Philippians 1

Verse 33. Nevertheless] πλην. Moreover, or therefore, on

the consideration of God's design in the institution of marriage,

let every one of you love his wife as himself, because she is both

naturally and by a Divine ordinance a part of himself.

That she reverence her husband.] Let the wife ever consider the

husband as her head, and this he is, not only by nature, but also

by the ordinance of God. These are very important matters, and on

them the apostle lays great stress. See the following


THERE is one subject in the preceding verse on which I could not

enlarge sufficiently in the notes, and which I have reserved for

this place; viz. what the apostle says concerning the mystery of

marriage, which certainly has a deeper meaning than what is

generally apprehended. Dr. Macknight has some good observations

on this part of the subject, which I shall beg leave to lay before

my readers.

1. "The apostle calls the formation of Eve from Adam's body, his

marriage with her; and the intimate union established between them

by that marriage, a great mystery, because it contained an

important emblematical meaning concerning the regeneration of

believers, and their union with Christ, which hitherto had been

kept secret, but which he had discovered in the 30th verse.

Eph 5:30

For there, in allusion to what Adam said concerning Eve, 'This now

is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,' the apostle says,

concerning Christ and believers: We are bone of his bones, and

flesh of his flesh: that is, we are parts of his body, the Church.

And by this application of Adam's words concerning Eve to Christ

and to his Church, he intimates, First, That the formation of Eve

of a rib taken out of Adam's body was a figure of the regeneration

of believers by the breaking of Christ's body, mentioned

Eph 5:25. Secondly, That Adam's love to Eve, on account of her

being formed of his body, was a figure of Christ's love to

believers because they are become his body, Eph 5:30. Thirdly,

That Adam's marriage with Eve was a figure of the eternal union of

Christ with believers in heaven, mentioned Eph 5:27. For he left

his Father to be united to his Church.

2. "In giving this emblematical representation of these ancient

facts, the apostle has not exceeded the bounds of probability. In

the first age, neither the art of writing, nor any permanent

method of conveying instruction, being invented, it was necessary

to make such striking actions and events as could not easily be

forgotten emblems of the instruction meant to be perpetuated. On

this supposition, Adam, in whom the human race began, was a

natural image of Christ, in whom the human race was to be

restored; and his deep sleep, the opening of his side, and the

formation of Eve of a rib taken out of his side, were fit emblems

of Christ's death, of the opening of his side on the cross, and of

the regeneration of believers by his death. The love which Adam

expressed towards Eve, and his union with her by marriage, were

lively images of Christ's love to believers, and of his eternal

union with them in one society after their resurrection; and Eve

herself, who was formed of a rib taken from Adam's side, was a

natural image of believers, who are regenerated, both in their

body and in their mind, by the breaking of Christ's side on the

cross. Thus, the circumstances which accompanied the formation of

Eve being fit emblems of the formation of the Church, we may

suppose they were brought to pass to prefigure that great event;

and, by prefiguring it, to show that it was decreed of God from

the very beginning.

3. "The aptness, however, of these images is not the only reason

for supposing that the formation of Eve, and her marriage with

Adam in paradise, were emblems of the regeneration of believers by

the death of Christ, and of their eternal union with him in

heaven. The singular manner in which Eve was formed, and the

declaration at her marriage with Adam, 'Therefore shall a man

leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife, and

they shall be one flesh,' strongly lead to that conclusion. Eve

was not formed of the dust of the earth, as all other living

things were made, (not excepting Adam himself,) but of a rib taken

from Adam's side while he was in a deep sleep. Now, for this

diversity, what reason can be assigned, if that which the apostle

hath suggested is not admitted? Farther: unless some deep

instruction were couched under the formation of Eve, what occasion

was there for Adam, at his marriage with her, to declare, 'This is

now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called

woman, because she was taken out of man: therefore shall a man

leave,' &c.? For although the taking of Eve out of Adam might be

a reason for Adam's affection towards her, it was no reason for

the affection of his posterity towards their wives, who were not

so formed. The reason of their love to their wives is their being

creatures of the same species with themselves. This Eve might

have been, though, like Adam, she had been formed of the dust of

the earth. Wherefore Adam's declaration concerning Eve being

taken out of his body, and concerning his love to her on that

account, was intended for some purpose peculiar to himself;

