Philippians 2



                                    Christian Like-Mindedness (vs. 1-2)


1  “If there be therefore, any consolation in Christ,” -  Mark the fervor of the

apostle.  He appeals to the Christian experience of the Philippians; if these experiences

are real, as they are; facts verified in the believer’s consciousness; not talk, not mere

forms of speech, — then fulfill ye my joy. Consolation; perhaps “exhortation” is the

more suitable rendering in this place: if the presence of Christ, if communion with

Christ, hath power to stir the heart, to stimulate the emotions, to constrain the will -

“if any comfort of love,” -  comfort springing out of love.  Love is the subjective

result of the presence of Christ as an objective reality, and with love comes comfort

(compare I Corinthians 14:3 and I Thessalonians 2:11) – “if any fellowship of

the Spirit,” -  If the indwelling of the Holy Ghost be true, a felt reality in the

Christian life – “if any bowels and mercies.”  Bowels (see note on ch.1:8), the

seat of the feelings of compassion; mercies, those feelings themselves. The pronoun

“any,’’ according to the reading of all the best manuscripts, is masculine singular;

the word “bowels,” being neuter plural ei] tiv spla>gcna -– ei tis splanchna

if any bowels - If Paul really wrote thus, we must suppose that the warmth of his

feelings suddenly led him to substitute spla>gcna for some other word originally in

his thoughts. Under any circumstances, the reading ei] tiv is a valuable testimony to

the scrupulous fidelity of the early transcribers, who copied the text as they found it,

even when it contained readings so manifestly difficult.


2   “Fulfill ye my joy,” -  Paul has already (ch.1:4) spoken of his joy derived from

the life and conduct of the Philippian Christians; now he asks them to complete his

joy by living in unity. There were disagreements among them (ch.4:2) – “that ye be

likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” The

apostle’s earnestness leads him to dwell on the idea of unity, clothing the

one thought again and again in different words.  Paul did not want their gifts;

he wanted them to live together in holy love, by keeping “the unity of the spirit

in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)  This unity can only be through Jesus

Christ and His indwelling Presence.  His Presence stimulates, quickens and

encourages unity.  It is the life of the Christian soul; and that life is diffused through

all the members of the one body, through all the branches of the one Vine.  (John

15:1-8)  The Holy Spirit abiding in each individual of the church is what makes

up the unity and peace of that body!


It seems strange that the apostle, knowing the difficulty of getting a thousand minds

to agree in the reception of intellectual truth, should yet counsel them to seek a unity

of opinion. There is nothing strange in the fact when we consider how much the

intellect of man is influenced by his moral nature.





“That ye be like-minded, having the same love, with accordant souls

minding the one thing.” (v. 2)


  • It must include a certain intellectual agreement as to matters of

            doctrine. It is not possible to understand what may have been the diversity

            of opinion on points of doctrine which made this counsel necessary. The

            Philippians are not censured for heresy; but the apostle knows that the

            “men of the concision” (ch. 3:2) are not far off, and the warning to keep

            to “the sound doctrine” (I Timothy 1:10) is neither premature nor unnecessary.


  • It includes an agreement as to methods and aims. There were symptoms

            of jealousy, leading to quarrel, manifest in the conduct of two ladies of this

            Church (ch. 4:2), and it is difficult to say how far these women, holding an

            influential place in the little community, may have disturbed its unity.


  • It implies an agreement working along the lines of a common love.

            Love is a bond — “the bond of perfectness” (Colossians 3:14) just as

            hatred separates man from man. Love produces that harmony of feeling

            and interests that leads to unity of service.



any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the

Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.” (v. 1) - The apostle grounds his appeal to the

Philippians upon their undoubted possession of certain spiritual experiences.


  • “Consolation in Christ.” What stores of consolation are in Christ!

      “I will not leave you comfortless.”  (John 14:18)


  • “Comfort of love.”  (v. 1) - Love has comfort in it, especially when it

      has a sure resting-place.


  • “Fellowship of the Spirit.” This fellowship involves “the fellowship of

            the Father and the Son,” and carries with it all the experiences and fruits

            of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It involves unity as one of its essential



  • “Bowels and mercies.” A tender and compassionate spirit is helpful to




FLOCK. Fulfil ye my joy.” (v. 2) - As nothing so depresses the mind of a minister

as intellectual or social dissensions among the members of his flock, so his joy is fulfilled

alike in their unity of thought and in the harmony of their feeling and affection.



