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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Philippians: Chapter 3)

3:1 {Finally} (\to loipon\). Accusative of general reference,
literally, "as for the rest." So again in 4:8. It (or just
is a common phrase towards the close of Paul's Epistles
(2Th 3:1; 2Co 13:11). In Eph 6:10 we have \tou loipou\
(genitive case). But Paul uses the idiom elsewhere also as in
1Co 7:29; 1Th 4:1 before the close of the letter is in sight.
It is wholly needless to understand Paul as about to finish and
then suddenly changing his mind like some preachers who announce
the end a half dozen times. {To write the same things} (\ta auta
. Present active articular infinitive, "the going on
writing the same things." What things? He has just used
\chairete\ (go on rejoicing) again and he will repeat it in
4:4. But in verse 2 he uses \blepete\ three times. At any
rate Paul, as a true teacher, is not afraid of repetition.
{Irksome} (\oknēron\). Old adjective from \okneō\, to delay, to
hesitate. It is not tiresome to me to repeat what is "safe"
(\asphales\) for you. Old adjective from \a\ privative and
\sphallō\, to totter, to reel. See Ac 21:34.

3:2 {Beware} (\blepete\). Three times for urgency and with
different epithet for the Judaizers each time. {The dogs} (\tous
. The Jews so termed the Gentiles which Jesus uses in a
playful mood (\kunariois\, little dogs) to the Syro-Phoenician
woman (Mt 15:26). Paul here turns the phrase on the Judaizers
themselves. {The evil workers} (\tous kakous ergatas\). He had
already called the Judaizers "deceitful workers" (\ergatai
in 2Co 11:13. {The concision} (\tēn katatomēn\). Late
word for incision, mutilation (in contrast with \peritomē\,
. In Symmachus and an inscription. The verb
\katatemnō\ is used in the LXX only of mutilations (Le 21:5; 1Ki

3:3 {For we} (\hēmeis gar\). We believers in Christ, the children
of Abraham by faith, whether Jew or Gentile, the spiritual
circumcision in contrast to the merely physical (Ro 2:25-29; Col
2:11; Eph 2:11)
. See Ga 5:12 for \apotemnein\ (to cut off) in
sense of mutilation also. {By the Spirit of God} (\pneumati
. Instrumental case, though the dative case as the object
of \latreuō\ makes good sense also (worshipping the Spirit of
or even the locative (worshipping in the Spirit of God).
{No} (\ouk\). Actual condition rather than \mē\ with the
participle. {In the flesh} (\en sarki\). Technical term in Paul's
controversy with the Judaizers (2Co 11:18; Gal 6:13f.).
External privileges beyond mere flesh.

3:4 {Might have} (\echōn\). Rather, "even though myself having."
{Confidence} (\pepoithēsin\). Late word, condemned by the
Atticists, from \pepoitha\ (just used). See 2Co 1:15; 3:4.

3:5 {Thinketh to have confidence} (\dokei pepoithenai\). Second
perfect active infinitive. Old idiom, "seems to himself to have
confidence." Later idiom like Mt 3:9 "think not to say" and
1Co 11:16, "thinks that he has ground of confidence in
himself." {I yet more} (\egō mallon\). "I have more ground for
boasting than he" and Paul proceeds to prove it in the rest of
verses 5,6. {Circumcised the eighth day} (\peritomēi
. "In circumcision (locative case) an eighth day
man." Use of the ordinal with persons like \tetartaios\ (Joh
. Ishmaelites were circumcised in the thirteenth year,
proselytes from Gentiles in mature age, Jews on the eighth day
(Lu 2:21). {Of the stock of Israel} (\ek genous Israēl\). Of
the original stock, not a proselyte. {Benjamin} (\Beniamin\). Son
of the right hand (that is, left-handed), son of Rachel. The
first King, Saul (Paul's own Hebrew name) was from this little
tribe. The battle cry of Israel was "After thee, O Benjamin"
(Jud 5:14). {A Hebrew of the Hebrews} (\Ebraios ex Ebraiōn\).
Of Hebrew parents who retained the characteristic qualities in
language and custom as distinct from the Hellenistic Jews (Ac
. Paul was from Tarsus and knew Greek as well as Aramaic
(Ac 21:40; 22:2) and Hebrew, but he had not become Hellenized.
{A Pharisee} (\Pharisaios\). In distinction from the Sadducees
(Ga 1:14) and he continued a Pharisee in many essential matters
like the doctrine of the resurrection (Ac 23:6). Cf. 2Co

