Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Timotheus - mentioned as being well known to the Philippians (Acts 16:3; Acts 10:1-48; Acts 11:1-30; Acts 12:1-25; Acts 19:22), and now present with Paul. Not that Timothy joined in writing the letter; for Paul presently uses the first person singular, "I," not 'we' (Philippians 1:3). The mention of Timothy implies merely that he joined in the salutation to them (Philippians 2:19).
Servants [ douloi (G1401 ), 'bond-servants'] of Jesus Christ - wholly bound to Him forever; His property (1 Corinthians 7:22). So Delta G, Vulgate. But 'Aleph (') B read the order, 'Christ Jesus.' More special than 'servants of Yahweh' (Psalms 113:1). Paul does not call himself "an apostle," as in the inscriptions of all the letters except this, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon: the Philippians needed not to be reminded of his apostolic authority. He writes rather in affectionate familiarity.
Saints in Christ. True saintship depends on living union with Christ.
Philippi. More memorable as the first city in Europe wherein the Gospel was preached, than for the battle in which Octavius defeated Brutus, whereby the cause of the Roman republic was lost.
Bishops - synonymous with 'presbyters' in the apostolical churches; as appears from the same persons being called "elders of the church" at Ephesus, and "overseers" (Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; Greek, 'bishops,' Titus 1:5: cf. with Philippians 1:7; 1 Peter 5:1). This is the earliest letter where bishops and deacons are mentioned, and the only one where they are separately addressed. This accords with the probable course of events, deduced alike from the letters and history. While the apostles were constantly visiting the churches in person or by messengers, regular pastors would be less needed; but when some were removed by various causes, provision for the permanent order would be needed. Hence, the three pastoral letters subsequent to this give instructions as to bishops and deacons. It agrees with this new want of the Church, when other apostles were dead or far away, and Paul long in prison, that bishops and deacons should be prominent for the first time in the opening salutation. The spirit thus intimated that the churches were to look up to their own pastors, now that the miraculous gifts were passing into God's ordinary providence, and the presence of the inspired apostles, the dispensers of those gifts, was to be withdrawn (Paley). 'Presbyter' implied the age and rank; 'bishop,' the duties of the office. Naturally, when the apostles who had the chief supervision were no more, one among the presbyters presided, with the name 'bishop,' in the restricted and modern sense; just as in the Jewish synagogue one of the elders presided as 'ruler of the synagogue.' The apostle addresses the Church (i:e., the congregation) more directly then its ministers (Colossians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:24; Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:11). The bishops managed the internal, the deacons the external, affairs of the Church. The plural shows there was more than one bishop or presbyter, and more than one deacon, in the church at Philippi.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace ... peace. The very form of salutation implies the union of Jew, Greek, and Roman. The Greek salutation was 'joy' х chairein (G5463)], akin to the Greek for "grace" х charis (G5485)]. The Roman was "health," intermediate between grace and peace. The Hebrew was "peace," including both temporal and spiritual prosperity. Grace must come first, if we are to have true peace.
From ... from. The Greek has no second "from;" therefore "God our Father" and "the Lord Jesus Christ" are closely connected.
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
For you all making [my: teen (G3588 )] request. The "all" marks that Paul desires to declare his love for all alike, and will not recognize any divisions. "Always," "every," "all," imply exuberance of love.
With joy - the characteristic feature in this letter, as love in that to the Ephesians (cf. Philippians 1:18; Philippians 2:2; Philippians 2:19; Philippians 2:28; Philippians 3:1; Philippians 4:1; Philippians 4:4). Love and joy are the Spirit's two first-fruits. Joy gives animation to prayers. There was almost everything in them to give him joy, and almost nothing to give him pain.
For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
For your fellowship (i:e., real spiritual participation) in (literally, 'in regard to,' or 'into:' Greek, Matthew 28:19)
The gospel from the first day (of your becoming partakers in it) until now (Acts 2:42; Acts 16:13). Believers have the Gospel fellowship of the Son (1 Corinthians 1:9) and of the Father (1 John 1:3), by becoming partakers of "the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 13:14), and exercise it by acts of communion, not only the Lord's supper, but holy liberality to brethren and ministers (Philippians 4:10; Philippians 4:15, "communicated with me, as concerning giving;" 2 Corinthians 9:13; Galatians 6:6; Hebrews 13:16).
