposition to Bengel) was necessary, because Paul, speaking of a partial ἑτέρως φρονεῖν, could not include himself.

In ἑτέρως, otherwise (not occurring elsewhere in the N. T.), there is implied, according to the context, an unfavourable sense, the notion of incorrectness, secius quam oportet. Comp. Hom. Od. i. 234; Dem. 298. 22, 597. 3; Eustath. ad Od. p. 1448. 2; Soph. Phil. 503; Valckenaer, Diatr. p. 112; just as ἕτερος (comp. on ἄλλο, Galatians 5:10) may denote even that which is bad or hostile (Wisdom of Solomon 19:3; Dissen. ad Pind. Nem. viii. 3, Pyth. iii. 54; Wyttenbach, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 321). It is here the ἑτεροδοξεῖν (Plat. Theaet. pp. 190 E, 193 D), as frame of mind. This has not been attended to by van Hengel, when he takes with equal unsuitableness τὶ in an emphatic sense, and φρονεῖν as to strive for: “si quid boni per aliam viam expetitis, quam ego persequor.”

καὶ τοῦτο θεὸς ὑμ. ἀποκ.] Expression of the hope that such variations will not fail to be rectified, on the part of God, by His revealing operation. Certainly, therefore, the variations, which Paul so forbearingly and confidently and without polemical handling commits to revealing correction on the part of God, were not on matters of principle or of an anti-Pauline character.

καὶ τοῦτο] this also, like other things which He has already revealed unto you; so that in καὶ is contained the idea also still (Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 135). Hofmann erroneously says that καὶ implies: there, where the disposition is present, which I require. It in fact belongs to τοῦτο. This τοῦτο, however, is not: that ye (Oecumenius, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Fritzsche, l.c. p. 93), but what ye wrongly think; the frame of mind in question, as it ought to be instead of the ἑτέρως φρονεῖν, not: “whether you are right or I” (Ewald). Calvin aptly says: “Nemo ita loqui jure posset, nisi cui certa constat suae doctrinae ratio et veritas.” The passage is very far from betraying uncertainty or want of firmness (Baur).

The ἀποκαλύψει, which is to be taken as purely future, is conceived by Paul as taking place through the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:10), not by human instruction (Beza). He might also have written διδάξει (comp. θεοδίδακτοι, 1 Thessalonians 4:9; also John 6:45), by which, however, the special kind of instruction which he means would not have been indicated. This is the inward divine unveiling of ethical truth, which is needed for the practical reason of him who in any respect otherwise φρονεῖ than Paul has shown in his own example; for οὐ περὶ δογμάτων ταῦτα εἴρηται, ἀλλὰ περὶ βίον τελειότητος καὶ τοῦ μὴ νομίζειν ἑαυτοὺς τελείους εἶναι, Chrysostom. Wherever in this moral respect the right frame of mind is not yet completely present in one or the other, Paul trusts to the disclosing operation of God Himself, whose Spirit rules and works in the Church and its individual members (1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 2:21 f.; Romans 8:9; Romans 8:15; Romans 8:26; Galatians 5:22; Galatians 5:25, et al.).