3:6 {As touching zeal} (\kata zēlos\). So the old MSS. treating
\zēlos\ as neuter, not masculine. He was a zealot against
Christianity, "persecuting the church" (\diōkōn tēn ekklēsian\).
He was the ringleader in the persecution from the death of
Stephen till his own conversion (Ac 8:1-9:9). {Found blameless}
(\genomenos amemptos\). "Having become blameless" (Ga 1:14). He
knew and practised all the rules of the rabbis. A marvellous
record, scoring a hundred in Judaism.

3:7 {Were gain to me} (\en moi kerdē\). "Were gains (plural, see
on ¯1:21)
to me (ethical dative)." Paul had natural pride in his
Jewish attainments. He was the star of hope for Gamaliel and the
Sanhedrin. {Have I counted} (\hēgēmai\). Perfect middle
indicative, state of completion and still true. {Loss}
(\zēmian\). Old word for damage, loss. In N.T. only in Phil. and
Ac 27:10,21. Debit side of the ledger, not credit.

3:8 {Yea, verily, and} (\alla men oun ge kai\). Five particles
before Paul proceeds (yea, indeed, therefore, at least, even),
showing the force and passion of his conviction. He repeats his
affirmation with the present middle indicative (\hēgoumai\), "I
still count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge
(\to huperechon\, the surpassingness, neuter articular participle
of \huperechō\, Php 2:3)
of Christ Jesus my Lord." {Dung}
(\skubala\). Late word of uncertain etymology, either connected
with \skōr\ (dung) or from \es kunas ballō\, to fling to the dogs
and so refuse of any kind. It occurs in the papyri. Here only in
the N.T. {That I may gain Christ} (\hina Christon kerdēsō\).
First aorist active subjunctive of \kerdaō\, Ionic form for
\kerdainō\ with \hina\ in purpose clause. Paul was never
satisfied with his knowledge of Christ and always craved more
fellowship with him.

3:9 {Be found in him} (\heurethō en autōi\). First aorist
(effective) passive subjunctive with \hina\ of \heuriskō\. At
death (2Co 5:3) or when Christ comes. Cf. 2:8; Ga 2:17.
{Through faith in Christ} (\dia pisteōs Christou\). The objective
genitive \Christou\, not subjective, as in Ga 2:16,20; Ro 3:22.
Explained further by \epi tēi pistei\ (on the basis of faith) as
in Ac 3:16.

3:10 {That I may know him} (\tou gnōnai auton\). Genitive of the
articular second aorist (ingressive) active infinitive (purpose)
of \ginōskō\, to have personal acquaintance or experience with.
This is Paul's major passion, to get more knowledge of Christ by
experience. {The power of his resurrection} (\tēn dunamin tēs
anastaseōs autou\)
. Power (Lightfoot) in the sense of assurance
to believers in immortality (1Co 15:14f.; Ro 8:11), in the
triumph over sin (Ro 4:24f.), in the dignity of the body (1Co
6:13ff.; Php 3:21)
, in stimulating the moral and spiritual life
(Ga 2:20; Ro 6:4f.; Col 2:12; Eph 2:5). See Westcott's _The
Gospel of the Resurrection_, ii, 31. {The fellowship of his
(\tēn koinōnian tōn pathēmatōn autou\). Partnership
in (objective genitive) his sufferings, an honour prized by Paul
(Co 1:24). {Becoming conformed to his death} (\summorphizomenos
tōi thanatōi autou\)
. Present passive participle of
\summorphizō\, late verb from \summorphos\, found only here and
ecclesiastical writers quoting it. The Latin Vulgate uses
_configuro_. See Ro 6:4 for \sumphutoi\ in like sense and 2Co
4:10. "The agony of Gethsemane, not less than the agony of
Calvary, will be reproduced however faintly in the faithful
servant of Christ" (Lightfoot). "In this passage we have the
deepest secrets of the Apostle's Christian experience unveiled"

