Exhortation to a Holy Life.
The Lowliness and the Exaltation of Christ.
Working Out Their Own Salvation.
Becoming Lights in the World.
The Relations of Paul and Timothy.
Epaphroditus and His Sickness.
1-4. If there be therefore any consolation, etc. The apostle
does not doubt that there is consolation, comfort, spiritual
fellowship, etc., in Christ, but bases an exhortation on what the
Philippians knew to be the case.
Bowels and mercies. "Tender mercies and compassion," as in the
2. Fulfil ye my joy. Make my joy full. They had already given him
desired one thing more; viz., that they be
like-minded, in full agreement, perfect harmony.
Having the same love. Loving one another with pure hearts
Being of one accord. Of one heart and soul. No outward
3. Nothing through strife or vain glory. No party spirit or
striving for human praise.
Let each esteem, etc. Instead of exalting himself, each is to
exalt others in his esteem. He that is willing to serve is
4. Look not every man on his own things. Do not look out for
your own interests alone, but for the interests of others rather than
5-8. Let this mind be in you. He points to Christ as the example
of humility and consecration to the good of others.
6. Who, being in the form of God. He refers to the state of our
Savior before he took human form. His form was divine. "He had a glory
with the father before the world was."
John 1:1; 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 1:3,
Thought it not robbery to be equal with God. The Revision says,
"Counted it not a prize." The meaning is not entirely clear, but
probably is that "Having a form of glory like God, he did not count it
a prize which must be clung to tenaciously, especially when he appeared
upon the earth, that he should be equal with God, that is, appear in a
divine form, but was willing to lay aside his glory and make himself a
7. Emptied himself.
Of the divine form and glory, and took the
form of a servant, of our own race, a race whose duty it is to
serve God. The divine glory was exchanged for human lowliness.
8. He humbled himself. Note the infinite condescension: (1) The
form of God and sharing the divine glory. (2) He divests himself of
this. (3) Nor does he then take the divine form, or even the form of
an angel, but of lowly, sinful man. (4) But this is not all. He not
only takes the form of man, but the mortality of the flesh, and dies.
(5) Nay, more; he dies the most shameful and painful of all deaths,
even the death of the cross.
9-11. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him. His wonderful
humility had been shown, but it is the law of the universe that he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted. Therefore God lifted him up from the
grave to the heavens, gave all power into his hands
and gave him a name above every name. The idea is an authority,
a position, above that of all intelligences. This
exaltation made the humble name, Jesus, a name above every
10. That at the name of Jesus. That name, by the exaltation, has
become the name of the King of kings. It is supreme. Hence,
every knee in all the universe bows to its majesty.
Under the earth. In the under-world, hades, the abode of the
11. And that every tongue should confess. All the universe is
called to confess him as Lord, and thus glorify God. All will yet
confess him, either in joy or shame.
12, 13. Wherefore, my beloved. From the contemplation of
Christ's glory, the apostle turns to the lessons needed by the
Work out your own salvation. While Christ is our Savior, and the
author of our salvation, we must accept him and work together with him.
Hence the Holy Spirit says, "Save yourselves"
and "work out your own salvation." Unless we do our part Christ cannot
With fear and trembling. With constant anxiety not to fail.
13. For it is God which worketh in you. God works in the
converted person by his word and Spirit. His Spirit is a helper. It
does not destroy our free will, for we may resist it
(1 Thess. 5:19).
Both to will and to work. God shows his will by his word and
spirit and work in us. We ought to heed it. We can work in harmony with
the divine will, or we may reject to our damnation.
His good pleasure. As seemeth best to him.
14-18. Do all things without murmurings. Without complaining.
Some persons pass their lives complaining.
15. The sons of God. Those of so high estate ought to be
harmless, blameless, and
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, a wicked
world, they should
shine as lights by their pure and holy lives.
16. Holding forth the word of life. Always preaching Christ in
word, in life, and in deed. That was their work. Unless they did this
they were a failure.
That I may rejoice. Unless they had done so he would be made to
feel, in the day of Christ, the day of accounts, that his labor at
Philippi was in vain.
17. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice, etc. He is
willing to die as a sacrifice for Christ, martyred because he has
preached the gospel to the Gentiles, if it will be an encouragement to
their faith. He will even rejoice in death if it will help the cause of
Christ. The imagery used was familiar to those who had so often seen
victims sacrificed as offerings in the heathen temples.
18. Rejoice with me. Like me, rejoice in the prospect of death,
if thereby Christ may be glorified.
19-24. I trust in the Lord Jesus. Through the help of the Lord.
To send Timothy. His companion at Rome at this time, his beloved
convert and fellow-laborer. See notes on
That I may be of good comfort. When he returns from visiting you
and shows me your state.
20. For I have no man like-minded. No one else is here with me
who will so well represent my feelings and views when
he visits you.
21. For all seek their own. Others, who were at hand, were more
mindful of their own interests than of Christ's cause. We infer from
this that of his faithful fellow-preachers none were in Rome save
22. Ye know the proof of him. You have seen him and know him.
Timothy had more than once visited Philippi before this
(2 Cor. 2:9; 13:3).
As a son with a father. Timothy was his convert, and showed him
a tender reverence.
23. So soon as I shall see, etc. As soon as there is some
decision in his case, showing whether he will be released, or what may
be his fate, he will send Timothy.
24. But I trust. Yet he expects by the Lord's help to be
released, and to visit them himself. See note on
25-30. Epaphroditus. He will now send back Epaphroditus, the
messenger they had sent to Paul with their offerings, one who
had been so welcome, a "brother, and companion in labor, and
26. For he longed after you all. Was very desirous to see you.
Full of heaviness. Heart-sickness.
He had been sick. We thus learn that their messenger had a
serious sickness while in Rome. Of course the news of this caused great
anxiety at home.
27. God had mercy on him. He was "nigh to death," but God in his
mercy spared him.
Sorrow upon sorrow. His death would have been a great sorrow to
Paul, who had already many sorrows.
28. I sent him therefore the more diligently.
Because his brethren at home were so anxious about him. Their joy in
seeing him will be a joy to Paul also, so that he will
be the less sorrowful over his absence.
29. Receive him. Give him a glad welcome. Hold such as he in
30. Because. Because it was his work for Christ, his refusal to
spare himself, his supreme anxiety to supply by his own service the
absence of the church, which brought on his sickness.