Verse 16

Philippians 3:16. A caution added to the precept given in Philippians 3:15, and the promise coupled with it: Only let there be no deviation in the prosecution of the development of your Christian life from the point to which we have attained! Neither to the right nor to the left, but forward in the same direction! This warning Paul expresses briefly and precisely thus: “Only whereto we have attained,—according to the same to direct your walk!”—that is, “however ye may be in some point otherwise minded and, therefore, may have to await further revelation, at all events ye ought not to deviate—this must in every case be your fundamental rule—from that whereto we have already attained in the Christian life; but, on the contrary, should let the further direction of your moral walk be determined by that same.” Such a general precept addressed to the Philippians conveys an honourable testimony to the state of their moral constitution on the whole, however different in individuals we may conceive the point to be from which Paul says εἰς ἐφθ., as is evident from the very fact that he includes himself in the εἰς ἐφθ., which could not but honour and stimulate the readers. On πλήν, nisi quod, comp. Philippians 1:18; on φθάνειν εἰς, to attain to anything, comp. Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:26; 1 Thessalonians 2:16 ( ἐπί); Romans 9:31; Daniel 4:19; Tobit 5:18; Plut. Mor. p. 338 A Apollod. xii. 242. It denotes the having come forward, the having advanced. Ewald takes it: if we had the advantage (see 1 Thessalonians 4:15, and the common classical usage), that is: “in what we already possess much better and higher than Judaism.” But this reference to Judaism is not given in the text, which aims to secure generally their further progress in the development of Christian life. On στοιχεῖν with the dative of the rule: to advance (march) according to something, that is, to direct oneself in one’s constant conduct by something, see on Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:25. The infinitive, however, as the expression of a briefly measured wish or command, without supplying λέγω, δεῖ, or the like (which Buttmann requires, Neut. Gr. p. 233 [E. T. 272]), stands in place of the imperative, as in Romans 12:15; see Hom. Il. i. 20, and Nägelsbach in loc.; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 473 A Pflugk, ad Eur. Heracl. 314; Fritzsche, ad Rom. III. p. 86. Fritzsche, however, Diss. II. 2 Cor. p. 93, has erroneously made the infinitive dependent on ἀποκαλύψει: “praeterea instituet vos, ut, quam ego consecutus sum τῷ βραβείῳ τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως intentam mentem, ejusdem participes fieri ipsi annitamini.” Comp. Oecumenius. Decisive against this view is the plural ἐφθάσαμεν, which, according to the context (Philippians 3:15), cannot apply merely to Paul, as well as the fact that the antithesis of persons (ego … ipsi) is gratuitously introduced. Michaelis, who is followed by Rilliet, closely unites Philippians 3:16 with the sequel,(170) but in such a way that only an awkward arrangement of the sentences is attained, and the nervous vigour of the concise command is taken away.

The εἰς ἐφθάσ.—which cannot in accordance with the context denote the having attained to Christianity, to the being Christian (Hofmann’s view, which yields a meaning much too vague and general)—has been rightly explained by Chrysostom and Theophylact as relating to the attainments in the Christian life, which are to be maintained, and in the further development of which constant progress is to be made ( κατωρθώσαμεν, κατέχωμεν, Theophylact). Comp. Schinz and van Hengel. This view is corroborated by the sequel, in which Paul represents himself as model of the walk; and therefore it is not to be referred merely to the measure of the right frame of mind attained (Weiss). Most expositors understand the words as signifying the measure of Christian knowledge acquired (so also Heinrichs, Flatt, Rheinwald, Matthies, Hoelemann, de Wette, Wiesinger), in conformity with which one ought to live. In connection with this, various arbitrary definitions of the object of the knowledge have been suggested, as, for instance, by Grotius: “de circumcisione et ritibus;” Heinrichs and de Wette: concerning the main substance of the Christian faith apart from secondary matters; Schneckenburger: “that man is justified by faith, and not by the works of the law;” along with which de Wette lays stress on the point that it is not the individual more or less perfect knowledge (so usually; see Flatt, Rheinwald, Matthies) that is meant, but the collective conviction, the truths generally recognised. But the whole interpretation which refers it to knowledge is not in keeping with the text; for ἐφθάσαμεν, correlative with στοιχεῖν, presents together with the latter a unity of figurative view, the former denoting the point of the way already attained, and τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν, perseverance in the direction indicated by that attainment. Therefore, if by στοιχεῖν there is clearly (see Philippians 3:17) intended the moral conduct of life, this also must be denoted by εἰς ἐφθ. as respects its quality attained up to the present time. Moreover, if εἰς ἐφθ. is to be understood as referring to knowledge, there would be no motive for the prominence given to the identity by τῷ αὐτῷ.

REMARK.