3:11 {If by any means I may attain} (\ei pōs katantēsō\). Not an
expression of doubt, but of humility (Vincent), a modest hope
(Lightfoot). For \ei pōs\, see Ro 1:10; 11:14 where
\parazēlōsō\ can be either future indicative or aorist
subjunctive like \katantēsō\ here (see subjunctive \katalabō\ in
verse 12)
, late compound verb \katantaō\. {Resurrection}
(\exanastasin\). Late word, not in LXX, but in Polybius and one
papyrus example. Apparently Paul is thinking here only of the
resurrection of believers out from the dead and so double \ex\
(\ten exanastasin tēn ek nekrōn\). Paul is not denying a general
resurrection by this language, but emphasizing that of believers.

3:12 {Not that} (\ouch hoti\). To guard against a
misunderstanding as in Joh 6:26; 12:6; 2Co 1:24; Php 4:11,17.
{I have already obtained} (\ēdē elabon\). Rather, "I did already
obtain," constative second aorist active indicative of \lambanō\,
summing up all his previous experiences as a single event. {Or am
already made perfect}
(\ē ēdē teteleiōmai\). Perfect passive
indicative (state of completion) of \teleioō\, old verb from
\teleios\ and that from \telos\ (end). Paul pointedly denies that
he has reached a spiritual impasse of non- development. Certainly
he knew nothing of so-called sudden absolute perfection by any
single experience. Paul has made great progress in
Christlikeness, but the goal is still before him, not behind him.
{But I press on} (\diōkō de\). He is not discouraged, but
encouraged. He keeps up the chase (real idea in \diōkō\, as in
1Co 14:1; Ro 9:30; 1Ti 6:11)
. {If so be that} (\ei kai\). "I
follow after." The condition (third class, \ei--katalabō\, second
aorist active subjunctive of \katalambanō\)
is really a sort of
purpose clause or aim. There are plenty of examples in the
_Koinē_ of the use of \ei\ and the subjunctive as here
(Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1017), "if I also may lay hold of that
for which (\eph' hōi\, purpose expressed by \epi\) I was laid
hold of (\katelēmphthēn\, first aorist passive of the same verb
by Christ Jesus." His conversion was the
beginning, not the end of the chase.

3:13 {Not yet} (\oupō\). But some MSS. read \ou\ (not). {To have
(\kateilēphenai\). Perfect active infinitive of same
verb \katalambanō\ (perfective use of \kata\, to grasp
. Surely denial enough. {But one thing} (\hen de\). No
verb in the Greek. We can supply \poiō\ (I do) or \diōkō\ (I keep
on in the chase)
, but no verb is really needed. "When all is
said, the greatest art is to limit and isolate oneself" (Goethe),
concentration. {Forgetting the things which are behind} (\ta men
opisō epilanthanomenos\)
. Common verb, usually with the genitive,
but the accusative in the _Koinē_ is greatly revived with verbs.
Paul can mean either his old pre-Christian life, his previous
progress as a Christian, or both (all of it). {Stretching
(\epekteinomenos\). Present direct middle participle of
the old double compound \epekteinō\ (stretching myself out
. Metaphor of a runner leaning forward as he runs.

3:14 {Toward the goal} (\kata skopon\). "Down upon the goal," who
is Jesus himself to whom we must continually look as we run (Heb
. The word means a watchman, then the goal or mark. Only
here in N.T. {Unto the prize} (\eis to brabeion\). Late word
(Menander and inscriptions) from \brabeus\ (umpire who awards the
. In N.T. only here and 1Co 9:24. {Of the high calling}
(\tēs anō klēseōs\). Literally, "of the upward calling." The goal
continually moves forward as we press on, but yet never out of