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Confident. Confidence nerves prayers and thanksgivings (Philippians 1:3-4).
He which hath begun - God (Philippians 2:13).
A good work. What God begins, he will finish (1 Samuel 3:12; 1 Corinthians 1:8). Not even men begin a work at random: much more His beginning the work is a pledge of its completion (Isaiah 26:12). So as to the particular work here, the perfecting of their fellowship in the Gospel (Philippians 1:5; Psalms 37:24; Psalms 89:33; Psalms 138:8; John 10:28-29; Romans 2:7; Romans 8:29; 35-39; 11:1-2; Hebrews 6:17-19; James 1:17; Jude 1:24). As God cast not off Israel forever, though chastening them for a time, so He will not cast off the spiritual Israel (Deuteronomy 33:3; Isaiah 27:3; 1 Peter 1:5).
The day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:10). The Lord's coming, designed by God in every age to be regarded as near, is to be the goal before believers' minds, rather than their own death.
Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
Meet, х dikaion (G1342)] - according to the law of love: 'just.'
Of you - literally, 'in behalf of you;' namely, that God will perfect His own good work of grace in you.
Because ... 'Because I have you in my heart (so Philippians 1:8; not as margin), inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in my defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are fellow-partakers of my grace.' The reason why he cherishes them in his heart (2 Corinthians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 7:3) is, because they show by their liberality and sufferings for the Gospel that both in his bonds and in his defense and confirmation of the Gospel (such as he was constantly making, Acts 28:17-23; Acts 28:30; 2 Timothy 4:16; Philippians 1:16-17 below: his self-defense and confirmation of the Gospel being intimately conjoined, there being but one Greek article to both, Philippians 1:17), they all are 'fellow-partakers of His grace (Philippians 1:5; Philippians 1:28-30; Philippians 4:15; 'the х tees (G3588)] grace' vouchsafed in suffering and efforts for the Gospel). Bonds do not bind love.
For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
Confirmation of Philippians 1:7.
Record - i:e., witness.
In the bowels of Jesus Christ - `Christ Jesus' is the order in 'Aleph (') A B Delta G. My yearning love х epipothoo (G1971)] to you is not only natural affection, but longing for your growth spiritually in Christ. 'Not Paul, but Christ lives in Paul (Galatians 2:20); Paul is not moved in the bowels (i:e., the tender love, Jeremiah 31:20) of Paul, but of Jesus Christ' (Bengel). All real spiritual love is but a portion of Christ's love, which yearns in all united to him (Alford).
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; The subject of his prayer (Philippians 1:4).
Knowledge, х epignoosei (G1922)] - 'full knowledge' of doctrinal and practical truth.
Judgment, х aistheesei (G144)] - spiritual perceptiveness or discernment: spiritual sight, hearing, feeling, taste. Christianity is a vigorous plant, not the hot-bed growth of enthusiasm. "In knowledge," etc., marks the sphere in which he prays that their "love" may increase. "Knowledge" and 'perception' guard love from being ill-judged.
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
х Eis (G1519) to (G3588) dokimazein (G1381) humas (G5209)] 'With a view to your proving (and so embracing) the things that excel' (Romans 2:18); by 'perception' (Philippians 1:9), testing not merely things not bad, but the best among good things: the things of advanced excellence. Ask as to things, not merely, Is there no harm? but Is there any good? and Which is the best?
Without offence - running the Christian race without stumbling through temptation in your way (Acts 24:16).
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g read the singular, 'fruit.' so Galatians 5:22 (see note): regarding the works of righteousness, however manifold, as one harmonious whole - "the fruit of the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:9; James 3:18; Hebrews 12:11). The 'fruit' is the product of "righteousness," which is the new moral habit, given along with justification, whereby a man bears fruit (Romans 6:13; Romans 6:22; Romans 7:4-5).
Which are - which is by х dia (G1223): through] Jesus Christ. Through His sending to us His Spirit from the Father. 'We are wild and useless olive trees until grafted into Christ, who, by His living root, makes us fruit-bearing branches' (Calvin).