What Paul means in Philippians 3:16 may be illustrated thus:

Here B is the point of the development of Christian life εἰς ἐφθάσαμεν, which, in the case of different individuals, may be more or less advanced. The τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν takes place, when the path traversed from A to B is continued in the direction of C. If any one should move from B in the direction of either D or E, he would not τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν. The reproach of uncertainty which Wiesinger brings against this canon, because a ἑτέρως φρονεῖν may take place which does not lie in the same direction, and generally because the power of sin might hinder the following out of this direction, would also apply in opposition to every other explanation of the εἰς ἐφθ., and particularly to that of the knowledge attained; but it is altogether unfounded, first, because the ἑτέρως φρονεῖν only refers to one or another concrete single point ( τι), so that the whole of moral attainment—the collective development—which has been reached is not thereby disturbed; and, secondly, because Paul in this case has to do with a church already highly advanced in a moral point of view (Philippians 1:5 ff.), which he might, at all events generally, enjoin to continue in the same direction as the path in which they had already travelled. Very groundless is also the objection urged by Hofmann, that the εἰς ἐφθ. must necessarily be one and the same for all. This is simply to be denied; it is an utterly arbitrary assumption.


Verse 17

Philippians 3:17. In carrying out this command they are to follow his example, which he has previously held up to their view, especially from Philippians 3:12 onwards.

συμμιμηταί] co-imitators, is a word not elsewhere preserved. Comp., however, συμμιμούμενοι, Plat. Polit. p. 274 D. σύν is neither superfluous (Heinrichs, comp. Hofmann), nor does it refer to the imitation of Christ in common with the apostle (Bengel, Ewald),—a reference which cannot be derived from the remote Philippians 1:30 to Philippians 2:8, and which would be expressed somewhat as in 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6. Neither does it refer to the obligation of his readers collectively to imitate him (Beza, Grotius, and others, including Matthies, Hoelemann, van Hengel, de Wette), so that “omnes uno consensu et una mente” (Calvin) would be meant; but it means, as is required by the context that follows: “una cum aliis, qui me imitantur (Estius; comp. Erasmus, Annot., Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, Wiesinger, Weiss, Ellicott, and others). Theophylact aptly remarks: συγκολλᾷ αὐτοὺς τοῖς καλῶς περιπατοῦσι, whereby the weight of the exhortation is strengthened.

σκοπεῖτε] direct your view to those who, etc., namely, in order to become imitators of me in like manner as they are. Other Christians, not Philippians, are meant, just as Philippians 3:18 also applies to those of other places.

καθώς] does not correspond to the οὕτω, as most expositors think, but is the argumentative “as” (see on Philippians 1:7), by which the two previous requirements, συμμιμηταί κ. τ. λ. and σκοπεῖτε κ. τ. λ., are established: in measure as ye have us for an example. This interpretation (which Wiesinger and Weiss adopt) is, notwithstanding the subtle distinction of thought which Hofmann suggests, required both by the second person ἔχετε (not ἔχουσι) and by the plural ἡμᾶς (not ἐμέ). This ἡμᾶς refers not to the apostle alone (so many, and still de Wette; but in this case, as before, the singular would have been used), nor yet generally to the apostle and his companions (van Hengel, Baumgarten-Crusius, Lightfoot), especially Timothy (Hofmann), or to all tried Christians (Matthies); but to him and those οὕτω (in this manner, imitative of me) περιπατοῦντας. This view is not at variance with τύπον in the singular (de Wette); for the several τύποι of individuals are conceived collectively as τύπος. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:7 (Lachmann, Lünemann); see also 2 Thessalonians 3:9; comp. generally, Bernhardy, p. 58 f.; Kühner, II. 1, p. 12 f. This predicative τύπον, which is therefore placed before ἡμᾶς, is emphatic.


Verse 18

Philippians 3:18. Admonitory confirmation of the injunction in Philippians 3:17.

