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EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 15

Verse 15. That ye may be blameless. That you may give no occasion for others to accuse you of having done wrong.

And harmless. Marg., sincere. The Greek word (akeraiov) means, properly, that which is unmixed; and then pure, sincere. The idea here is, that they should be artless, simple, without guile. Then they would injure no one. The word occurs only in Mt 10:16; Php 2:15, where it is rendered harmless, and Ro 16:19, where it is rendered simple. See Barnes "Mt 10:16, See Barnes "Ro 16:19".

 

The sons of God. The children of God—a phrase by which true Christians were denoted. See Barnes "Mt 5:46"; See Barnes "Eph 5:1".

 

Without rebuke. Without blame; without giving occasion for any one to complain of you.

In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Among those of perverted sentiments and habits; those who are disposed to complain and find fault; those who will take every occasion to pervert what you do and say, and who seek every opportunity to retard the cause of truth and righteousness. It is not certainly known to whom the apostle refers here, but it seems not improbable that he had particular reference to the Jews who were in Philippi. The language here used was employed by Moses De 32:6 as applicable to the Jewish people, and it is accurately descriptive of the character of the nation in the time of Paul. The Jews were among the most bitter foes of the gospel, and did perhaps more than any other people to embarrass the cause of truth, and prevent the spread of the true religion.

Among whom ye shine. Marg., "Or, shine ye." The Greek will admit of either construction, and expositors have differed as to the correct interpretation. Rosenmuller, Doddridge, and others, regard it as imperative, and as designed to enforce on them the duty of letting their light shine. Erasmus says it is doubtful whether it is to be understood in the indicative or imperative. Grotius, Koppe, Bloomfield, and others, regard it as in the indicative, and as teaching that they did, in fact, shine as lights in the world. The sense can be determined only by the connexion; and, in regard to it, different readers will form different opinions. It seems to me that the connexion seems rather to require the sense of duty or obligation to be understood. The apostle is enforcing on them the duty of being blameless and harmless; of holding forth the word of life; and it is in accordance with his design to remind them that they ought to be lights to those around them.

As lights in the world. The comparison of Christians with light often occurs in the Scriptures. See Barnes "Mt 5:14, See Barnes "Mt 5:16".

The image here is not improbably taken from lighthouses on a sea-coast. The image then is, that as those lighthouses are placed on a dangerous coast to apprize vessels of their peril, and to save them from shipwreck, so the light of Christian piety shines on a dark world, and in the dangers of the voyage which we are making. See the Note of Burder, in Rosenmuller, Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc.

{1} "harmless" "sincere" {c} "sons of God" Mt 5:45; Eph 5:1 {*} "rebuke" "reproach" {d} "crooked and perverse" De 32:5 {2} "ye shine" "shine ye" {e} "lights in the world" Mt 5:14,16

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