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Word Pictures in the New Testament - Philippians
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Chapter 1

1:1 Paul [Paulos]. He does not mention his apostleship as he usually does. Omitted also in I and II Thess. and Philemon. Timothy [Timotheos]. In no sense the author, but associated with Paul because with him here in Rome as in Corinth when I and II Thessalonians written and in Ephesus when I Corinthians sent and in Macedonia when II Corinthians written. Timothy was with Paul when the Philippian church was founded (Ac 16:1,13; 17:14). He had been there twice since (Ac 19:22; 20:3f.). To all the saints [pāsi tois hagiois]. The word saint [hagios] here is used for the professing Christians as in 1Co 1:2 which see as well as Ro 1:7 for the origin of the word. The word “all” [pāsi] means that all individual believers are included. Paul employs this word frequently in Philippians. In Christ Jesus [en Christōi Iēsou]. The centre for all Christian relations and activities for Paul and for us. In Philippi [en Philippois]. See on Ac 16:12 for discussion of this name. With the bishops [sun episkopois]. “Together with bishops,” thus singled out from “all the saints.” See Ac 20:17,28 for the use of this most interesting word as equivalent to [presbuteros] (elder). It is an old word from [episkeptomai], to look upon or after, to inspect, so the overseer or superintendent. In the second century [episcopos] (Ignatius) came to mean one superior to elders, but not so in the N.T. The two New Testament church officers are here mentioned (bishops or elders and deacons). The plural is here employed because there was usually one church in a city with several pastors (bishops, elders). And deacons [kai diakonois]. Technical sense here of the other church officers as in 1Ti 3:8-13, not the general use as in Mt 22:13. The origin of the office is probably seen in Ac 6:1-6. The term is often applied to preachers (1Co 3:5; 2Co 3:6). The etymology [dia, konis] suggests raising a dust by hastening.

1:3 Upon [epi]. Basis of the thanksgiving. All [pāsēi]. Note frequent use of “all” here [pāsēi, pantote], always, [pāsēi], again, [pantōn humōn], you all). The use of “you all” recurs several times (4, 7 bis, 8).

1:4 With joy [meta charas]. Keynote of the Epistle. Paul is a happy prisoner as in Philippi when he and Silas sang praises at midnight though in prison (Ac 16:25).

1:5 For your fellowship [epi tēi koinōniāi humōn]. “On the basis of your contribution” as in 2Co 8:4; 9:13; Ac 2:42. The particular kind of “partnership” or “fellowship” involved is the contribution made by the Philippians for the spread of the gospel (1:7 [sugkoinōnous] and 4:14 where [sugkoinōnēsantes] occurs). In furtherance of the gospel [eis to euaggelion]. “For the gospel.” From the first day until now [apo tēs prōtēs hēmeras achri tou nun]. As when in Thessalonica (Php 4:15f.), in Corinth (Ac 18:5; 2Co 11:7-10), and now in Rome.

1:6 Being confident [pepoithōs]. Second perfect active of [peithō], to persuade. This very thing [auto touto]. Accusative of the inner object with [pepoithōs], “this thing itself.” Will perfect it [epitelesei]. Future active indicative of [epiteleō], will fully [epi-] finish. God began and God will consummate it (see 2Co 8:6; Ga 3:3 where both words occur together as here), but not without their cooperation and partnership. Until the day of Jesus Christ [achri hēmeras Christou Iēsou]. The second coming as in verse 10. See 1Th 5:2, 4; 2Th 1:10; 2:2; 1Co 1:18; 3:13; 2Co 1:14; Ro 13:12. Paul never sets the time for the Lord’s return, but he is cheered by that blessed hope.

1:7 Because I have you in my heart [dia to echein me en tēi kardiāi humas]. Or “because you hold me in your heart.” Literally, “because of the holding me (or you) in the heart as to you (or me).” One accusative is the object of the infinitive [echein], the other is the accusative of general reference. There is no way to decide which is the idea meant except to say that love begets love. The pastor who, like Paul, holds his people in his heart will find them holding him in their hearts. In the defence [en tēi apologiāi]. Old word (our word apology, but not our idea of apologizing), in the original sense in Ac 22:1; 25:16. So also in verse 16 below. Confirmation [bebaiōsei]. Old word from [bebaioō] [bebaios, bainō], to make stable. In N.T. only here and Heb 6:16 about oath. Partakers with me of grace [sugkoinōnous mou tēs charitos]. Literally, “my co-sharers in grace” (objective genitive). “Grace prompted them to alleviate his imprisonment, to cooperate with him in defending and propagating the gospel, and to suffer for its sake” (Vincent, Int. Crit. Comm.).