namely, as he was a type of Him who was to restore the human race

by the breaking of his body on the cross, and who on that account

loves them, and will unite them to himself for ever. Upon the

whole, the formation of Eve and her marriage with Adam, and his

love to and union with her because she was taken out of his side,

and the declaration that, on that account, all his posterity

should love their wives, and continue united to them through life,

(a union which does not subsist among other animals,) are events

so singular, that I do not see what account can be given of them,

unless, with the Apostle Paul, we suppose that, agreeably to the

most ancient method of instruction, God intended these things as

figurative representations of the regeneration of believers by the

death of Christ, and of his eternal union with them in heaven; and

that Adam and Eve were taught by God himself to consider them as


4. "It is no small confirmation of the apostle's emblematical

interpretation of the formation and marriage of Eve, that in

Scripture we find a variety of images and expressions founded on

that interpretation. For example, Ro 5:14, Adam is expressly

called a type of him who was to come, on which account,

1Co 15:45,

Christ is called the last Adam. Next, the catholic Church,

consisting of believers of all nations, is called the body of

Christ, and the members thereof are said to be members of his

body, of his flesh, and of his bones; in allusion to the formation

of Eve, the emblem of the Church. For, as Eve was formed of a rib

taken out of Adam's body during his deep sleep, so believers are

regenerated both in mind and body, and formed into one great

society, and united to Christ as their head and governor, by the

breaking of his body on the cross. Thirdly, to this emblematical

meaning of the formation of Eve, our Lord, I think, alluded when

he instituted his supper. For instead of appointing one symbol

only of his death, he appointed two; and, in explaining the first

of them, he expressed himself in such a manner as to show that he

had his eye on what happened to Adam when Eve was formed: This is

my body which is broken for you-for your regeneration. Fourthly,

the eternal union of the regenerated with Christ after the

resurrection is called a marriage, Re 19:7;

and the new Jerusalem, that is, the inhabitants of the new

Jerusalem, the society of the redeemed, is termed the bride, the

Lamb's wife; and the preparing of men for that happy union, by

introducing them into the Church upon earth through faith, and by

sanctifying them through the word, is called, 2Co 11:2,

A fitting them for one husband, that at the resurrection they may

be presented a chaste virgin to Christ; in allusion, I suppose, to

the presenting of Eve to Adam, in order to her marriage with him;

and to show that, in this expression, the apostle had the

figurative meaning of Eve's marriage in his mind, he mentions,

2Co 11:3, the subtlety of the devil in deceiving Eve. Finally,

the union of the Jewish Church with God, as the figure of the

catholic Church, consisting of the regenerated of all nations, is

by God himself termed a marriage, Jer 3:14; Eze 16:8-32; and

God is called the husband of that people, Isa 54:5; and their

union to him by the law of Moses is termed, The day of their

espousals, Jer 2:2."

1. A truly Christian marriage has an excellence, holiness, and

unity in it, that cannot be easily described; and let it be

observed that, while it prefigures the union of Christ with his

Church, it is one means of giving children to the Church, and

members to the mystical body of Christ. It is an ordinance of

God, and, cannot be too highly honoured; endless volumes might be

written on its utility to man: without marriage, by which every

man is assigned his own wife, and every woman her own husband,

even the multitude of spurious births which would take place would

fail to keep up the population of the earth; and natural, moral,

and political wretchedness would be the consequence of

promiscuous, fortuitous, and transitory connections. For without

that ascertainment of peculiar property which marriage gives to

every man in his wife, and to every woman in her husband, the

human progeny would be unnoticed, unclaimed, uneducated, and

totally neglected. This would continually increase the

wretchedness, and in process of time bring about the total

depopulation of the world.

2. The husband is to love his wife, the wife to obey and

venerate her husband; love and protection on the one hand,

affectionate subjection and fidelity on the other. The husband

should provide for his wife without encouraging profuseness; watch

over her conduct without giving her vexation; keep her in

subjection without making her a slave; love her without jealousy;

oblige her without flattery; honour her without making her proud;

and be hers entirely, without becoming either her footman or her

slave. In short, they have equal rights and equal claims; but

superior strength gives the man dominion, affection and subjection

entitle the woman to love and protection. Without the woman, man

is but half a human being; in union with the man, the woman finds

her safety and perfection.

