Salutation1 From Paul ▼
▼ Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.and Timothy, slaves ▼
▼ Traditionally, “servants” or “bondservants.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.▼
▼ Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, ▼ with the overseers ▼ and deacons. 2 Grace and peace to you ▼
▼ Grk “Grace to you and peace.”from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Prayer for the Church3 I thank my God every time I remember you. ▼
▼ This could also be translated “for your every remembrance of me.” See discussion below.4 I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you 5 because of your participation ▼
▼ Your participation (Grk “fellowship”) could refer to Paul rejoicing because of the Philippian converts’ “fellowship” in the gospel along with him, but it is more likely that this refers to their active “participation” with him in the gospel by means of the financial support they sent to Paul on more than one occasion, discussed later in this letter (4:10–19, esp. 4:15–16).in the gospel from the first day until now. ▼
▼ Several alternatives for translating vv. 3–5 are possible: (1) “I thank my God every time I remember you, yes, always in my every prayer for all of you. I pray with joy because of your participation…” (see NAB; also M. Silva, Philippians [BECNT], 43–44; G. D. Fee, Philippians [NICNT], 76–80); (2) “I thank my God because of your every remembrance of me. Always in my every prayer for all of you I pray with joy. [I am grateful] for your participation…” (see Moffatt; also P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 58–61). Option (1) is quite similar to the translation above, but sees v. 4a as more or less parenthetical. Option (2) is significantly different in that Paul thanks God because the Philippians remember him rather than when he remembers them.6 For I am sure of this very thing, ▼ that the one ▼
▼ The referent is clearly God from the overall context of the paragraph and the mention of “the day of Christ Jesus” at the end, which would be redundant if Christ were referred to here.who began a good work in ▼
▼ Or “among.”you will perfect it ▼
▼ The word “it” is not in the Greek text but has been supplied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 For ▼ it is right for me to think this about all of you, because I have you in my heart, ▼
▼ Or possibly “because you have me in your heart.”since both in my imprisonment ▼
▼ Grk “in my bonds.” The meaning “imprisonment” derives from a figurative extension of the literal meaning (“bonds,” “fetters,” “chains”), L&N 37.115.and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel all of you became partners in God’s grace ▼ together with me. 8 For God is my witness that I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight 10 so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Ministry as a Prisoner12 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, ▼
▼ Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel: ▼
▼ Grk “for the advance of the gospel.” The genitive εὐαγγελίου (euangeliou) is taken as objective.13 The ▼ whole imperial guard ▼
▼ The whole imperial guard (Grk “praetorium”) can refer to the elite troops stationed in Rome or the headquarters of administrators in the provinces (cf. Matt 27:27; Mark 15:16; John 18:28, 33; 19:9; Acts 23:35). In either case a metonymy is involved, with the place (the praetorium) put for those (soldiers or government officials) who were connected with it or stationed in it.and everyone else knows ▼
▼ Grk “it has become known by the whole imperial guard and all the rest.”that I am in prison ▼
▼ Grk “my bonds [are].”for the sake of Christ, 14 and most of the brothers and sisters, ▼ having confidence in the Lord ▼
▼ Or “most of the brothers and sisters in the Lord, having confidence.”because of my imprisonment, now more than ever ▼
▼ Grk “even more so.”dare to speak the word ▼
▼ A number of significant mss have “of God” after “word.” Although τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou) is amply supported in the Alexandrian and Western texts (א A B [D*] P Ψ 048vid 075 0278 33 81 1175 al lat co), the omission is difficult to explain as either an intentional deletion or unintentional oversight. To be sure, the pedigree of the witnesses is not nearly as great for the shorter reading (Ƥ46 D2 1739 1881 Maj.), but it explains well the rise of the other reading. Further, it explains the rise of κυρίου (kuriou, “of the Lord”), the reading of F and G (for if these mss had followed a Vorlage with τοῦ θεοῦ, κυρίου would not have been expected). Further, τοῦ θεοῦ is in different locations among the mss; such dislocations are usually signs of scribal additions to the text. Thus, the Byzantine text and a few other witnesses here have the superior reading, and it should be accepted as the original.fearlessly.
15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16 The latter do so from love because they know that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment. ▼
▼ Grk “thinking to cause trouble to my bonds.”18 What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.