            The Qualities of Christian Like-Mindedness (vs. 3-4)


3  “Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory;´-  Not “strife,” but

“faction,” as R.V. The word is the same as that rendered “contention” in

 ch. 1:10, where see note. Party spirit is one of the greatest dangers in running the

Christian race. Love is the characteristic Christian grace; party spirit and vain-glory

too often lead professing Christians to break the law of love – “but in lowiness of

mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” In your lowliness; the

article seems to have a possessive sense, the lowliness characteristic of Christians,

which you as Christians possess. Tapeinofrosu>nh tapeinophronsune

lowliness of mind - an exclusively New Testament word: the grace was new, and the

word was new. The adjective tapeino>vtapeinoslow, lowly - in classical

Greek is used as a term of reproach — abject, mean.  The life of Christ (“I am meek

and lowly in heart”  - Matthew 11:29) and the teaching of Christ (“Blessed are

 the poor in spirit” – Ibid. 5:3) have raised lowliness to a new position, as one

of the chief features in the true Christian character. Here Paul bids us, as a

discipline of humility, to look at our own faults and at the good points in the

character of others (compare Romans 12:10 – “Be kindly affectioned one to

another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another”.)


UNITY IMPLIES HUMILITY. It is pride, self-conceit, that leads to strife

 and debate; avoid party spirit, avoid vain-glory.


  • Party spirit (ejriqei>a - eritheiaselfish ambition, faction)  is one of

       the works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:20.) Party spirit arrays men in

      factions against one another; they think more of their party than of

      Christ, more of party triumphs than of the progress of the gospel. This

      evil tendency soon found a place in the Church. Christians began early to

      say, “I am of Paul, and I of Cephas.” “Is Christ divided?”

      (I Corinthians 1:12-13) - Paul asks in indignant sorrow; THERE IS



  • Humility is essential for preservation of unity. Vain-glory must be

            wholly excluded from the motives and thoughts of the true Christian.

            Human ambitions are empty and vain; the one true ambition is to please

            God. We are ambitious (filotimou>meqaphilotimeomai),  says Paul

            (II Corinthians 5:9 – translated there – labor, margin - endeavor), to be

            well-pleasing unto Him. It is vain-glory that distracts the Church

            and rends the body of Christ. So far as it intrudes itself into the motives,

            it destroys the truth and inner beauty of the religious life. Humility is a

            Christian grace, a product of Christianity. The example of Christ has

            shed a halo round a word which to the heathen spoke of meanness

             and cowardice.  Holy Scripture has taken it and filled it with

            a new and blessed meaning; it suggests to the Christian the deepest

            piety, the inmost reality of personal religion. Humility lies at the very basis

            of the Christian character. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” (Matthew

            5:3) is the first of the beatitudes. There is no true holiness that is not

            grounded on humility; for “God giveth grace to the humble.”

            (James 4:6) - Therefore “let each esteem other better than themselves.”

            The highest saints feel and own themselves to be the chief of sinners. The

            nearer they draw to the Sun of righteousness, the more clearly they see

            their own guilt and unworthiness. “He that abaseth himself shall be

            exalted.” (Luke 18:14) - Hence the value of  Paul’s rule to esteem others

            better than ourselves. We are tempted to magnify our own virtues and the

            faults of others. True wisdom reverses this. We are to consider others, not

            for self-exaltation, but for self-abasement. We are to look on our own faults

            to correct them, on the good points in others to imitate them.


  • True humility implies unselfishness. The Christian must not put himself

            first; he must not regard his own wishes, his own interest, as the one

            thing to be thought of. He must consider the feelings of others, their desires,

            their wants. Only true humility will enable him to do this. But it is a hard

            lesson; there is need of more than words; there is need of a strength not

            our own; there is need of the stimulating influence of a Great Example.

            (“Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should

            follow His steps:” – I Peter 2:21)




  • Learn to search your heart for the realities of Christian experience; you

            will find them there, if you are indeed living in fellowship with Christ.

  • Pray for grace to feel real joy in the religious progress of others.
  • Endeavour (be ambitious) to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  • Be on your guard against party spirit and vain-glory. Strive to be first in

            humility and self-abasement; it is the secret of Christian joy and

             Christian growth.


4  “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the

things of others.”  Translate, “looking,” as R.V., not making one’s

own interest the one only object of life, but regarding also the interests,

feelings, wishes, of others. Each man must in a measure look at his own

things, — the kai> - kaialso - implies that; but he must consider others if he

is a Christian indeed.



 through faction or vain-glory.” (v. 3) - True unity of spirit is inconsistent alike with

the exaltation of party and the exaltation of self. Faction carries men beyond the

bounds of discretion, and rends the unity of the brotherhood.


  • “The beginning of strife is as the letting out of water” (Proverbs 17:14).
  • It should be “an honor for a man to cease from” it (Ibid. 20:3).
  • Vainglory, personal vanity, carries men into many follies and sins. “For men

       to search their own glory is not glory” (Ibid. 25:27).

  • There is more hope of a fool than of” such a one (Ibid. 26:12).
  • We ought, therefore, to pray, “Remove far from me vanity and lies.”

      (Ibid. 30:8)



of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (v. 3) - This implies:


  • That we have modest thoughts of ourselves. (Proverbs 26:12.)
  • That we have a just idea of others’ excellences.  (I Peter 2:17.)
  • That in honor we are to prefer one another. (Romans 12:10.)

            The reasons for this command are:


ü      If we excel others in some things, they may excel us in others

                        (Romans 12:4).