περιπατοῦσιν] is not to be defined by κακῶς (Oecumenius), or longe aliter (Grotius; comp. Syr.); nor is it to be taken as circulantur (comp. 1 Peter 5:8) (Storr, Heinrichs, Flatt), which is at variance with the context in Philippians 3:17. Calvin, unnaturally breaking up the plan of the discourse, makes the connection: “ambulant terrena cogitantes” (which is prohibited by the very article before ἐπίγ. φρον.), and puts in a parenthesis what intervenes (so also Erasmus, Schmid, and Wolf); whilst Estius quite arbitrarily overleaps the first relative clause, and takes περιπ. along with ὧν τὸ τέλος κ. τ. λ. Erasmus (see his Annot.) and others, including Rheinwald, van Hengel, Rilliet, de Wette, Wiesinger, and Weiss, consider the discourse as broken off, the introduction of the relative clauses inducing the writer to leave out the modal definition of περιπ. Hofmann transforms the simple λέγειν (comp. Galatians 1:9) into the idea of naming, and takes τοὺς ἐχθρούς as its object-predicate, in which case, however, the mode of the περιπατεῖν would not be stated. On the contrary, the construction is a genuine Greek mode of attraction (see Wolf, ad Dem. Lept. 15; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 771; Kühner, II. 2, p. 925; Buttm. Neut. Gr. p. 68 [E. T. 77]), so framed, that instead of saying: many walk as the enemies of the cross, this predicative definition of mode is drawn into the relative clause οὓς πολλάκις κ. τ. λ.(171) and assimilated to the relative; comp. Plat. Rep. p. 402 c., and Stallbaum in loc. It is therefore to be interpreted: Many, of whom I have said that to you often, and now tell you even weeping, walk as the enemies, etc. The πολλάκις, emphatically corresponding with the πολλοί (2 Corinthians 8:22), refers to the apostle’s presence in Philippi; whether, at an earlier date in an epistle (see on Philippians 3:1), he had thus characterized these enemies of the cross (Flatt, Ewald), must be left undecided. But it is incorrect to make these words include a reference (Matthies) to Philippians 3:2, as in the two passages different persons (see below) must be described.

νῦν δὲ καὶ κλαίων] διὰ τί; ὅτι ἐπέτεινε τὸ κακὸν, ὅτι δακρύων ἄξιοι οἱ τοιοῦτοιοὕτως ἐστὶ συμπαθητικὸς, οὕτω φροντίζει πάντων ἀνθρώπων, Chrysostom. The deterioration of these men, which had in the meanwhile increased, now extorts tears from the apostle on account of their own ruin and of their ruinous influence.

τοὺς ἐχθρ. τ. στ. τ. χ.] The article denotes the class of men characteristically defined. We must explain the designation as referring, not to enemies of the doctrine of the cross (Theodoret: ὡς διδάσκοντας ὅτι δίχα τῆς νομικῆς πολιτείας ἀδύνατον σωτηρίας τυχεῖν, so in substance Luther, Erasmus, Estius, Calovius, Cornelius a Lapide, Wolf, and many others; also Heinrichs, Rheinwald, Matthies), so that passages such as Galatians 5:11; Galatians 6:12, would have to be compared; but, as required by the context which follows, to Christians of Epicurean tendencies ( ἐν ἀνέσει ζῶντες κ. τρυφῇ, Chrysostom; comp. Theophylact and Oecumenius), who, as such, are hostile to the fellowship of the cross of Christ (comp. Philippians 3:10), whose maxims of life are opposed to the παθήματα τοῦ χριστοῦ (2 Corinthians 1:5), so that it is hateful to them to suffer with Christ (Romans 8:17). Comp. Philippians 3:10, also Galatians 6:14. In opposition to the context, Rilliet and Weiss understand non-Christians, who reject Christianity with hostile disdain, because its founder was crucified (comp. 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:23), or because the preaching of the cross required the crucifixion of their own lusts (Weiss); Calvin interpreted it generally of hypocritical enemies of the gospel. This misunderstanding ought to have been precluded by the very use of the tragic πολλοί, the melancholy force of which lies in the very fact that they are Christians, but Christians whose conduct is the deterrent contrast to that which is required in Philippians 3:17. See, besides, in opposition to Weiss, Huther in the Mecklenb. Zeitschr. 1862, p. 630 ff.