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
Understand, х ginoosken (G1097)] - 'know.' The Philippians probably feared that his imprisonment would hinder the spreading of the Gospel: he removes this fear.
So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
My bonds in Christ, х desmous (G1199) mou (G3450) fanerous (G5318) en (G1722) Christoo (G5547)] - 'so that my bonds became manifest in Christ;' i:e., manifest, as endured in fellowship with Christ, in Christ's cause.
Palace - literally, 'praetorium;' i:e., the barrack of the praetorian guards attached to Nero's palace, on the Palatine hill at Rome. So "Caesar's household" is mentioned, Philippians 4:22. The emperor was ' praetor,' or commander-in-chief: so the barrack of his bodyguard was the 'praetorium.' The 'ALL the praetorium' implies that the whole camp, whether inside or outside the city, is included. The 'camp of the praetorians' was built by Sejanus, near the Viminal gate. Paul seems now not to have been at large in his own hired house, chained to a soldier (to whom he had been consigned by one of the two prefects of the praetorium, probably Burrus, Acts 28:16, Acts 28:20, Acts 28:30-31), but in strict custody in the praetorium: a change which probably took place on Tigellinus becoming praetorian prefect ('Introduction').
i.e., 'manifest to all the other' praetorian soldiers stationed elsewhere, through the instrumentality of the praetorian household guards attached to the emperor's palace, who relieved one another in succession. Paul had been now upwards of two years a prisoner, so that there was time for his cause and the Gospel having become widely known at Rome.
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
х Kai (G2532) tous (G3588) pleionas (G4119) toon (G3588) adelphoon (G80)] 'And that (Philippians 4:13) the majority of brethren in the Lord,' etc. "In the Lord," distinguishes them from 'brethren after the flesh,' Jewish fellow-countrymen. Ellicott, 'Having in the Lord confidence in my bonds.' Rather,
By my bonds - encouraged by my patience in bearing my bonds: 'owing to my bonds' giving a practical testimony to the truth of the Gospel. Philippians 2:24; Galatians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:4, justify connecting, 'having confidence in the Lord.' "Brethren in the Lord" (Syriac version) would be rather ton (G3588) en (G1722) kurioo (G2962) adelphon (G80) than ton (G3588) adelfon (G80) en (G1722) kurioo (G2962) pepoithotas (G3982); also, Paul never joins en (G1722) kurios (G2962) adelfos (G80). Their confidence flows from union with the Lord.
Much more bold. Translate as Greek, 'are more abundantly bold' than when I was free. 'In our brethren's person we have the pledge of our own victory' (Calvin).
Speak the word without fear (Acts 4:31).
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
'Some indeed are preaching Christ even for х dia (G1223): on account of: to gratify] envy; i:e., to carry out the envy they felt toward Paul at the success of the Gospel in the capital of the world, owing to his stedfastness in imprisonment: they wished to transfer the credit to themselves. Probably Judaizing teachers (Romans 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 1 Corinthians 9:1, etc.; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4).
Some also of (for) good will - answering to "the brethren" (Philippians 1:14); some being well disposed to him.
The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
'Aleph (') A B Delta G, Vulgate, transpose and read, "These (last) indeed out of love (to Christ and me), knowing (opposed to 'thinking,' below) that I am set (i:e., appointed by God, 1 Thessalonians 3:3) for the defense of the Gospel (Philippians 1:7). But the others out of contentiousness х eritheias (G2052): 'a factious spirit;' 'cabal;' using unscrupulous means to compass their end] (note, Galatians 5:20) proclaim [the Greek is not keerussousin (G2784), as above,' 'preach' but 'announce,' 'make known,' katangellousin (G2605)] Christ, not sincerely [answering to 'out of a factious spirit:' ouk (G3756) hagnos (G53)], 'not purely;' not with a pure intention: the Jewish leaven they introduced was in order to glorify themselves (Galatians 6:12-13: see, however, note, Philippians 1:18), thinking (but in vain) to raise up [so 'Aleph (') A B Delta f g, Vulgate, egeirein (G1453) for epiphrein] "affliction to my bonds." Their thought was, that, taking the opportunity of my being laid aside, they would exalt themselves by preaching Judaism, and depreciate me, and so add trouble to my bonds: they thought that I, like themselves, seek my own glory, and so will be mortified at their success over mine. But "I ... rejoice" (Philippians 1:18), so far from being troubled at it. [This meaning of thlipsis is justified by 2 Corinthians 2:4, though it mostly expresses outward calamity; whence Ellicott explains 'ill treatment from the Jews and Judaizing Christians.' The former is better sense.] Ellicott, to avoid the tautology "of love," "of good will," "of contention," "of envy," translates, 'they that are of love (so preach) because they know,' etc.; 'but they that are of contentiousness, proclaim Christ,' etc.