1:8 My witness [martus mou]. Same solemn oath in Ro 1:9. I long after [epipothō]. Longing [pothos] directed toward [epi] the Philippians. Old word, chiefly in Paul in N.T. In the tender mercies [en splagchnois]. Literally “in the bowels” as the seat of the affections.

1:9 May abound [perisseuēi]. Present active subjunctive of [perisseuō], may keep on overflowing, a perpetual flood of love, “yet more and more” [eti mallon kai mallon], but with necessary limitations (river banks), “in knowledge” [en epignōsei], in full knowledge) “and all discernment” [pāsēi aisthēsei]. The delicate spiritual perception [aisthēsis], old word from [aisthanomai], only here in N.T. as the verb only in Lu 9:45 in N.T.) can be cultivated as in [aisthētērion] (Heb 5:14)

1:10 So that ye may [eis to humas]. Either purpose or result [eis to] plus infinitive as in Ro 1:11,20; 3:26, etc.). Approve the things that are excellent [dokimazein ta diapheronta]. Originally, “test the things that differ.” Cf. same idiom in Ro 2:28. The verb was used for assaying metals. Either sense suits this context, but the first step is to distinguish between good and evil and that is not always easy in our complex civilization. Sincere [eilikrineis]. Old word of uncertain origin from [krinō], to judge, by [heilē] (sunlight) or to sift by rapid rolling [eilos]. At any rate it means pure, unsullied. Void of offence [aproskopoi]. Alpha privative [pros] and [koptō], to cut, “not stumbled against” (not causing others to stumble) or if active “not stumbling against.” Passive sense probably, not active as in 1Co 10:32. Common in the papyri, though not in ancient Greek writers.

1:11 Fruits of righteousness [karpon dikaiosunēs]. Singular, collective idea, fruit of righteousness. Accusative case retained with perfect passive participle.

1:12 The things which happened unto me [ta kat’ eme]. “The things concerning me” = “my affairs” as common in Josephus. Have fallen out rather [mallon elēluthen]. “Have come rather.” Second perfect active indicative of [erchomai]. Unto the progress [eis prokopēn]. Late word from [prokoptō], common verb, to cut or strike forward, but this late substantive does not occur in classical Greek. It is a technical term in Stoic philosophy for “progress toward wisdom” and it appears also in the papyri and the LXX. In N.T. only here, verse 25; 1Ti 4:15.

1:13 Throughout the whole praetorian guard [en holōi tōi praitōriōi]. There were originally ten thousand of these picked soldiers, concentrated in Rome by Tiberius. They had double pay and special privileges and became so powerful that emperors had to court their favour. Paul had contact with one after another of these soldiers. It is a Latin word, but the meaning is not certain, for in the other New Testament examples (Mt 27:27; Mr 15:16; Joh 18:28,33; 19:9; Ac 23:35) it means the palace of the provincial governor either in Jerusalem or Caesarea. In Rome “palace” would have to be the emperor’s palace, a possible meaning for Paul a provincial writing to provincials (Kennedy). Some take it to mean the camp or barracks of the praetorian guard. The Greek, “in the whole praetorium,” allows this meaning, though there is no clear example of it. Mommsen and Ramsay argue for the judicial authorities (praefecti praetorio) with the assessors of the imperial court. At any rate Paul, chained to a soldier, had access to the soldiers and the officials.

1:14 The most of the brethren [tous pleionas tōn adelphōn]. “The more part of the brethren.” The comparative with the article with the sense of the superlative as often in the Koinē. In the Lord [en Kuriōi]. It is not clear whether this phrase is to be connected with “brethren” or with “being confident” [pepoithotas], probably with [pepoithotas]. If so, then “through my bonds” [tois desmois mou] would be the instrumental case and mean that by means of Paul’s bonds the brethren “are more abundantly bold” [perissoterōs tolmāin].