We have still to notice that the persons here depicted are not the same as those who were described in Philippians 3:2 (contrary to the usual view, which is also followed by Schinz and Hilgenfeld); for those were teachers, while these πολλοί are Christians generally. The former might indeed be characterized as ἐχθροὶ τ. σταυροῦ τ. χ., according to Galatians 6:12, but their Judaistic standpoint does not correspond to the Epicureanism which is affirmed of the latter in the words ὧν θεὸς κοιλία, Philippians 3:19. Hoelemann, de Wette, Lünemann, Wiesinger, Schenkel, and Hofmann have justly pronounced against the identity of the two; Weiss, however, following out his wrong interpretation of κύνες in Philippians 3:2 (of the heathen), maintains the identity to a certain extent by assuming that the conduct of those κύνες is here described; while Baur makes use of the passage to deny freshness, naturalness, and objectivity to the polemic attack here made on the false teachers.


Verse 19

Philippians 3:19. A more precise deterrent delineation of these persons, having the most deterrent element put foremost, and then those points by which it was brought about.

ὧν τὸ τέλος ἀπώλ.] By this is meant Messianic perdition, eternal condemnation (comp. Philippians 1:28), which is the ultimate destiny appointed ( τό) for them ( τέλος is not: recompense, see Romans 6:21; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Hebrews 6:8). For corresponding Rabbinical passages, see Wetstein and Schoettgen, Hor. p. 801.

ὧν θεὸς κοιλία] λατρεύουσι γὰρ ὡς θεῷ ταύτῃ καὶ πᾶσαν θεραπείαν προσάγουσι, Theophylact. Comp. Romans 16:18; Eur. Cycl. 334 f.; Senec. de benef. vii. 26; and the maxim of those whose highest good is eating and drinking, 1 Corinthians 15:32. It is the γαστριμαργία (Plat. Phaed. p. 81 E Lucian, Amor. 42) in its godless nature; they were κοιλιοδαίμονες (Eupolis in Athen. iii. p. 100 B), τὰς τῆς γαστρὸς ἡδονὰς τιθέμενοι μέτρον εὐδαιμονίας (Lucian, Patr. enc. 10); τῇ γαστρὶ μετροῦντες καὶ τοῖς αἰσχίστοις τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν (Dem. 524. 24).

καὶ δόξα κ. τ. λ.] also dependent on ὧν: and whose honour is in their shame, that is, who find their honour in that which redounds to their shame, as for instance, in revelling, haughty behaviour, and the like, in which the immoral man is fond of making a show, δόξα is subjective, viewed from the opinion of those men, and τῇ αἰσχύνῃ is objective, viewed according to the reality of the ethical relation. Comp. Polyb. xv. 23. 5: ἐφʼ οἷς ἐχρῆν αἰσχύνεσθαι καθʼ ὑπερβολὴν, ἐπὶ τούτοις ὡς καλοῖς σεμνεύεσθαι καὶ μεγαλαυχεῖν, and also Plat. Theaet. p. 176 D ἀγάλλονται γὰρ τῷ ὀνείδει. On εἶναι ἐν, versari in, to be found in, to be contained in something, comp. Plat. Gorg. p. 470 E: ἐν τούτῳ πᾶσα εὐδαιμονία ἐστίν, Eur. Phoen. 1310: οὐκ ἐν αἰσχύνῃ τὰ σά. The view, foreign to the context, which refers the words to circumcision, making αἰσχ. signify the genitals (Schol. Ar. Equ. 364; Ambrosiaster; Hilary; Pelagius; Augustine, de verb. apost. xv. 5; Bengel; Michaelis; Storr), is already rejected by Chrysostom and his successors.

οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες] who bear the earthly (that which is on the earth; the opposite in Philippians 3:20) in their mind (as the goal of their interest and effort). Comp. Colossians 3:2. Thus Paul closes his delineation with a summary designation of their fundamental immoral tendency, and he put this, not in the genitive (uniformly with the ὧν), but more independently and emphatically in the nominative, having in view the logical subject of what precedes (comp. on Philippians 1:30), and that with the individualizing (ii, qui) article of apposition. Comp. Winer, p. 172 [E. T. 228]; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 69 [E. T. 79].


Verse 20

Philippians 3:20. After Paul has, by way of confirmation and warning, subjoined to his exhortation given in Philippians 3:17 the deterrent example of the enemies of the cross of Christ in Philippians 3:18 f., he now sketches by the side of that deterrent delineation—in outlines few, but how clear!—the inviting picture of those whom, in Philippians 3:17, he had proposed as τύπος.

γάρ] The train of thought runs thus: “Justly I characterize their whole nature by the words οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες; for it is the direct opposite of ours; our πολίτευμα, the goal of our aspiration, is not on earth, but in heaven.” γάρ therefore introduces a confirmatory reason, but not for his having said that the earthly mind of the πολλοί necessarily involves such a walk (Hofmann); for he has not said this, and what follows would not be a proof of it. The apostle gives, rather, an experimental proof e contrario, and that for what immediately precedes, not for the remote ὧν τὸ τέλος ἀπώλεια (Weiss).

ἡμῶν] emphatically placed first; contrast of the persons. These ἡμεῖς, however, are the same as the ἡμᾶς in Philippians 3:17, consequently Paul himself and the οὕτω περιπατοῦντες.

τὸ πολίτευμα] the commonwealth, which may bear the sense either of: the state (2 Maccabees 12:7; Polyb. i. 13. 12, ii. 41. 6; Lucian, Prom. 15; Philo, de opif. p. 33 A, de Jos. p. 536 D); or the state-administration (Plat. Legg. 12, p. 945 D Aristot. Pol. iii. 4; Polyb. iv. 23. 9; Lucian, Dem. enc. 16), or its principles (Dem. 107. 25, 262. 27; Isocr. p. 156 A); or the state-constitution (Plut. Them. 4; Arist. Pol. iii. 4. 1; Polyb. v. 9. 9, iv. 25. 7), see generally Raphel, Polyb. in loc.; Schweigh. Lex. Polyb. p. 486; Schoemann, ad Plut. Cleom. p. 208. Here, in the first sense: our commonwealth, that is, the state to which we belong, is in heaven. By this is meant the Messiah’s kingdom which had not yet appeared, which will only at Christ’s Parousia (comp. ἐξ οὗ κ. τ. λ. which follows) come down from heaven and manifest itself in its glory on earth. It is the state of the heavenly Jerusalem (see on Galatians 4:26; comp. Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 190; Ritschl, altkath. Kirche, p. 59), of which true Christians are citizens (Ephesians 2:19) even now before the Parousia in a proleptic and ideal sense ( ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι τῆς δόξης, Romans 5:2; comp. Romans 8:24), in order that one day, at the ἐπιφάνεια τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου (2 Thessalonians 2:8), they may be so in complete reality (comp. Hebrews 12:22 f., Hebrews 13:14), as κοινωνοί τῆς μελλούσης ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι δόξης (1 Peter 5:1; Colossians 3:4), nay, as συμβασιλεύοντες (2 Timothy 2:12; comp. Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 4:8). Hence, according to the necessary psychological relation, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21), they φρονοῦσιν, not τὰ ἐπίγεια, but τὰ ἄνω (Colossians 3:1 f.), which serves to-explain the logical correctness of the γάρ in its relation to οἱ τὰ ἐπίγ. φρον. Others, following the Vulgate (conversatio), render it: our walk, making the sense, “tota vita nostra quasi jam nunc apud Deum naturasque coelestes puriores versatur, longe remota a τοῖς ἐπιγείοις eorumque captatione” (Hoelemann). So Luther (who up till 1528 rendered it “citizenship”), Castalio, Erasmus, Calvin, Grotius, and many others, including Matthies, van Hengel, de Wette; while Rheinwald mixes up interpretations of various kinds. This rendering is not justified by linguistic usage, which indeed vouches for πολιτεύεσθαι (Philippians 1:27) in this sense, and for πολιτεία (Clem. Cor. I. 54: πολιτεύεσθαι πολιτείαν θεοῦ, Ep. ad Diogn. 5), but not for πολίτευμα, not even in Eus. H. E. v. prooem. Nor does linguistic usage even permit the interpretation: citizenship. So Luther, in the Postil. Epist. D. 3, post f. pasch.: “Here on earth we are in fact not citizens.…; our citizenship is with Christ in heaven …, there we are to remain for ever citizens and lords;” comp. Beza, Balduin, Erasmus Schmid, Zachariae, Flatt, Wiesinger, Ewald, Weiss, and others. This would be πολιτεία, Acts 22:28; Thuc. vi. 104. 3; Dem. 161. 11; Polyb. vi. 2. 12; 3 Maccabees 3:21. Theophylact’s explanation, τὴν πατρίδα (which is used also for heaven by Anaxagoras in Diog. L. ii. 7), must be referred to the correct rendering state (comp. Hammond, Clericus, and others (172)), while Chrysostom gives no decided opinion, but Theodoret ( τὸν οὐρανὸν φανταζόμεθα) and Oecumenius ( στρατευόμεθα) appear to follow the rendering conversatio.