In the above remarks there are many things solid and useful;

there are others which rest more on fancy than judgment.

3. Of marriage the Church of Rome has made a sacrament, and it

is one of the seven which that Church acknowledges. That it is an

ordinance of God is sufficiently evident; that he has not

made it a sacrament is not less so. Though the minister of

religion celebrates it, yet the regulation of it, in reference to

inheritance, &c., is assumed by the state. This is of great

moment, as by it many evils are prevented, and many political and

domestic advantages secured. If a man enter hastily into this

state it is at his own risk; after he has once entered it, the

seal of the legislature is imposed upon it, and with his

engagements, he cannot trifle. A consideration of this has

prevented many hasty and disproportionate alliances. Though they

might hope to trifle with the Church, they dare not do it with the






Chronological Notes relative to this Epistle.

Usherian year of the world, 4066.

-Alexandrian era of the world, 5564.

-Antiochian era of the world, 5554.

-Constantinopolitan era of the world, 5570.

-Year of the Eusebian epocha of the Creation, 4290.

-Year of the Julian period, 4772.

-Year of the minor Jewish era of the world, 3822.

-Year of the Greater Rabbinical era of the world, 4421.

-Year from the Flood, according to Archbishop Usher, and

the English Bible, 2410.

-Year of the Cali yuga, or Indian era of the Deluge, 3164.

-Year of the era of Iphitas, or since the first commencement

of the Olympic games, 1002.

-Year of the Nabonassarean era, 809.

-Year of the era of the Seleucidae, 374.

-Year of the Spanish era, 100.

-Year of the Actiac or Actian era, 93.

-Year from the birth of Christ, 66.

-Year of the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 62.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Varro, 814.

-Year of the CCXth Olympiad, 2.

-Jesus, high priest of the Jews.

-Common Golden Number, 6.

-Jewish Golden Number, 3.

-Year of the Solar Cycle, 15.

-Dominical Letter C.

-Jewish Passover, April 10th.

-Easter Sunday, April 11th.

-Epact, or the moon's age on the 22d of March, or the Xth

of the Calends of April, 25.

-Year of the reign of Nero Caesar, the sixth emperor of the

Romans, 9.

-In the first year of Albinus, governor of the Jews.

-Year of Vologesus, king of the Parthians, 12.

-Year of Domitius Corbulo, governor of Syria, 3.

-Roman Consuls; P. Marius Celsus, and L. Asinius Gallus,

from Jan. 1st to July 1st; and L. Annaeus Seneca the

philosopher, and Trebellius Maximus, for the remainder of

the year.


Paul, in conjunction with Timothy, addresses himself to

the saints at Philippi, and gives them his apostolical

benediction, 1, 2.

Thanks God for their conversion and union, and expresses his

persuasion that God will continue his work among them, 3-6.

Tells them of his strong affection for them, and prays that

they may be filed with the salvation of God, 7-11.

Shows them how much his persecution had contributed to the

success of the Gospel, 12-14.

Informs that there were some at Rome who preached the Gospel

from unworthy motives; yet he was convinced that this, which

was designed to injure him, should turn to his advantage,


Mentions his uncertainty whether he should be liberated or

martyred, and his perfect readiness to meet either; yet, on

the whole, expresses a hope that he should again visit them,


Exhorts them to a holy life, and comforts them under their

tribulations, 27-30.


Verse 1. Paul and Timotheus] That Timothy was at this time

with the apostle in Rome we learn from Php 2:19, and also that he

was very high in the apostle's estimation. He had also

accompanied the apostle on his two voyages to Philippi, see Acts

xvi. and xx., and was therefore deservedly dear to the Church in

that city. It was on these accounts that St. Paul joined his name

to his own, not because he was in any part the author of this

epistle, but he might have been the apostle's amanuensis, though

the subscription to the epistle gives this office to Epaphroditus.

Neither in this epistle, nor in those to the Thessalonians and to

Philemon does St. Paul call himself an apostle; the reason of

which appears to be, that in none of these places was his

apostolical authority called in question.