▼ Or “But.” The conjunction ἀλλά (alla) may be emphatic or contrastive. If the former, the idea may be that Paul will continue rejoicing because of the proclamation of the gospel or because of his imminent release from prison (v. 19); if the latter, Paul is now turning his attention solely to this second reason to rejoice, viz., that he will soon be released from prison. In this latter view the clause should be translated, “But I will also rejoice since I know…”and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance ▼ ▼ through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 My confident hope ▼
▼ Grk “according to my eager expectation and hope.” The κατά (kata) phrase is taken as governing the following ὅτι (hoti) clause (“that I will not be ashamed…”); the idea could be expressed more verbally as “I confidently hope that I will not be ashamed…”is that I will in no way be ashamed ▼
▼ Or possibly, “be intimidated, be put to shame.”but that with complete boldness, even now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether I live or die. ▼
▼ Grk “whether by life or by death.”21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 Now if I am to go on living in the body, ▼
▼ Grk “flesh.”this will mean productive work ▼
▼ Grk “fruit of work”; the genitive ἔργου (ergou) is taken as an attributed genitive in which the head noun, καρπός (karpos), functions attributively (cf. ExSyn 89–91).for me, yet I don’t know which I prefer: ▼
▼ Grk “what I shall prefer.” The Greek verb αἱρέω (haireō) could also mean “choose,” but in this context such a translation is problematic for it suggests that Paul could perhaps choose suicide (cf. L&N 30.86).▼ 23 I feel torn between the two, ▼
▼ Grk “I am hard-pressed between the two.” Cf. L&N 30.18.because I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, 24 but it is more vital for your sake that I remain ▼
▼ Grk “But to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.”in the body. ▼
▼ Grk “the flesh.”25 And since I am sure of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for the sake of your progress ▼
▼ Grk “for your progress.”and joy in the faith, ▼
▼ Paul’s confidence in his release from prison (I know that I will remain and continue with all of you) implies that this Roman imprisonment did not end in his death. Hence, there is the likelihood that he experienced a second Roman imprisonment later on (since the belief of the early church was that Paul died under Nero in Rome). If so, then the pastoral letters (1-2 Tim, Titus) could well fit into a life of Paul that goes beyond any descriptions in the book of Acts (which ends with Paul’s first Roman imprisonment). Some have argued that the pastorals cannot be genuine because they cannot fit into the history of Acts. But this view presupposes that Paul’s first Roman imprisonment was also his last.26 so that what you can be proud of may increase ▼ because of me in Christ Jesus, when I come back to you. ▼
▼ Grk “through my coming again to you.”
27 Only conduct yourselves ▼
▼ Grk “live as citizens.” The verb πολιτεύεσθε (politeuesqe) connotes the life of a freeman in a free Roman colony.▼
▼ Conduct yourselves (Grk “live your lives as citizens”). The Philippians lived in a free Roman city, and thus understood from their own experience what it meant to live as citizens. Paul is here picking up on that motif and elevating it to the citizenship of heaven. Cf. 3:20 (our citizenship is in heaven).in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ so that – whether I come and see you or whether I remain absent – I should hear that ▼
▼ Grk “the things concerning you, [namely,] that.” The ὅτι (hoti) clause is appositional to τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν (ta peri humōn) and therefore “the things concerning you” was not translated.you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel, ▼
▼ The phrase “the faith of the gospel” could mean one of three things: “the faith that is the gospel” (genitive of apposition), “the faith that originates from the gospel” (genitive of source), or “faith in the gospel” (objective genitive).28 and by not being intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is ▼ ▼
▼ The antecedent of the pronoun This is conceptual, most likely referring to the Philippian Christians standing firm for the gospel. Thus, their stand for the gospel is the dual sign of their opponents’ destruction and of their own salvation.a sign of their ▼
▼ Grk “to them.”▼
▼ Paul uses the dative “to them” (translated here as their) to describe the coming destruction of the gospel’s enemies, but the genitive “your” to describe the believers’ coming salvation. The dative accents what will happen to the enemies (called a dative of disadvantage [see ExSyn 143–44]), while the genitive accents what the believers will possess (and, in fact, do already possess, as v. 29 makes clear).destruction, but of your salvation – a sign which ▼
▼ Grk “this.” The pronoun refers back to “a sign”; thus these words have been repeated for clarity.is from God. 29 For it has been granted to you ▼
▼ Grk “For that which is on behalf of Christ has been granted to you - namely, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him.” The infinitive phrases are epexegetical to the subject, τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ (to huper Christou), which has the force of “the on-behalf-of-Christ thing,” or “the thing on behalf of Christ.” To translate this in English requires a different idiom.not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are encountering ▼
▼ Grk “having,” most likely as an instrumental participle. Thus their present struggle is evidence that they have received the gift of suffering.the same conflict that you saw me face and now hear that I am facing. ▼
▼ Grk “that you saw in me and now hear [to be] in me.”
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