ἐξ οὗ καὶ κ. τ. λ.] And what a happy change is before us, in consequence of our thus belonging to the heavenly state! From the heaven (scil. ἣξοντα, comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:10) we expect, etc. The neuter οὗ, which is certainly to be taken in a strictly local sense (in opposition to Calovius), is not to be referred to πολίτ. (Wolf, Schoettgen, Bengel, Hofmann); but is correctly rendered by the Vulgate: “unde.” Comp. on ἐξ οὗ, Colossians 2:19, and Bornemann, ad Xen. Anab. i. 2. 20: ἡμέρας τρεῖς, ἐν .

καί, also, denotes the relation corresponding to the foregoing (namely, that our πολίτευμα is to be found in heaven), not a second one to be added (Hofmann).

σωτῆρα] placed first with great emphasis, and that not as the accusative of the object (Hofmann), but—hence without the article—as predicative accusative: as Saviour, namely, from all the sufferings and conflicts involved in our fellowship with the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18), not from the ἀπώλεια (Weiss), which, indeed, the ἡμεῖς have not at all to fear. Comp. on the subject-matter, Luke 18:7 f., Luke 21:28; Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:18.

ἀπεκδεχ.] comp. 1 Corinthians 1:7; Titus 2:13. As to the signification of the word: perseveranter expectare, see on Romans 8:19; Galatians 5:5.


Verse 21

Philippians 3:21. As a special feature of the Lord’s saving activity at His Parousia, Paul mentions the bodily transfiguration of the ἡμεῖς, in significant relation to what was said in Philippians 3:19 of the enemies of the cross. The latter now lead an Epicurean life, whilst the ἡμεῖς are in a condition of bodily humiliation through affliction and persecution. But at the Parousia—what a change in the state of things! what a glorification of these bodies now so borne down!

μετασχηματ.] shall transform.(173) What is meant is the ἀλλάσσειν of the body (1 Corinthians 15:51 f.) at the Parousia, which in this passage, just as in 1 Corinthians 15:52, Paul assumes that the ἡ΄εῖς will live to see. To understand it at the same time of the resurrection of the dead (so most expositors, including de Wette, Wiesinger, Weiss), is inappropriate both to ἀπεκδεχόμεθα and to the definition of the quality of the body to be remodelled: τῆς ταπειν. ἡ΄ῶν, both these expressions being used under the conviction of being still alive in the present state when the change occurs. Moreover, the resurrection is something more than a ΄ετασχη΄άτισις; it is also an investiture with a new body out of the germ of the old (1 Corinthians 15:36-38; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.

