Philippians 1:23-25

23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Philippians 1:23 in Other Translations

KJV
23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
ESV
23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
NLT
23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
MSG
23 Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better
CSB
23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ-which is far better-

Philippians 1:23-25 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS

Philippi was a Roman colony, and the chief city of one part of Macedonia, Ac 16:12, it is by Appianus called Datos which was its original name; and by Diodorus Siculus it is called Crenidae {a}, from, the fountains about it; and it took its name Philippi, from Philip king of Macedon, father of Alexander the great, who rebuilt and fortified it; near this place a famous battle was fought, and a victory obtained by Augustus Caesar and Mark Antony, over Brutus and Cassius; it is now called Chrixopolis, properly Chrysopolis, from the plenty of golden mines near it: here the apostle was directed by a vision, to go and preach the Gospel; and which was succeeded, to the conversion of Lydia, and the jailer, and their families; which laid the foundation of a Gospel church in this place, to whom this epistle is written; and which was written by the apostle when he was a prisoner at Rome, as many things in it show; for he more than once makes mention of his bonds, and of these being made manifest in Caesar's palace, and of some of Caesar's household sending their Christian salutations to this church: Dr. Hammond makes the date of this epistle to be the year 59, and Dr. Lightfoot places it in the year 60, and the sixth of Nero; the occasion of it was this, the Philippians, to whom the apostle was very dear, he being the first preacher of the Gospel to them, and the instrument of their conversion, hearing that he was a prisoner at Rome, send their minister and pastor Epaphroditus to him, to visit him, and by him a present to support him under his afflicted circumstances, and who related to him the case of this church; and at his departure he sent by him this letter; the design of which is, to express his love and affection to them; to give them an account of his bonds, and the usefulness of them, and how he was supported under them; to encourage them under all the afflictions and persecutions, they endured for the sake of Christ; to excite them to love, unity, and peace, among themselves; to caution them against false teachers, judaizing Christians, that were for joining Moses and Christ, law and Gospel, works and grace together, in the business of salvation; to exhort them to a holy life and conversation, and to return them thanks for their kind present.

{a} Vid. Ptolom. Geograph. l. 3. c. 13.

\\INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPIANS 1\\

This chapter contains the inscription of the epistle; the apostle's salutation of the Philippians; an account of his thanksgivings, prayers, and affection for them, and confidence of them; a narrative of his sufferings, and the use of them; and an exhortation to a conversation becoming the Gospel, to abide by it, and suffer cheerfully for it. The inscription is in Php 1:1, in which are mentioned by name the persons that subscribed the epistle, Paul and Timothy; and who are described by their character, servants of Jesus Christ; and also the persons to whom the epistle was sent, by the place of their abode, Philippi; the members of the church by their general character, saints in Christ Jesus; and the officers of it, by those that are peculiar to them as such, bishops and deacons: the salutation is in Php 1:2, and then follows a thanksgiving for them to God, which was made in prayer, and upon every remembrance of them at the throne of grace, and that for their constant fellowship in the Gospel, Php 1:3-5, and the apostle expresses his strong confidence of the good work of grace being begun in them, and of the performance of it, until the day of Christ; grounded upon a judgment of charity, and a belief of their being partakers of the same grace with himself, Php 1:6,7, and declares the most tender and affectionate love to them, for the truth of which he calls God to witness, Php 1:8, and as a proof of it, puts up several petitions for them; that they might have an increase of love, and spiritual knowledge, judgment, and sense, that so they might be capable of trying and approving things that differ, and which are the most excellent of them; that they might be sincere and harmless in their lives, and always doing good works in the strength of Christ, and to the glory of God, Php 1:9-11, next follows an account of his bonds and imprisonment, and the usefulness of them, as that they were for the further spread of the Gospel in many places, and even in Caesar's palace, Php 1:12,13, yea, by means of them several of the ministering brethren were the more emboldened to preach the Gospel without fear of men; though there was a difference among them, some preached Christ of envy, strife, and contention, thinking to add to the apostle's troubles, and others, of good will, and of love to the apostle, who they knew was set for the defence of the Gospel, Php 1:14-17, upon all which the apostle gives his sentiments, and makes his reflections, that whatever were the views of some men in preaching, it was, and ever would be, constant matter of joy to him that Christ was preached, Php 1:18, yea, he was satisfied, that the ill designed by some to him would be overruled for his good, by means of the prayers of the saints, and the supply of the Spirit; for he had a pure and well grounded hope and expectation, that he should never be brought to shame and confusion, but that Christ would be magnified in him living and dying; for he knew that both his life, and his death, would be gain to Christ, or that it would be for the glory of Christ for him to live, and his own gain should he die, Php 1:19-21, which put him in a strait what was most eligible in this case, whether, to live in the flesh, or depart out of the world; seeing to live in the flesh, and labour in the ministry, were fruitful and profitable, and more necessary and useful for the churches of Christ, and to die, and be with Christ, were better for himself, Php 1:22-24, but upon maturely weighing things on both sides, like one of a truly noble public spirit, he inclines to the former; nay, is persuaded, that he should continue longer to be an instrument of increasing the faith and joy of the Lord's people, which he knew would abound in Christ on his account, should he be restored again, Php 1:25,26, and then he concludes the chapter with an exhortation to the Philippians, to order their conversation agreeably to the Gospel of Christ, and to continue firm and unanimous in it, and use their utmost endeavours to keep it themselves, and spread it among others, Php 1:27, being not daunted and intimidated by the persecutions of men, which to the persecutors was a sign of perdition, looked darkly, and with an ill aspect upon them, but to the persecuted was a token that they had an interest in that salvation which is of God, Php 1:28, for as it is a gift of grace to believe in Christ, so likewise to suffer for him, Php 1:29, to which the apostle animates them by his own example, that which they were called unto being no other than what they had seen endured by him, and had heard concerning high, Php 1:30.

Philippians 1:23-25 In-Context

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!
23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;
24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,
26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

Cross References 2

  • 1. 2 Timothy 4:6
  • 2. S John 12:26; 2 Corinthians 5:8
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