Exhortations: Thanks for the Supply from
Philippi: Greeting; and Closing
1. "Wherefore"; since we have such a glorious
hope (Php 3:20, 21).
dearly beloved—repeated again at the
close of the verse, implying that his great love to them should be a
motive to their obedience.
longed for—"yearned after" in your
crown—in the day of the Lord (Php
2:16; 1Th 2:19).
so—as I have admonished you.
stand fast—(Php 1:27).
2. Euodia and Syntyche were two women who seem
to have been at variance; probably deaconesses of the church. He
repeats, "I beseech," as if he would admonish each separately, and with
the utmost impartiality.
in the Lord—the true element of
Christian union; for those "in the Lord" by faith to be at variance, is
an utter inconsistency.
3. And—Greek, "Yea."
true yoke-fellow—yoked with me in the
same Gospel yoke (Mt 11:29, 30; compare 1Ti 5:17, 18). Either Timothy, Silas (Ac 15:40;
16:19, at Philippi),
or the chief bishop of Philippi. Or else the Greek,
"Sunzugus," or "Synzygus," is a proper name: "Who art
truly, as thy name means, a yoke-fellow." Certainly not
Paul's wife, as 1Co 9:5
implies he had none.
help those women—rather, as
Greek, "help them," namely, Euodia and Syntyche.
"Co-operate with them" [Birks]; or as
Alford, "Help in the work of their
which laboured with
me—"inasmuch as they labored with me." At Philippi,
women were the first hearers of the Gospel, and Lydia the first
convert. It is a coincidence which marks genuineness, that in this
Epistle alone, special instructions are given to women who labored with
Paul in the Gospel. In selecting the first teachers, those first
converted would naturally be fixed on. Euodia and Syntyche were
doubtless two of "the women who resorted to the riverside, where prayer
was wont to be made" (Ac 16:13),
and being early converted, would naturally take an active part in
teaching other women called at a later period; of course not in public
preaching, but in a less prominent sphere (1Ti 2:11, 12).
Clement—bishop of Rome shortly after
the death of Peter and Paul. His Epistle from the Church of Rome to the
Church of Corinth is extant. It makes no mention of the supremacy of
the See of Peter. He was the most eminent of the apostolical fathers.
Alford thinks that the Clement here was
a Philippian, and not necessarily Clement, bishop of Rome. But
Origen [Commentary, John 1:29]
identifies the Clement here with the bishop of Rome.
in the book of life—the register-book
of those whose "citizenship is in heaven" (Lu 10:20; Php
3:20). Anciently, free cities
had a roll book containing the names of all those having the right of
citizenship (compare Ex 32:32; Ps
69:28; Eze 13:9; Da 12:1; Re 20:12; 21:27).
4. (Isa 61:10.)
alway—even amidst the afflictions now
distressing you (Php 1:28-30).
again—as he had already said,
"Rejoice" (Php 3:1). Joy
is the predominant feature of the Epistle.
I say—Greek, rather, "I
5. moderation—from a Greek root,
"to yield," whence yieldingness [Trench]; or from a root, "it is fitting," whence
"reasonableness of dealing" [Alford], that considerateness for others, not
urging one's own rights to the uttermost, but waiving a part, and
thereby rectifying the injustices of justice. The archetype of this
grace is God, who presses not the strictness of His law against us as
we deserve (Ps 130:3, 4); though having exacted the fullest
payment for us from our Divine Surety. There are included in
"moderation," candor and kindliness. Joy in the Lord
raises us above rigorism towards others (Php 4:5), and carefulness (Php 4:6) as to one's own affairs. Sadness
produces morose harshness towards others, and a troublesome
spirit in ourselves.
Let … be known—that is, in your
conduct to others, let nothing inconsistent with "moderation" be seen.
Not a precept to make a display of moderation. Let this grace
"be known" to men in acts; let "your requests be made to God" in
unto all men—even to the "perverse"
2:15), that so ye may win
them. Exercise "forbearance" even to your persecutors. None is so
ungracious as not to be kindly to someone, from some motive or another,
on some occasion; the believer is to be so "unto all men" at all
The Lord is at hand—The Lord's coming
again speedily is the grand motive to every Christian grace (Jas 5:8, 9). Harshness to others (the
opposite of "moderation") would be taking into our own hands
prematurely the prerogatives of judging, which belongs to the Lord
4:5); and so provoking God to
judge us by the strict letter of the law (Jas 2:12, 13).