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
What then? Things being so, Does this trouble me, as they though it would? "Notwithstanding" their unkind thought, the cause I have at heart is furthered in "every way" of preaching, 'whether in pretence (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.' Ellicott, 'I shall rejoice' when 'this shall turn out to me for salvation' (Philippians 1:19). These self-seeking teachers 'proclaimed Christ,' not 'another Gospel,' as the judaizers in Galatia (Galatians 1:6-8); though probably having some Jewish leaven (note, Philippians 1:15-17), their chief error was their envious motive, not so much false doctrine: had there been vital error, Paul would not have rejoiced. The proclamation of CHRIST 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).
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
Turn to my salvation, х moi (G3427) apobeesetai (G576) eis (H1519) sooteerian (G4991)] - 'turn out to me for salvation.' This proclamation of Christ every way will turn out to my spiritual good. Christ, whose interests are mine, being glorified thereby; so the coming of His kingdom being furthered, which will bring completed "SALVATION" (Hebrews 9:28) to me, and to 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 applies to himself (Septuagint; Job 13:12; Job 13:16), 'this shall turn out to my salvation:' a text belonging to all God's people in their tribulation.
Through your prayer, and the supply. The Greek х dia (G1223) tees (G3588) humoon (G5216) deeeseoos (G1162) kai (G2532) epichoreegias (G2024)] intimately joins the two nouns by one preposition and one article: 'Through your prayer and (the consequent) supply of (i:e., from) the spirit of Jesus Christ' (obtained for me through your prayer). Ampleness is implied in the "supply" and the Giver.
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
According to my earnest expectation, х apokaradokian (G603)] - 'expectation patient and persistent, with uplifted head (Luke 21:28) and outstretched neck' (Romans 8:19, the only other place in the New Testament that the word occurs). Tittmann, '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). Rather, 'in nothing be disappointed in my hope, but fully obtain it' (1 John 2:28: so Romans 9:33). Contrast Paul's phrase, "glory," ' boast" [kauchasthai].
All boldness. "All" is opposed to "in nothing" as "boldness" is the opposite to "ashamed" (Ephesians 6:19).
So now also - when "my body" is 'in bonds' (Philippians 1:17).
Life, or by death. Whatever be the issue, Christ, and therefore I, must be the gainer. Paul was not omniscient: in the events of things the apostles bad the same probation of faith and patience as we.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. For. In either event (Philippians 1:20) I must gain, "For to me," etc.
To live is Christ. 'Life is but another name for Christ' (Peile) (Galatians 2:20). There faith is the prominent idea; here, works. Living, in my realization of it, consists only in union with, and devotion to, Christ. My whole being and activities are His (Ellicott).
To die is gain - not the act of dying, but, as to apothanein, 'to have died,' expresses, the state after death. Besides Christ's glorification by my death, which is my primary object (Philippians 1:20), the change of state caused by death, so far from being a shame (Philippians 1:20) or loss, as my enemies suppose, will be a positive "gain" to me.
But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
'But if (since) to live in the flesh (as opposed to "die," departing out of the flesh) (if) this (continuance in life) be the fruit of my labour (i:e., be the necessary condition of fruit from ministerial labour), then х kai (G2532)] what I shall choose I know [gnoorizo: discern] not' (if the choice were given me, both alternatives, being great goods alike). So Alford and Ellicott. The Greek will bear the English version by an ellipsis, 'If to live in the flesh (be my portion), this (continuing to live) is the fruit of my labour' - i:e., will be the occasion of my bringing in 'fruit of (from apostolic) labour.' Grotius takes 'the fruit of labour' as an idiom. If I live in the flesh, this is worth my while, for thus Christ's interests will be advanced, "For to me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21: cf. Philippians 2:30; Romans 1:13). The second alternative-namely, dying-is handled, Philippians 2:17, "if I be offered."