Bishops and deacons] επισκοποις. The overseers of the Church

of God, and those who ministered to the poor, and preached

occasionally. There has been a great deal of paper wasted on the

inquiry, "Who is meant by bishops here, as no place could have

more than one bishop?" To which it has been answered: "Philippi

was a metropolitan see, and might have several bishops." This is

the extravagance of trifling. I believe no such officer is meant

as we now term bishop.

Verse 2. Grace be unto you] See Clarke on Ro 1:7.

Verse 3. Upon every remembrance] As often as you recur to my

mind, so often do I thank God for the great work wrought among

you. Some think that the words should be translated, for all your

kind remembrance; referring to their kind attention to the apostle,

in supplying his wants, &c.

Verse 4. Always in every prayer] I pray often for you, and

have great pleasure in doing it, seeing what God has already

wrought among you.

Verse 5. For your fellowship in the Gospel] if we consider

κοινωνια as implying spiritual fellowship or communion, then it

signifies, not only their attention to the Gospel, their readiness

to continue it, and perseverance in it, but also their unity and

affection among themselves. Some understand the word as

expressing their liberality to the apostle, and to the Gospel in

general; for the term may not only be applied to communion among

themselves, but to communications to others. This sense, though

followed by Chrysostom and Theophylact, does not appear to be the

best; though we know it to be a fact that they were liberal in

supplying the apostle's necessities, and, no doubt, in ministering

to the support of others.

Verse 6. Being confident] There shall be nothing lacking on

God's part to support you; and to make you wise, holy and happy;

and bring you at last to his kingdom and glory.

Verse 7. It is meet for me to think this] εστιδικαιον. It is

just that I should think so, because I have you in my heart-you

live in my warmest love and most affectionate remembrance.

Inasmuch as both in my bonds] Because you have set your hearts

upon me in my bonds, sending Epaphroditus to minister to me in my

necessities, Php 2:25, and contributing of your own substance to

me, Php 4:14, sending once and again to me while I was in bonds

for the defence of the faith, Php 4:15, 16; those things which

being a sweet savour, a sacrifice well pleasing and acceptable to

God, Php 4:18, confirm my hope concerning you; especially when I

find you yet standing firm under the like afflictions, having the

same conflict which ye saw in me, when I was among you, Ac 16:12,

&c., and now hear to be in me, Php 1:30.


Verse 8. For God is my record] I call God to witness that I

have the strongest affection for you, and that I love you with

that same kind of tender concern with which Christ loved the world

when he gave himself for it; for I am even ready to be offered on

the sacrifice and service of your faith, Php 2:17.

Verse 9. This I pray] This is the substance of all my prayers

for you, that your love to God, to one another, and to all

mankind, may abound yet more and more, ετιμαλλονκαιμαλλον

περισσευη, that it may be like a river, perpetually fed with rain

and fresh streams so that it continues to swell and increase till

it fills all its banks, and floods the adjacent plains.

In knowledge] Of God's nature, perfections, your own duty and

interest, his work upon your souls, and his great designs in the


And in all judgment] καιπασηαισθησει. In all spiritual

or moral feeling; that you may at once have the clearest

perception and the fullest enjoyment of those things which concern

your salvation; that ye may not only know but feel that you are of

God, by the Spirit which he has given you; and that your feeling

may become more exercised in Divine things, so that it may he

increasingly sensible and refined.

Verse 10. That ye may approve things that are excellent] εις

τοδοκιμαζεινυμαςταδιαφεροντα. To the end that ye may put to

proof the things that differ, or the things that are in are

more profitable. By the pure and abundant love which they

received from God they would be able to try whatever differed from

the teaching they had received, and from the experience they had

in spiritual things.

That ye may be sincere] ιναητεειλικρινεις. The word

ειλικρινεια, which we translate sincerity, is compounded of

ειλη, the splendour of the sun, and κρινω, I judge; a thing

which may be examined in the clearest and strongest light, without

the possibility of detecting a single flaw or imperfection. "A

metaphor," says Mr. Leigh, "taken from the usual practice of

chapmen, in the view and choice of their wares, that bring them

forth into the light and hold up the cloth against the sun, to see

if they can espy any default in them. Pure as the sun." Be so

purified and refined in your souls, by the indwelling Spirit, that

even the light of God shining into your hearts, shall not be able

to discover a fault that the love of God has not purged away.