6. Translate, "Be anxious about nothing." Care
and prayer are as mutually opposed as fire and water [Bengel].
by prayer and
supplication—Greek, "by the prayer and
the supplication" appropriate to each case [Alford]. Prayer for blessings; and the
general term. Supplication, to avert ills; a special term,
suppliant entreaty (see on Eph 6:18).
thanksgiving—for every event,
prosperity and affliction alike (1Th 5:18; Jas 5:13). The Philippians might remember Paul's
example at Philippi when in the innermost prison (Ac 16:25). Thanksgiving gives effect to prayer
20:21), and frees from
anxious carefulness by making all God's dealings matter for
praise, not merely for resignation, much less
murmuring. "Peace" is the companion of "thanksgiving" (Php 4:7;
let your requests be made known unto
God—with generous, filial, unreserved confidence; not keeping
aught back, as too great, or else too small, to bring before God,
though you might feel so as to your fellow men. So Jacob, when fearing
32:9-12); Hezekiah fearing
Sennacherib (2Ki 19:14; Ps 37:5).
7. And—The inseparable consequence of
thus laying everything before God in "prayer with thanksgiving."
peace—the dispeller of "anxious care"
of God—coming from God, and resting in
God (Joh 14:27; 16:33; Col 3:15).
exceedeth, all man's notional powers of understanding its full
blessedness (1Co 2:9, 10; Eph 3:20; compare Pr 3:17).
shall keep—rather, "shall
guard"; shall keep as a well-garrisoned stronghold (Isa 26:1, 3). The same Greek verb is
used in 1Pe
1:5. There shall be peace
secure within, whatever outward troubles may besiege.
hearts and minds—rather, "hearts (the
seat of the thoughts) and thoughts" or purposes.
through—rather as Greek,
"in Christ Jesus." It is in Christ that we are "kept" or
8. Summary of all his exhortations as to
relative duties, whether as children or parents, husbands or wives,
friends, neighbors, men in the intercourse of the world, &c.
true—sincere, in words.
honest—Old English for
"seemly," namely, in action; literally, grave,
pure—"chaste," in relation to
lovely—lovable (compare Mr 10:21; Lu
of good report—referring to the
absent (Php 1:27); as
"lovely" refers to what is lovable face to face.
if there be any virtue—"whatever
virtue there is" [Alford]. "Virtue," the
standing word in heathen ethics, is found once only in Paul's Epistles,
and once in Peter's (2Pe 1:5); and
this in uses different from those in heathen authors. It is a term
rather earthly and human, as compared with the names of the spiritual
graces which Christianity imparts; hence the rarity of its occurrence
in the New Testament. Piety and true morality are inseparable. Piety is
love with its face towards God; morality is love with its face towards
man. Despise not anything that is good in itself; only let it keep its
praiseworthy; not that Christians should make man's praise their
aim (compare Joh 12:43);
but they should live so as to deserve men's praise.
think on—have a continual regard to,
so as to "do" these things (Php 4:9)
whenever the occasion arises.
9. both—rather, "The things also
which ye have learned … these practice"; the things which
besides recommending them in words, have been also recommended
by my example, carry into practice.
heard—though ye have not yet
sufficiently "received" them.
seen—though ye have not as yet
sufficiently "learned" them [Bengel].
and—"and then," as the necessary
4:7). Not only "the peace of
God," but "the God of peace" Himself "shall be with you."
10. But—transitional conjunction. But
"now" to pass to another subject.
in the Lord—He views everything with
reference to Christ.
at the last—"at last"; implying he was
expecting their gift, not from a selfish view, but as a "fruit" of
their faith, and to "abound" to their account (Php 4:11, 17). Though long in coming, owing to
Epaphroditus' sickness and other delays, he does not imply their gift
was too late.
your care … hath flourished
again—Greek, "Ye have flourished again
(revived, as trees sprouting forth again in spring) in
your care for me."
wherein ye were also careful—in
respect to which (revival, namely, the sending of a supply to
me) "ye were also (all along) careful, but ye lacked opportunity";
whether from want of means or want of a messenger. Your "lack of
service" (Php 2:30),
was owing to your having "lacked opportunity."
11. I have learned—The I in
Greek is emphatical. I leave it to others if they will, to be
discontented. I, for my part, have learned, by the teaching of
the Holy Spirit, and the dealings of Providence (Heb 5:8), to be content in every state.
content—The Greek, literally
expresses "independent of others, and having sufficiency in one's
self." But Christianity has raised the term above the haughty
self-sufficiency of the heathen Stoic to the contentment
of the Christian, whose sufficiency is not in self, but
in God (2Co 3:5; 1Ti 6:6, 8; Heb 13:5; compare Jer 2:36; 45:5).