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
For. 'Aleph (') A B C Delta f g, Vulgate, read 'But.' 'I know not (Philippians 1:22); BUT am held in a strait between the two (namely," to live" and "to die"), having the desire for departing х analusai (G360), to loose anchor] (2 Timothy 4:6), and being with Christ; FOR (so A B) it is by far better;' or х polloo (G4183) mallon (G3123) kreisson (G2908)] more forcibly, 'by far the more preferable:' a double comparative. Therefore the soul is not dormant during its separation from the body. While he regarded the Lord's advent as at all times near, yet his death before it was a very possible contingency. Eternal life is initial here. The partial life eternal is in the interval between death and Christ's second advent: the perfectional, at that advent (Dr. Pearson). To depart is better than to remain in the flesh; to be with Christ is far, far better: for me personally (a proof that the intermediate state is not one of unconsciousness) (2 Corinthians 5:8): a New Testament hope (Hebrews 12:24) (Bengel).
And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
'And being confident of this'-namely, that my abiding in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
I know ... - by intimations of the Spirit. Ellicott quotes Acts 20:25 for interpreting "I know," as merely it is my present feeling; not any prophetic certitude. But cf. Phil. 1:38 there. He did not 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; Philemon 1:22).
Joy of faith, х charan (G5479) tees (G3588) pisteoos (G4102)] - joy springing from the faith. 'Joy' is that active emanation of love and thankfulness that forms a spiritual equipoise to 'peace' and 'patience' (Ellicott).
That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
'That your matter of glorying х kaucheema (G2745), not kaucheesis (G2746)] may abound in Christ Jesus (the only legitimate sphere in which glorying has place) in me; i:e., in my case (Galatians 1:24): in respect to me, your builder up in the faith, granted to your prayers (Philippians 1:19) through my presence again among you.' Alford makes the 'matter of glorying' the possession of the Gospel, or their being established in the faith (Chrysostom), through Paul, which would be increased by his presence among them. But 'my rejoicing over you' (Philippians 2:16) answers to 'your rejoicing in respect to me' here.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Only - Whatever happens as to my coming to you or not, make this your 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 (cf. Philippians 3:20) х politeuesthe (G4176)] - 'Let your walk as citizens (namely, of the heavenly state: 'the city of the living God' Hebrews 12:22; Ephesians 2:19), be,' (Acts 23:1, etc.)
I ... see ... hear - so Philippians 1:30. "Hear," in order to take in both alternatives, must include know.
Your affairs - your state.
In one spirit - the fruit of partaking of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:3-4).
With one mind, х psuchee (G5590)] - 'soul,' the sphere of the affections: subordinate to the "spirit," man's higher and heavenly nature, whereon the Holy Spirit acts. 'There is sometimes natural antipathies among believers; these are overcome when there is not only unity of spirit, but also of soul' (Bengel).
Striving together - with united effort.
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Terrified, х pturomenoi (G4426)] - said of horses suddenly scared: so of sudden consternation in general.
By your adversaries: which (1 Corinthians 16:9) - 'the which': your not being terrified, seeing it is.
Evident token of perdition - if they would only perceive it (2 Thessalonians 1:5). It attests this-that in contending against you, they are only rushing on their own perdition, not shaking your united faith.
To you of salvation. 'Aleph (') A B read, 'of your (final: in contrast to their "perdition") salvation.'
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
For - the double favour bestowed on you is a proof that this is an evident token from God of your salvation; 'Because,' etc.
Believe on him. 'To believe Him' would merely mean to believe He speaks the truth. 'To believe on Him' х eis (G1519) auton (G846) pisteuein (G4100)] 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.
Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
Ye saw in me (Acts 16:12; Acts 16:19, etc.; 1 Thessalonians 2:2). I am 'in nothing terrified by mine adversaries' (Philippians 1:29), so ought not ye. 'Ye saw ... and ... hear' answer to 'I come and see you, or else ... hear' (Philippians 1:27).