Matthew Henry Complete Commentary
on the Whole Bible
W I T H P R A C T I C A L O B S E R V A T I O N S,
OF THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO
T H E P H I L I P P I A N S.
was a chief city of the western part of Macedonia, prote tes
meridos tes Makedonias polis,
It took its name from Philip, the famous king of Macedon, who repaired
and beautified it, and it was afterwards made a Roman colony. Near this
place were the Campi Philippici, remarkable for the famous
battles between Julius Cæsar and Pompey the Great, and that
between Augustus and Antony on one side and Cassius and Brutus on the
other. But it is most remarkable among Christians for this epistle,
which was written when Paul was a prisoner at Rome, A.D. 62. Paul seems
to have had a very particular kindness for the church at Philippi,
which he himself had been instrumental in planting; and, though he had
the care of all the churches, he had, upon that account, a
particular fatherly tender care of this. To those to whom God has
employed us to do any good we should look upon ourselves both as
encouraged and engaged to study to do more good. He looked upon them as
his children, and, having begotten them by the gospel, he was
desirous by the same gospel to nourish and nurse them up.
I. He was called in an extraordinary manner to preach the gospel at
A vision appeared to Paul in the night: There stood a man of
Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help
us. He saw God going before him, and was encouraged to use all
means for carrying on the good work which was begun among them, and
building upon the foundation which was laid.
II. At Philippi he suffered hard things; he was scourged, and put into
yet he had not the less kindness for the place for the hard usage he
met with there. We must never love our friends the less for the ill
treatment which our enemies give us.
III. The beginnings of that church were very small; Lydia was
converted there, and the jailer, and a few more: yet that did not
discourage him. If good be not done at first, it may be done
afterwards, and the last works may be more abundant. We must not be
discouraged by small beginnings.
IV. It seems, by many passages in this epistle, that this church at
Philippi grew into a flourishing church, and particularly that the
brethren were very kind to Paul. He had reaped of their temporal
things, and he made a return in spiritual things. He acknowledges the
receipt of a present they had sent him
and this when no other church communicated with him as concerning
giving and receiving
and he gives them a prophet's, an apostle's reward, in this epistle,
which is of more value than thousands of gold and silver.