1:15 Even of envy and strife [kai dia phthonon kai erin]. “Even because of” (accusative after [dia]). Surely the lowest of motives for preaching Christ. Envy is an old word and an old sin and strife [eris] is more rivalry than schism. It is petty and personal jealousy of Paul’s power and prowess by the Judaizers in Rome whom Paul has routed in the east, but who now exult at the opportunity of annoying their great antagonist by their interpretation of Christ. Jealousy is always against those of one’s own class or profession as preachers with preachers, doctors with doctors. Of goodwill [di’ eudokian]. Because of goodwill toward Paul.

1:16 Of love [ex agapēs]. Out of love to Paul as well as to Christ. Put 1Co 13 here as a flash-light.

1:17 Of faction [ex eritheias]. Out of partisanship. From [eritheuō], to spin wool, and that from [erithos], a hireling. The papyri examples suit the idea of selfish ambition (Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary). See 2Co 12:20; Ga 5:20. Not sincerely [ouch hagnōs]. “Not purely,” that is with mixed and impure motives. To raise up affliction for my bonds [thlipsin egeirein tois desmois mou]. Now that Paul is down they jump on him in mean and nagging ways. Dative case in [desmois]. “To make my chains gall me” (Lightfoot).

1:18 What then? [ti gar?]. Sharp problem put up to Paul by the conduct of the Judaizers. Only that [plēn hoti]. Same idiom in Ac 20:23. [Plēn] is adverb [pleon] (more besides). As a preposition [plēn] means “except.” This essential thing Paul sees in spite of all their envy and selfishness that Christ is preached. Whether in pretence [eite prophasei]. Either from [prophainō], to shew forth, or [prophēmi], to speak forth, the ostensible presentation often untrue. See Ac 27:30. Paul sees clearly through the pious pretence of these Judaizers and rejoices that people get some knowledge of Christ. Some Christ is better than no Christ. Yea, and will rejoice [alla kai charēsomai]. Note affirmative, not adversative, use of [alla]. Volitive use of the future (second future passive) indicative [charēsomai] of [chairō]. Paul is determined to rejoice in spite of the efforts of the Judaizers to prod him to anger.

1:19 Will turn [apobēsetai]. Future middle indicative of [apobainō], old verb, to come from, to come back, to turn out. To my salvation [eis sōtērian]. For his release from prison as he strongly hopes to see them again (1:26). Lightfoot takes the word to be Paul’s eternal salvation and it must be confessed that verse 20 (the close of this sentence) does suit that idea best. Can it be that Paul carried both conceptions in the word here? Supply [epichorēgias]. Late and rare word (one example in inscription of first century A.D.). In N.T. only here and Eph 4:16. From the late verb [epichorēgeō] (double compound, [epi, choros, hēgeomai], to furnish supply for the chorus) which see in 2Co 9:10; Ga 3:5.

1:20 Earnest expectation [apokaradokian]. In Paul alone from [apokaradokeō] (in papyri). See on Ro 8:19 for only other example. Shall be magnified [megalunthēsetai]. Future passive indicative of [megalunō], old verb, to make great, from [megas] (great). See Ac 19:17. In my body [en tōi sōmati mou]. See Ro 12:1f. It is harder often to make Christ great in the body than in the spirit.

1:21 For to me [emoi gar]. Fine example of the ethical dative. Paul gives his own view of living. To live is Christ [to zēin Christos]. No copula [estin], but [to zēin] (the act of living present active infinitive) is the subject as is shown by the article [to]. Living is coextensive with Christ. Gain [kerdos]. Old word for any gain or profit, interest on money (so in papyri). In N.T. only here, Php 3:7; Tit 1:11. To die [to apothanein], second aorist active infinitive, single act) is to cash in both principal and interest and so to have more of Christ than when living. So Paul faces death with independence and calm courage.