Our word sincerity is from the Latin sinceritas, which is

compounded of sine, without, and cera, wax, and is a metaphor

taken from clarified honey; for the mel sincerum, pure or

clarified honey, is that which is sine cera, without wax, no part

of the comb being left in it. Sincerity, taken in its full

meaning, is a word of the most extensive import; and, when applied

in reference to the state of the soul, is as strong as the word

perfection itself. The soul that is sincere is the soul that is

without sin.

Without offence] απροσκοποι. Neither offending God nor your

neighbour; neither being stumbled yourselves, nor the cause of

stumbling to others.

Till the day of Christ] Till he comes to judge the world, or,

till the day in which you are called into the eternal world.

According to this prayer, a man, under the power and influence of

the grace of God, may so love as never to offend his Maker, to the

latest period of his life. Those who deny this, must believe that

the Spirit of God either cannot or will not do it; or, that the

blood of Christ cannot cleanse from all unrighteousness. And this

would be not only antiscriptural, but also blasphemous.

Verse 11. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness]

By righteousness we may understand, here, the whole work of the

Spirit of God, in the soul of a believer; and by the fruits of

righteousness, all holy tempers, holy words, and right actions.

And with these they are to be filled, πεπληρωμενοι, filled up,

filled full; the whole soul and life occupied with them, ever

doing something by which glory is brought to God, or good done to


By Jesus Christ] That is, according to his doctrine, through

the power of his grace, and by the agency of his Spirit.

Unto the glory and praise of God.] God being honoured when the

work of his grace thus appears to men in the fruits of

righteousness; and God is praised by all the faithful when his

work thus appears. Every genuine follower of God has his glory in

view by all that he does, says, or intends. He loves to glorify

God, and he glorifies him by showing forth in his conversion the

glorious working of the glorious power of the Lord.

Verse 12. That the things which happened unto me] St. Paul was

at this time a prisoner at Rome, and it appears probable that he

had already been called to make a defence for himself, and to

vindicate the doctrines of the Gospel; and this he had been

enabled to do in such a manner that the honour of the Gospel had

been greatly promoted by it. As the Philippians loved him

greatly, he felt it right to give them this information relative

to his state, and how God had turned his bonds to the advantage of

that cause on account of which he was bound.

Verse 13. My bonds-are manifest in all the palace] In

consequence of the public defence which he was obliged to make,

his doctrines must be fully known in the court, and throughout the

whole city, as on his trial he would necessarily explain the

whole. The praetorium, πραιτωριον, which we here translate

palace, signifies the court where causes were heard and judged by

the praetor or civil magistrate; it sometimes signifies the

general's tent, and at others, the emperor's palace. It is

supposed that it is used in this latter sense here. There were,

no doubt, persons belonging to the emperor's household who would

bring the news of so remarkable a case to the palace; for we find

that there were Christians even in Caesar's household; Php 4:22.

Verse 14. Waxing confident] Finding the effect produced by the

public defence which the apostle made, they were greatly

encouraged, and the more boldly and openly proclaimed the doctrine

of Christ crucified.

The word] The doctrine of Christ; several excellent MSS. and

versions add, some θεου, others κυριου, the word of God, or

the word of the Lord. This is a respectable reading, and is

probably genuine.

Verse 15. Some-preach Christ even of envy and strife] These

must have been the Judaizing teachers, who insisted on the

necessity of connecting the Mosaic rites with the Christian

institutions; and, probably, denounced Paul to the Jews dwelling

at Rome as not only an enemy to the law and the prophets, but also

as a very imperfect Christian, because he declared strongly

against the doctrine of circumcision, &c.; and no doubt

endeavoured to prejudice him with the heathen Romans.

The word preach is not to be taken here as implying that the

different persons mentioned were what we call preachers of the

Gospel: all that we can understand from St. Paul's use of the word

is, that they proclaimed Christ as the promised Messiah, espoused

the Christian cause, and contended, whether in public or private,

that this Jesus was the Christ; but nothing of this kind appears

to have been intended in reference to the conversion of sinners.

Some also of good will.] Some, through mere benevolence to the

apostle, both espoused his doctrine and vindicated his cause.

Verse 16. Preach Christ of contention] The Judaizing teachers,

they also preach Christ; they acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ

or promised Messiah, and preach him as such.

