Philippians 1:1-30 . INSCRIPTION. THANKSGIVING AND PRAYERS FOR THE FLOURISHING SPIRITUAL STATE OF THE PHILIPPIANS. HIS OWN STATE AT ROME, AND THE RESULT OF HIS IMPRISONMENT IN SPREADING THE GOSPEL. EXHORTATION TO CHRISTIAN CONSISTENCY.
15. "Some indeed are preaching Christ even for envy, that is, to carry out the envy which they felt towards Paul, on account of the success of the Gospel in the capital of the world, owing to his steadfastness in his imprisonment; they wished through envy to transfer the credit of its progress from him to themselves. Probably Judaizing teachers ( Romans 14:1-23 , 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 , 9:1 , &c. 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 ).
some also of--rather, "for"
good will--answering to "the brethren" ( Philippians 1:14 ); some being well disposed to him.
16, 17. The oldest manuscripts transpose these verses, and read, "These (last) indeed out of love (to Christ and me), knowing (the opposite of 'thinking' below) that I am set (that is, appointed by God, 1 Thessalonians 3:3 ) for the defense of the Gospel ( Philippians 1:7 , not on my own account). But the others out of contention (or rather, 'a factious spirit'; 'cabal'; a spirit of intrigue, using unscrupulous means to compass their end; 'self-seeking' [ALFORD]) proclaim (the Greek is not the same as that for 'preach,' but, 'announce') Christ, not sincerely (answering to 'but of a spirit of intrigue,' or 'self-seeking'). Literally, 'not purely'; not with a pure intention; the Jewish leaven they tried to introduce was in order to glorify themselves ( Galatians 6:12 Galatians 6:13 ; however, thinking (but in vain) to raise up (so the oldest manuscripts read) tribulation to my bonds." Their thought was, that taking the opportunity of my being laid aside, they would exalt themselves by their Judaizing preaching, and depreciate me and my preaching, and so cause me trouble of spirit in my bonds; they thought that I, like themselves, sought my own glory, and so would be mortified at their success over mine. But they are utterly mistaken; "I rejoice" at it ( Philippians 1:18 ), so far am I from being troubled at it.
18. What follows from this? Does this trouble me as they thought it would? "Notwithstanding" their unkind thought to me, and self-seeking intention, the cause I have at heart is furthered "every way" of preaching, "whether in pretense (with a by motive, Philippians 1:16 ) or in truth (out of true 'love' to Christ, Philippians 1:17 ), Christ is proclaimed; and therein I do rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice." From this it would seem that these self-seeking teachers in the main "proclaimed Christ," not "another Gospel," such as the Judaizers in Galatia taught ( Galatians 1:6-8 ); though probably having some of the their chief error was their self-seeking envious motive, not so much error of doctrine; had there been vital error, Paul would not have rejoiced. The proclamation of CHRIST," however done, roused attention, and so was sure to be of service. Paul could thus rejoice at the good result of their bad intentions ( Psalms 76:10 , Isaiah 10:5 Isaiah 10:7 ).
19. turn to my salvation--"turn out to me for, (or unto) salvation." This proclamation of Christ every way will turn out to my spiritual good. Christ, whose interests are my interests, being glorified thereby; and so the coming of His kingdom being furthered, which, when it does come, will bring completed "SALVATION" ( Hebrews 9:28 ) to me and all whose "earnest expectation" ( Philippians 1:20 ) is that Christ may be magnified in them. So far is their preaching from causing me, as they thought, tribulation in my bonds ( Philippians 1:16 ). Paul plainly quotes and applies to himself the very words of the Septuagint ( Job 13:16 ), "This shall turn out to my salvation," which belong to all God's people of every age, in their tribulation (compare Job 13:15 ).
through your prayer and the supply--The Greek intimately joins the two nouns together, by having but one preposition and one article: "Through your prayer and (the consequent) supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (obtained for me through your prayer)."
20. According to my earnest expectation--The Greek expresses, "expectation with uplifted head ( Luke 21:28 ) and outstretched neck." Romans 8:19 is the only other place in the New Testament that the word occurs. TITTMANN says, in both places it implies not mere expectation, but the anxious desire of an anticipated prosperous issue in afflictive circumstances. The subject of his earnest expectation which follows, answers to "my salvation" ( Philippians 1:19 ).
in nothing I shall be ashamed--in nothing have reason to be ashamed of "my work for God, or His work in me" [ALFORD]. Or, "in nothing be disappointed in my hope, but that I may fully obtain it" [ESTIUS]. So "ashamed" is used in Romans 9:33 .
all boldness--"all" is opposed to "in nothing," as "boldness" is the opposite to "ashamed."
so now also--when "my body" is "in bonds" ( Philippians 1:17 ).
Christ--not Paul, "shall be magnified."
life, or by death--Whatever be the issue, I cannot lose; I must be the gainer by the event. Paul was not omniscient; in the issue of things pertaining to themselves, the apostles underwent the same probation of faith and patience as we.
21. For--in either event ( Philippians 1:20 ) I must be the gainer, "For to me," &c.
to live is Christ--whatever life, time, and strength, I have, is Christ's; Christ is the sole object for which I live ( Galatians 2:20 ).
to die is gain--not the act of dying, but as the Greek ("to have died") expresses, the state after death. Besides the glorification of Christ by my death, which is my primary object ( Philippians 1:20 ), the change of state caused by death, so far from being a matter of shame ( Philippians 1:20 ) or loss, as my enemies suppose, will be a positive "gain" to me.