3:15 {As many as be perfect} (\hosoi teleioi\). Here the term
\teleioi\ means relative perfection, not the absolute perfection
so pointedly denied in verse 12. Paul here includes himself in
the group of spiritual adults (see He 5:13). {Let us be thus
(\touto phronōmen\). Present active volitive subjunctive
of \phroneō\. "Let us keep on thinking this," viz. that we have
not yet attained absolute perfection. {If ye are otherwise
(\ei ti heterōs phroneite\). Condition of first class,
assumed as true. That is, if ye think that ye are absolutely
perfect. {Shall God reveal unto you} (\ho theos humin
. He turns such cases over to God. What else can he
do with them? {Whereunto we have already come} (\eis ho
. First aorist active indicative of \phthanō\,
originally to come before as in 1Th 4:15, but usually in the
_Koinē_ simply to arrive, attain to, as here.

3:16 {By that same rule let us walk} (\tōi autōi stoichein\)
Aleph A B do not have \kanoni\ (rule). Besides \stoichein\ is the
absolute present active infinitive which sometimes occurs instead
of the principal verb as in Ro 12:15. Paul means simply this
that, having come thus far, the thing to do is to go "in the same
path" (\tōi autōi\) in which we have been travelling so far. A
needed lesson for Christians weary with the monotony of routine
in religious life and work.

3:17 {Imitators together of me} (\sunmimētai mou\). Found only
here so far, though Plato uses \summimeisthai\. "Vie with each
other in imitating me" (Lightfoot). {Mark} (\skopeite\). Old verb
from \skopos\ (verse 14). "Keep your eyes on me as goal." Mark
and follow, not avoid as in Ro 16:17. {An ensample} (\tupon\).
Originally the impression left by a stroke (Joh 20:25), then a
pattern (mould) as here (cf. 1Th 1:7; 1Co 10:6,11; Ro 5:14;

3:18 {I told you often} (\pollakis elegon\). Imperfect active,
repetition in Paul s warnings to them. {Even weeping} (\kai
. Deep emotion as he dictated the letter and recalled
these recreant followers of Christ (cf. 2Co 2:4). {The enemies
of the cross of Christ}
(\tous echthrous tou staurou tou
. Either the Judaizers who denied the value of the
cross of Christ (Ga 5:11; 6:12,14) or Epicurean antinomians
whose loose living gave the lie to the cross of Christ (1Jo

3:19 {Whose god is the belly} (\hou to theos hē koilia\). The
comic poet Eupolis uses the rare word \Koiliodaimōn\ for one who
makes a god of his belly and Seneca speaks of one who _abdomini
servit_. Sensuality in food, drink, sex then as now mastered some
men. These men posed as Christians and gloried in their shame.
{Who mind earthly things} (\hoi ta epigeia phronountes\).
Anacoluthon. The nominative does not refer to \polloi\ at the
beginning, but with the accusative \tous echthrous\ in between.
See Mr 12:40.

3:20 {Our citizenship} (\hēmōn to politeuma\). Old word from
\piliteuō\ (Php 1:27), but only here in N.T. The inscriptions
use it either for citizenship or for commonwealth. Paul was proud
of his Roman citizenship and found it a protection. The
Philippians were also proud of their Roman citizenship. But
Christians are citizens of a kingdom not of this world (Joh
. Milligan (_Vocabulary_) doubts if commentators are
entitled to translate it here: "We are a colony of heaven,"
because such a translation reverses the relation between the
colony and the mother city. But certainly here Paul's heart is in
heaven. {We wait for} (\apekdechometha\). Rare and late double
compound (perfective use of prepositions like wait out) which
vividly pictures Paul's eagerness for the second coming of Christ
as the normal attitude of the Christian colonist whose home is

3:21 {Shall fashion anew} (\metaschēmatisei\). Future active
indicative of \metaschēmatizō\ for which see 1Co 4:6; 2Co
11:13ff. {Conformed to} (\summorphon\). For which (\sun,
see Ro 8:29, only N.T. examples. With associative
instrumental case. The body of our state of humiliation will be
made suitable to associate with the body of Christ's glory (1Co
. {According to the working} (\kata tēn energeian\).
"According to the energy." If any one doubts the power of Christ
to do this transformation, Paul replies that he has power "even
to subject all things unto himself."

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Philippians: Chapter 3)