τῆς ταπεινώσ. ἡ΄ῶν] Genitive of the subject. Instead of saying ἡμῶν merely (our body), he expresses it with more specific definition: the body of our humiliation, that is, the body which is the vehicle of the state of our humiliation, namely, through the privations, persecutions, and afflictions which affect the body and are exhibited in it, thereby reducing us into our present oppressed and lowly position; πολλὰ πάσχει νῦν τὸ σῶμα, δεσμεῖται, μαστίζεται, μυρία πάσχει δεινά, Chrysostom. This definite reference of τ. ταπ. ἡ΄. is required by the context through the contrast of the ἡ΄εῖς to the ἐχθροὺς τοῦ σταυροῦ τ. χ., so that the sufferings which are meant by the cross of Christ constitute the ταπείνωσις of the ἡ΄εῖς (comp. Acts 8:33); in which case there is no ground for our taking ταπείνωσις, contrary to Greek usage (Plat. Legg. vii. p. 815 A Polyb. ix. 33. 10; James 1:10), as equivalent to ταπεινότης, lowliness, as in Luke 1:48 (Hofmann). On this account, and also because ἡμῶν applies to subjects distinctly defined in conformity with the context, it was incorrect to explain ταπειν. generally of the constitution of our life (Hofmann), of weakness and frailty (Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, and many others; including Rheinwald, Matthies, Hoelemann, Schrader, Rilliet, Wiesinger, Weiss); comparison being made with such passages as Colossians 1:22; Romans 7:24; 1 Corinthians 15:44. The contrast lies in the states, namely, of humiliation on the one hand and of δόξα on the other; hence ἡ΄ῶν and αὐτοῦ are neither to be joined with σῶ΄α (in opposition to Hoelemann), nor with τ. σῶ΄α τ. ταπ. and τ. σ. τῆς δόξης as ideas forming an unity (Hofmann), which Paul would necessarily have marked by separating the genitives in position (Winer, p. 180 [E. T. 239]).

σύ΄΄ορφον] Result of the ΄ετασχη΄., so that the reading εἰς τὸ γενέσθαι αὐτό is a correct gloss. See on Matthew 12:13 and 1 Corinthians 1:8; Fritzsche, Diss. II. in 2 Cor. p. 159; Lübcker, grammat. Stud. p. 33 f. The thing itself forms a part of the συνδοξάζεσθαι, Romans 8:17. Comp. also 1 Corinthians 15:48 f.; Romans 8:29. We may add Theodoret’s appropriate remark: οὐ κατὰ τὴν ποσότητα τῆς δόξης, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν ποιότητα.

τῆς δόξ. αὐτοῦ] to be explained like τῆς ταπ. ἡ΄.: in which His heavenly glory is shown forth. Comp. ἐγείρεται ἐν δόξῃ, 1 Corinthians 15:44.

κατὰ τ. ἐνέργ. κ. τ. λ.] removes every doubt as to the possibility; according to the working of His being able (comp. Ephesians 1:19) also to subdue all things unto Himself; that is, in consequence of the energetic efficacy which belongs to His power of also subduing all things to Himself. Comp. κατὰ τ. ἐνέργ. τῆς δυνάμ. αὐτοῦ, Ephesians 3:7, also Ephesians 1:19; as to the subject-matter, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:25 f.; as to the expression with the genitive of the infinitive, Onosand. I. p. 12: τοῦ δύνασθαι ποιεῖν ἐξουσία.

καί] adds the general element ὑποτάξαι αὐτῷ τὰ π. to the ΄ετασχη΄ατ. κ. τ. λ.(174) Bengel aptly says: “non modo conforme facere corpus nostrum suo.”

τὰ πάντα] all things collectively, is not to be limited; nothing can withstand His power; a statement which to the Christian consciousness refers, as a matter of course, to created things and powers, not to God also, from whom Christ has received that power (Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:27), and to whom He will ultimately deliver up again the dominion (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28). Chrysostom and Theophylact have already with reason noticed the argumentum a majori ad minus.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Philippians 3:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/philippians-3.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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