22. Rather as Greek, "But if to live in the flesh (if), this (I say, the continuance in life which I am undervaluing) be the fruit of my labor (that is, be the condition in which the fruit of my ministerial labor is involved), then what I shall choose I know not (I cannot determine with myself, if the choice were given me, both alternatives being great goods alike)." So ALFORD and ELLICOTT. BENGEL takes it as English Version, which the Greek will bear by supposing an ellipsis, "If to live in the flesh (be my portion), this (continuing to live) is the fruit of my labor," that is, this continuance in life will be the occasion of my bringing in "the fruit of labor," that is, will be the occasion of "labors" which are their own "fruit" or reward; or, this my continuing "to live" will have this "fruit," namely, "labors" for Christ. GROTIUS explains "the fruit of labor" as an idiom for "worthwhile"; If I live in the flesh, this is worth my while, for thus Christ's interest will be advanced, "For to me to live is Christ" ( Philippians 1:21 ; compare Philippians 2:30 , Romans 1:13 ). The second alternative, namely, dying, is taken up and handled, Philippians 2:17 , "If I be offered."
23. For--The oldest manuscripts read, "But." "I know not ( Philippians 1:22 ), BUT am in a strait (am perplexed) betwixt the two (namely, 'to live' and 'to die'), having the desire for departing (literally, 'to loose anchor,' 2 Timothy 4:6 ) and being with Christ; FOR (so the oldest manuscripts) it is by far better"; or as the Greek, more forcibly, "by far the more preferable"; a double comparative. This refutes the notion of the soul being dormant during its separation from the body. It also shows that, while he regarded the Lord's advent as at all times near, yet that his death before it was a very possible contingency. The partial life eternal is in the interval between death and Christ's second advent; the perfectional, at that advent [BISHOP PEARSON]. To depart is better than to remain in the flesh; to be with Christ is far, far better; a New Testament hope ( Hebrews 12:24 ), [BENGEL].
24. to abide--to continue somewhat longer.
for you--Greek, "on your account"; "for your sake." In order to be of service to you, I am willing to forego my entrance a little sooner into blessedness; heaven will not fail to be mine at last.
25. Translate, "And being confident of this."
I know, &c.--by prophetical intimations of the Spirit. He did not yet know the issue, as far as human appearances were concerned ( Philippians 2:23 ). He doubtless returned from his first captivity to Philippi ( Hebrews 13:19 , 1:22 ).
joy of faith--Greek, "joy in your faith."
26. Translate, "That your matter of glorying (or rejoicing) may abound in Christ Jesus in me (that is, in my case; in respect to me, or for me who have been granted to your prayers, Philippians 1:19 ) through my presence again among you." ALFORD makes the "matter of glorying," the possession of the Gospel, received from Paul, which would abound, be assured and increased, by his presence among them; thus, "in me," implies that Paul is the worker of the material of abounding in Christ Jesus. But "my rejoicing over you" ( Philippians 2:16 ), answers plainly to "your rejoicing in respect to me" here.
27. Only--Whatever happens as to my coming to you,.or not, make this your one only care. By supposing this or that future contingency, many persuade themselves they will be such as they ought to be, but it is better always without evasion to perform present duties under present circumstances [BENGEL].
let your conversation be--(Compare Philippians 3:20 ). The Greek implies, "Let your walk as citizens (namely, of the heavenly state; 'the city of the living God,' Hebrews 12:22 , 'the heavenly Jerusalem,' 'fellow citizens of the saints,' Ephesians 2:19 ) be," &c.
I . . . see . . . hear--so Philippians 1:30 . "Hear," in order to include both alternatives, must include the meaning know.
your affairs--your state.
in one spirit--the fruit of partaking of the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 4:3 Ephesians 4:4 ).
with one mind--rather as Greek, "soul," the sphere of the affections; subordinate to the "Spirit," man's higher and heavenly nature. "There is sometimes natural antipathies among believers; but these are overcome, when there is not only unity of spirit, but also of soul" [BENGEL].
striving together--with united effort.
28. terrified--literally, said of horses or other animals startled or suddenly scared; so of sudden consternation in general.
which--your not being terrified.
evident token of perdition--if they would only perceive it ( 2 Thessalonians 1:5 ). It attests this, that in contending hopelessly against you, they are only rushing on to their own perdition, not shaking your united faith and constancy.
to you of salvation--The oldest manuscripts read, "of your salvation"; not merely your temporal safety.
29. For--rather, a proof that this is an evident token from God of your salvation, "Because," &c.
it is given--Greek, "it has been granted as a favor," or "gift of grace." Faith is the gift of God ( Ephesians 2:8 ), not wrought in the soul by the will of man, but by the Holy Ghost ( John 1:12 John 1:13 ).
believe on him--"To believe Him," would merely mean to believe He speaks the truth. "To believe on Him," is to believe in, and trust through, Him to obtain eternal salvation. Suffering for Christ is not only not a mark of God's anger, but a gift of His grace.
30. ye saw in me--( Acts 16:12 Acts 16:19 , &c. 1 Thessalonians 2:2 ). I am "in nothing terrified by mine adversaries" ( Philippians 1:29 ), so ought not ye. The words here, "ye saw . . . and . . . hear," answer to "I come and see you, or else . . . hear" ( Philippians 1:27 ).