World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
1. Thanksgiving and Prayer
1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, 4always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, 5for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; 6being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf 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 with me of grace. 8For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. 9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 10so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; 11being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 12Now I would have you know, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel; 13so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest; 14and that most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. 15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16the one do it of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; 17but the other proclaim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds. 18What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 19For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to shame, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22But if to live in the flesh, --if this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. 23But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: 24yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. 25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith; 26that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again. 27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you and be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; 28and in nothing affrighted by the adversaries: which is for them an evident token of perdition, but of your salvation, and that from God; 29because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf: 30having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
The Apostle's Exhortations. (a. d. 62.)
27 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; 28 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. 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
The apostle concludes the chapter with two exhortations:—
I. He exhorts them to strictness of conversation (v. 27): Only let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ. Observe, Those who profess the gospel of Christ should have their conversation as becomes the gospel, or in a suitableness and agreeableness to it. Let it be as becomes those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend upon gospel promises; and with an answerable faith, holiness, and comfort. Let it be in all respects as those who belong to the kingdom of God among men, and are members and subjects of it. It is an ornament to our profession when our conversation is of a piece with it.—That whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs. He had spoken in v. 26 of his coming to them again, and had spoken it with some assurance, though he was now a prisoner; but he would not have them build upon that. Our religion must not be bound up in the hands of our ministers: "Whether I come or no, let me hear well of you, and do you stand fast." Whether ministers come or no, Christ is always at hand. He is nigh to us, never far from us; and hastens his second coming. The coming of the Lord draws nigh, James v. 8. Let me hear of you that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. Three things he desired to hear of them; and they are all such as become the gospel:—1. It becomes those who profess the gospel to strive for it, to use a holy violence in taking the kingdom of heaven. The faith of the gospel is the doctrine of faith, or the religion of the gospel. There is that in the faith of the gospel which is worth striving for. If religion is worth any thing, it is worth every thing. There is much opposition, and there is need of striving. A man may sleep and go to hell; but he who will go to heaven must look about him and be diligent. 2. The unity and unanimity of Christians become the gospel: Strive together, not strive one with another; all of you must strive against the common adversary. One spirit and one mind become the gospel; for there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. There may be a oneness of heart and affection among Christians, where there is diversity of judgment and apprehensions about many things. 3. Stedfastness becomes the gospel: Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind. Be stedfast and immovable by any opposition. It is a shame to religion when the professors of it are off and on, unfixed in their minds, and unstable as water; for they will never excel. Those who would strive for the faith of the gospel must stand firm to it.
II. He exhorts them to courage and constancy in suffering: And in nothing terrified by your adversaries, v. 28. The professors of the gospel have all along met with adversaries, especially at the first planting of Christianity. Our great care must be to keep close to our profession, and be constant to it: whatever oppositions we meet with, we must not be frightened at them, considering that the condition of the persecuted is much better and more desirable than the condition of the persecutors; for persecuting is an evident token of perdition. Those who oppose the gospel of Christ, and injure the professors of it, are marked out for ruin. But being persecuted is a token of salvation. Not that it is a certain mark; many hypocrites have suffered for their religion; but it is a good sign that we are in good earnest in religion, and designed for salvation, when we are enabled in a right manner to suffer for the cause of Christ.—For to you it is given on the behalf of Christ not only to believe, but also to suffer for his name, v. 29. Here are two precious gifts given, and both on the behalf of Christ:—1. To believe in him. Faith is God's gift on the behalf of Christ, who purchased for us not only the blessedness which is the object of faith, but the grace of faith itself: the ability or disposition to believe is from God. 2. To suffer for the sake of Christ is a valuable gift too: it is a great honour and a great advantage; for we may be very serviceable to the glory of God, which is the end of our creation, and encourage and confirm the faith of others. And there is a great reward attending it too: Blessed are you when men shall persecute you, for great is your reward in heaven, Matt. v. 11, 12. And, if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him, 2 Tim. ii. 12. If we suffer reproach and loss for Christ, we are to reckon it a great gift, and prize it accordingly, always provided we behave under our sufferings with the genuine temper of martyrs and confessors (v. 30): "Having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me; that is, suffering in the same manner as you saw and now hear of me that I suffer." It is not simply the suffering, but the cause, and not only the cause, but the spirit, which makes the martyr. A man may suffer in a bad cause, and then he suffers justly; or in a good cause, but with a wrong mind, and then his sufferings lose their value.