12. abased—in low circumstances (2Co 4:8;
everywhere—rather, "in each, and in
all things" [Alford].
instructed—in the secret. Literally,
"initiated" in a secret teaching, which is a mystery unknown to
13. I can do all things—Greek,
"I have strength for all things"; not merely "how to be abased
and how to abound." After special instances he declares his
universal power—how triumphantly, yet how humbly! [Meyer].
through Christ which strengtheneth
me—The oldest manuscripts omit "Christ"; then translate, "In
Him who giveth me power," that is, by virtue of my living
union and identification with Him, who is my strength (Ga 2:20). Compare 1Ti 1:12, whence probably, "Christ" was inserted
here by transcribers.
14. He here guards against their thinking from
what he has just said, that he makes light of their bounty.
ye did communicate with my
affliction—that is, ye made yourselves sharers with me
in my present affliction, namely, by sympathy; of which sympathy your
contribution is the proof.
15. Now—"Moreover." Arrange as
Greek, "Ye also know (as well as I do myself)."
in the beginning of the gospel—dating
from the Philippian Christian era; at the first preaching of the
Gospel at Philippi.
when I departed from Macedonia—(Ac 17:14). The Philippians had followed
Paul with their bounty when he left Macedonia and came to Corinth.
9 thus accords with the
passage here, the dates assigned to the donation in both Epistles
agreeing; namely, "in the beginning of the Gospel" here, and
there, at the time of his first visit to Corinth [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ]. However, the
supply meant here is not that which he received at Corinth, but the
supply sent to him when "in Thessalonica, once and again" (Php 4:16), [Alford].
as concerning giving and receiving—In
the account between us, "the giving" was all on your part; "the
receiving" all on mine.
ye only—We are not to wait for others
in a good work, saying, "I will do so, when others do it." We must go
forward, though alone.
16. even in Thessalonica—"even" as early
as when I had got no further than Thessalonica, ye sent me supplies for
my necessities more than once.
17. a gift—Greek, "the
gift." Translate, "It is not that I seek after the gift, but
I do seek after the fruit that aboundeth to your
account"; what I do seek is your spiritual good, in the abounding of
fruits of your faith which shall be put down to your account, against
the day of reward (Heb 6:10).
18. But—Though "the gift" is not what I
chiefly "seek after" (Php 4:17),
yet I am grateful for the gift, and hereby acknowledge it as
ample for all my needs. Translate, "I have all" that I want, "and more
than enough." Literally, as English Version, "I abound" over and
above my needs.
I am full—Greek, "I am filled
the odour of a sweet smell—(See on Eph 5:2). The figure is drawn from the
sweet-smelling incense which was burnt along with the sacrifices; their
gift being in faith was not so much to Paul, as to God (Mt 25:40), before whom it "came up for a
memorial" (Ac 10:4),
sweet-smelling in God's presence (Ge 8:21; Re 8:3, 4).
sacrifice acceptable—(Heb 13:16).
19. my—Paul calls God here "my God," to
imply that God would reward their bounty to His servant, by "fully supplying" (translate so,
literally, fill to the full) their every "need" (2Co 9:8), even as they had "fully" supplied his
"need" (Php 4:16, 18). My Master will fully repay you; I
cannot. The Philippians invested their bounty well since it got them
such a glorious return.
according to his riches—The measure of
His supply to you will be the immeasurable "riches of His grace" (Eph 1:7).
in glory—These words belong to the
whole sentence. "Glory" is the element in which His rich grace
operates; and it will be the element IN which He will "supply fully all
by Christ Jesus—by virtue of your
being "IN" (so Greek, not "by") Christ Jesus, the Giver and
Mediator of all spiritual blessings.
20. God and our Father—Translate, "Unto
our God and Father."
be glory—rather as the Greek,
"be the glory." Not to us, but to Him be "the glory"
alike of your gift, and of His gracious recompense to you.
21. Salute every
The brethren which are with me—Perhaps
Jewish believers are meant (Ac 28:21). I
2:20 precludes our thinking
of "closer friends," "colleagues in the ministry" [Alford]; he had only one close friend with him,
22. they that are of Cæsar's
household—the slaves and dependents of Nero who had been
probably converted through Paul's teaching while he was a prisoner in
the Prætorian barrack attached to the palace. Philippi was a Roman
"colony," hence there might arise a tie between the citizens of the
mother city and those of the colony; especially between those of both
cities who were Christians, converted as many of them were by the same
apostle, and under like circumstances, he having been imprisoned at
Philippi, as he now is at Rome.
23. (Ga 6:18).
be with you all. Amen—The oldest
manuscripts read, "Be with your spirit," and omit "Amen."