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EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 28

Verse 28. And in nothing terrified by your adversaries. Adversaries, or opponents, they had, like most of the other early Christians. There were Jews there who would be likely to oppose them, Ac 17:5 and they were exposed to persecution by the heathen. In that city, Paul had himself suffered much Ac 16; and it would not be strange if the same scenes should be repeated. It is evident from this passage, as well as from some other parts of the epistle, that the Philippians were at this time experiencing some form of severe suffering. But in what way, or why, the opposition to them was excited, is nowhere stated. The meaning here is, "Do not be alarmed at anything which they can do. Maintain your Christian integrity, notwithstanding all the opposition which they can make. They will, in the end, certainly be destroyed, and you will be saved."

Which is to them an evident token of perdition, What, it may be asked, would be the token of their perdition? What is the evidence to which Paul refers that they will be destroyed? The relative "which" htiv— is probably used as referring to the persecution which had been commenced, and to the constancy which the apostle supposed the Philippians would evince. The sentence is elliptical; but it is manifest that the apostle refers either to the circumstance then occurring, that they were persecuted, and that they evinced constancy, or to the constancy which he wished them to evince in their persecutions. He says that this circumstance of persecution, if they evinced such a spirit as he wished, would be to them an evidence of two things:

(1.) Of the destruction of those who were engaged in the persecution. This would be, because they knew that such persecutors could not ultimately prevail. Persecution of the church would be a certain indication that they who did it would be finally destroyed.

(2.) It would be a proof of their own salvation, because it would show that they were the friends of the Redeemer; and they had the assurance that all those who were persecuted for his sake would be saved. The gender of the Greek relative here is determined by the following noun endeixiv in a manner that is not uncommon in Greek. See Wetstein, in loc., and Koppe.

And that of God. That is, their persecution is a proof that God will interpose in due time, and save you. The hostility of the wicked to us is one evidence that we are the friends of God, and shall be saved.

{b} "your adversaries" Isa 51:7,12; Mt 10:28

{c} "which is to them" 2 Th 1:5 {d} "but to you" Ro 8:17

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