1:22 If this is the fruit of my work [touto moi karpos ergou]. There is no [ei] (if) here in the Greek, but [touto] (this) seems to be resumptive and to repeat the conditional clause just before. If so, [kai] just after means then and introduces the conclusion of the condition. Otherwise [touto] introduces the conclusion and [kai] means and. I wot not [ou gnōrizō]. “I know not.” It seems odd to preserve the old English word “wot” here. But it is not clear that [gnōrizō] (old causative verb from [ginōskō] means just to know. Elsewhere in the N.T., as in Lu 2:15; Ro 9:22, it means to make known, to declare. The papyri examples mean to make known. It makes perfectly good sense to take its usual meaning here, “I do not declare what I shall choose.”

1:23 I am in a strait [sunechomai]. “I am held together.” Present passive indicative of the common compound verb [sunechō], to hold together, to hem together as in Lu 8:45. “I am hemmed in on both sides” (Lightfoot). Betwixt the two [ek tōn duo]. “From the two (sides).” Pressure to live on, pressure to die and be with Christ. To depart [eis to analusai]. Purpose clause, [eis to] and the aorist active infinitive [analusai], old compound verb, to unloose (as threads), to break up, to return (Lu 12:36, only other N.T. example), to break up camp (Polybius), to weigh anchor and put out to sea, to depart (often in old Greek and papyri). Cf. [kataluō] in 2Co 5:1 for tearing down the tent. Very far better [pollōi mallon kreisson]. Double comparative (triple Lightfoot calls it because of [pollōi] like Isocrates and the Koinē often. See 2Co 7:13 for [perissoterōs mallon]. [Pollōi] is the instrumental case of measure (by much).

1:24 In the flesh [en tēi sarki]. So B D G, but Aleph A C do not have [en]. Unnecessary with [epimenō], to abide by (common verb).

1:25 And abide with you all [kai paramenō pāsin humin]. Common Pauline idiom to repeat the simple verb [menō] as a compound [paramenō], future active indicative), old verb, to remain beside followed by locative case. See same idiom in [chairō, sunchairō] (Php 2:17).

1:26 In Christ Jesus in me [en Christōi Iēsou en emoi]. “In Christ Jesus” as the basis for the glorying [kauchēma], “in me” as the instance in point. Through my presence [dia tēs emēs parousias]. The word so often used of the second coming of Christ, but here in its ordinary sense as in 2:12; 1Co 16:17.

1:27 Let your manner of life [politeuesthe]. Old verb from [politēs], citizen, and that from [polis], city, to be a citizen, to manage a state’s affairs, to live as a citizen. Only twice in N.T., here and Ac 23:1. Philippi as a colony possessed Roman citizenship and Paul was proud of his own possession of this right. The Authorized Version missed the figure completely by the word “conversation” which did refer to conduct and not mere talk as now, but did not preserve the figure of citizenship. Better render, “Only do ye live as citizens.” Striving [sunathlountes]. Rather, “striving together” as in an athletic contest. Late and rare word (Diodorus). “The very energy of the Christian faith to produce energetic individualities” (Rainy). “Striving in concert” (Lightfoot). For the faith [tēi pistei]. For the teaching of the gospel, objective sense of [pistis] (faith).

1:28 Affrighted [pturomenoi]. Present passive participle of [pturō], old verb, to frighten. The metaphor is of a timid or scared horse and from [ptoeō] [ptoa], terror). “Not startled in anything.” By the adversaries [hupo tōn antikeimenōn]. These men who were lined up against (present middle participle of [antikeimai] may have been Jews or Gentiles or both. See 2Th 2:4 for this late verb. Any preacher who attacks evil will have opposition. Evident token [endeixis]. Old word for proof. See 2Co 8:24; Ro 3:25f. “An Attic law term” (Kennedy) and only in Paul in N.T. Perdition [apōleias]. “Loss” in contrast with “salvation” [sōtērias]. And that [kai touto]. Idiomatic adverbial accusative. “It is a direct indication from God. The Christian gladiator does not anxiously await the signal of life or death from the fickle crowd” (Lightfoot).

1:29 In the behalf of Christ [to huper Christou]. Literally, “the in behalf of Christ.” But Paul divides the idea and uses the article to again both with [pisteuein] and with [paschein]. Suffering in behalf of Christ is one of God’s gifts to us.

1:30 Conflict [agōna]. Athletic or gladiatorial contest as in 1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 4:7. The Philippians saw Paul suffer (Ac 16:19-40; 1Th 2:2) as now they have heard about it in Rome.

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