Not sincerely] ουχαγνως. Not chastely, garbling the Gospel;

not speaking the whole truth, but just what served their purpose;

and at the same time they denounced the apostle as an enemy to the

Divine institutions, because he spoke against circumcision.

Verse 17. The other of love] Through a sincere desire, not

only to make known the way of salvation to the people, but also to

vindicate and help the apostle, because they considered him as

appointed by God to preach and defend the Gospel. The 16th and

17th verses are transposed by ABDEFG, and several others; the

Syriac, Arabic of Erpen, Coptic, Sahidic, AEthiopic, Armenian,

Vulgate, Itala, and several of the fathers. On this evidence

Griesbach transposed them in his edition.

Verse 18. What then?] It is a matter of little importance to

me how Christ is preached, provided he be preached. I rejoice

that any thing is known of him; and am truly glad that the Gospel

is even made partially known, for this will lead to farther

inquiries, and in the end be of service to the truth.

Verse 19. This shall turn to my salvation] That is: It will be

the means of my temporal safety; of my deliverance; for so the

word σωτηρια is here to be understood. The Jews had denounced the

apostle as an enemy to Caesar; but he knew that, when the nature

of the Gospel should be fully known, the Romans would see that he

could be no enemy to Caesar who proclaimed a prince whose kingdom

was not of this world; and who had taught, in the most unequivocal

manner, that all Christians were to give tribute to whom tribute

was due, and while they feared God to honour also the king, though

that king was Nero.

Through your prayer] Knowing them to be genuine followers of

Christ, he was satisfied that their prayers would be very

available in his behalf; and under God he places much dependence

upon them.

The supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ] The word επιχορηγια,

which we translate supply, signifies also furnishing whatever is

necessary. The Spirit of God he expected to help all his

infirmities, and to furnish him with all the wisdom, prudence,

strength of reason, and argument, which might be necessary for him

in the different trials he had to pass through with his

persecutors, and the civil powers, at whose judgment-seat he


Verse 20. Earnest expectation] He had the most confident

expectation that God would stand by him, so that he should be

enabled, with the utmost liberty of speech, εςπασηπαρρησια, to

testify the Gospel of the grace of God; and, should he have the

liberty of doing so, he was utterly regardless what the issue

might be relative to himself. Whether life or death, was to him

perfectly equal, and perfectly indifferent, providing Christ were

magnified-his person, nature, doctrine, &c., shown to be, what

they really are, most noble, most excellent, most necessary, and

most glorious.

Verse 21. For to me to live is Christ] Whether I live or die,

Christ is gain to me. While I live I am Christ's property and

servant, and Christ is my portion; if I die-if I be called to

witness the truth at the expense of my life, this will be gain; I

shall be saved from the remaining troubles and difficulties in

life, and be put immediately in possession of my heavenly

inheritance. As, therefore, it respects myself, it is a matter of

perfect indifference to me whether I be taken off by a violent

death, or whether I be permitted to continue here longer; in

either case I can lose nothing.

Verse 22. But if I live in the flesh] Should I be spared

longer, I shall labour for Christ as I have done; and this is the

fruit of my labour, that Christ shall be magnified by my longer

life, Php 1:20.

Yet what I shall choose I wot not.] Had I the two conditions

left to my own choice, whether to die now and go to glory, or

whether to live longer in persecutions and affliction, (glorifying

Christ by spreading the Gospel,) I could not tell which to prefer.

Verse 23. For I am in a strait betwixt two] Viz. the dying

now, and being immediately with God; or living longer to preach

and spread the Gospel, and thus glorify Christ among men.

Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ] τηνεπιθμιαν

ειςτοαναλυσαι. It appears to be a metaphor taken from the

commander of a vessel, in a foreign port, who feels a strong

desire αναλυσαι, to set sail, and get to his own country and

family; but this desire is counterbalanced by a conviction that

the general interests of the voyage may be best answered by his

longer stay in the port where his vessel now rides; for he is not

in dock, he is not aground, but rides at anchor in the port, and

may any hour weigh and be gone. Such was the condition of the

apostle: he was not at home, but although he was abroad it was on

his employer's business; he wishes to return, and is cleared out

and ready to set sail, but he has not received his last orders

from his owner, and whatever desire he may feel to be at home he

will faithfully wait till his final orders arrive.

Which is far better] πολλωμαλλονκρεισσον. Multo magis

melior, VULGATE; much more better. The reader will at once see

that the words are very emphatic.

Verse 24. To abide in the flesh] It would certainly be gain to

myself to die, but it will be a gain to you if I live. If I die I

shall go immediately to glory; if I live I shall continue to

minister to you, and strengthen you in the faith.

Verse 25. Having this confidence, I know that I shall abide]

Convinced that it is necessary that I should live longer, for the

spreading and defence of the Gospel, I am persuaded that I shall

now be liberated. This was in fact the case, for, after having

been two years in bonds at Rome, he was released.

For your furtherance] In the way of righteousness.

And joy of faith] And happiness in that way. The farther a man

proceeds in the way of truth, the stronger his faith will be; and

the stronger his faith, the greater his joy or happiness.

Verse 26. That your rejoicing may be more abundant] Men

rejoice more in recovering a thing that was lost, than they do in

a continual possession of what is of much greater value.

Verse 27. Let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel]

The apostle considers the Church at Philippi as a free or imperial

city, which possesses great honours, dignities, and privileges;

and he exhorts them to act, αξιως, worthy of or suitably to those

honours and privileges. This is the idea that is expressed by the

word πολιτευεσθε, act according to the nature of your political

situation, the citizenship and privileges which you possess in

consequence of your being free inhabitants of Christ's imperial

city, the Church. The apostle resumes the same metaphor,

Php 3:20: ημωντοπολιτευμαενουρανοιςυπαρχει.

For our citizenship is in heaven; but in this last verse he puts

heaven in the place of the Church, and this is all right; for he,

who is not a member of the Church of Christ on earth, can have no

right to the kingdom of heaven, and he who does not walk worthy of

the Gospel of Christ cannot be counted worthy to enter through the

gates into the city of the eternal King.

Whether I come and see you] Leaving the matter still in doubt

as to them, whether he should again visit them.

In one spirit] Being all of one mind under the influence of the

Holy Ghost.

Striving together] συναθλουντες. Wrestling together, not in

contention with each other, but in union against the enemies of

the Gospel faith-the doctrine of Christ crucified, and freedom

from all Mosaic rites and ceremonies, as well as from sin and

perdition, through his passion and sacrifice.

Verse 28. In nothing terrified by your adversaries] So it

appears that the Church at Philippi was then under persecution.

Which is to them] ητιςαυτοιςεπτιν. Some very judicious

critics consider ητις as referring to πιστις, the faith of the

Gospel, which they, the heathen, considered to be a token of

perdition to all them who embraced it; but, as the apostle says,

it was to them the Philippians, on the contrary, the most evident

token of salvation; for, having embraced the faith of our Lord

Jesus Christ, they were incontestably in the way to eternal


Verse 29. Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ] υμιν

εχαρισθη. To you it is graciously given; it is no small privilege

that God has so far honoured you as to permit you to suffer on

Christ's account. It is only his most faithful servants that he

thus honours. Be not therefore terrified by your enemies; they

can do nothing to you which God will not turn to your eternal

advantage. We learn from this that it is as great a privilege to

suffer for Christ as to believe on him; and the former in certain

cases (as far as the latter in all cases) becomes the means of

salvation to them who are thus exercised.

Verse 30. Having the same conflict] When Paul preached the

Gospel at Philippi he was grievously persecuted, as we learn from

Ac 16:19-40, being stripped, scourged, thrown into prison, even

into the dungeon, and his feet made fast in the stocks. This was

the conflict they had seen in him; and now they heard that he had

been sent prisoner to Rome as an evil doer, and that he was at

present in bonds, and shortly to be tried for his life before the

Roman emperor to whom he had been obliged to appeal.

1. IT was no small encouragement to these persons, (1.) That

whatever sufferings they met with they were supported under them.

(2.) That they suffered in the same cause in which their

illustrious apostle was suffering. (3.) That they suffered, not

because they had done any evil, or could be accused of any, but

because they believed in the Son of God, who died for them and for

all mankind. (4.) That all these sufferings were sanctified to

their eternal good.

2. And God is able to make the same grace abound towards us in

like circumstances; it is for this purpose that such consolatory

portions are left on record. He who is persecuted or afflicted

for Christ's sake, is most eminently honoured by his Creator.

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