ü      We know not but others are more dear to God than ourselves,

      though they seem inferior to ourselves.

ü      It is a good way of preserving peace, as pride causes division

      among men (Proverbs 13:10) and separation from God

      (I Peter 5:5).  [“The road to peace is often paved by giving

      others the benefit of the doubt!” – Dr. Charles Stanley]



“Not regarding your own interests, but also the interests of others.” There

is nothing here said inconsistent with the most careful and conscientious discharge

of the duty we owe to ourselves. The injunction of the apostle is profoundly

Christ-like.  It implies:


  • That we are to desire one another’s good. (I Timothy 2:1.)
  • That we are to rejoice in one another’s prosperity. (Romans 12:15.)
  • That we are to pity one another’s misery. (Ibid.)
  • That we are to help one another in our necessities. (I John 3:17-18.)

      It reiterates the command of Christ: “Love one another.” No other

            command can be performed without this one. (Romans 13:10); we

            cannot love God without it (I John 2:17); and this is true religion

            (James 1:27).


5  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” -  literally,

according to the reading of the best manuscripts, mind this in you which was

also (minded) in Christ Jesus. Many manuscripts take the words “every man”

(e[kastoi - heskatoieach; everyone) of v. 4 with v. 5: “All of you mind

this.” The words, “in Christ Jesus,” show that the corresponding words, “in

you,” cannot mean “among you,” but in yourselves, in your heart (personally –

CY – 2011). The apostle refers us to the supreme example of unselfishness and

humility, the Lord Jesus Christ. He bids us mind (compare Romans 8:5) the

things which the Lord Jesus minded, to love what He loved, to hate what He

hated; the thoughts, desires, motives, of the Christian should be the

thoughts, desires, motives, which filled the sacred heart of Jesus Christ

our Lord. We must strive to imitate Him, to reproduce His image, not only in

the outward, but even in the inner life. Especially here we are bidden to follow

His unselfishness and humility.  Jesus Christ is the Supreme Example

of humble-mindedness!





  • In the outward life. He pleased not Himself; He sought not the high

            places of the world; He did not choose a life of ease, comfort, pleasure.

            He lived for others; He went abrupt doing good; He cared for the

            temporal needs of the sick and poor. He cared for the souls of all.


  • In the inner life of thought and feeling. The Christian must mind the

            things which the Lord Jesus minded; his thoughts, wishes, motives should

            be the thoughts, wishes, motives which filled the sacred heart of Jesus

            Christ our Lord. Holy Scripture bids us purify ourselves “even as He is

             pure” (I John 3:3).  The standard is very high, above us, out of our reach.

            But it is the end to which the high calling of the Christian points;

            it should be the object of all the longings of our hearts, to know Christ, to

            love Christ, to be made like unto Christ — like Him in the outward life

            of obedience, like Him in the inner live of holy thought.  (Christ is our

            Example  “that ye should follow His steps”– I Peter 2:21).



of Christ, in a sense, repeats itself in each one of his elect. (John 14:23; Luke 6:40)

They share His humiliation, His cross; they shall share His glory, His throne. 

(Revelation 3:21).


  • I am crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20) - We must imitate Him in

      His humiliation, emptying ourselves of pride and self-indulgence. We

      must deny ourselves, mortifying the old man, crucifying the flesh with the

      affections and lusts (Colossians 3:5),  dying through the power of the cross

      to the world and to the flesh (II Corinthians 5:15).


  • So shall we rise with Himnow, unto newness of life; hereafter, to

            behold Him in His glory, to sit with Him in His throne. “Father, I will

            that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am;

            that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me:  for

            thou lovest me before the foundation of the world” – (John 17:24).

            “He that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Self-abasement must

            come first, then the glory; first the cross, then the crown.





  • Let us meditate each day on the great example of Jesus.
  • Let us contemplate with wondering thankfulness the great mystery of the


  • Let us strive with all the energy to fix our thoughts in awe, in penitence, in

      adoring love, upon the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Person.

  • Let us pray for grace to imitate Him in His humility, in His unselfish love.


6   “Who, being in the form of God,” -  The word rendered “being”

(uJpa>rcwnhuparcho -  means, to exist, which always involves a pre-

existent state, prior to the fact referred to, and a continuance of the state

after the fact.  It looks back to the time before the Incarnation, when the Word,

the Lo>gov a]sarkov –- Logos asarkosWord made flesh; - was with God

(compare John 8:58; 17:5, 24). What does the word morfh> - morpheform;

 mean here? It occurs twice in this passage — v. 6, “form of God;” and v. 7,

“form of a servant;” it is contrasted with sch~maschema -  fashion; in

v. 8. In the Aristotelian philosophy (vide ‘ De Anima,’ 2:1, 2) morfh>  is

used almost in the sense of ei+doveidosappearance, fashion, form,

shape, sight; or to< ti> h+n ei+nai as that which makes a thing to be what it is,

the sum of its essential attributes: it is the form, as the expression of those

essential attributes, the permanent, constant form; not the fleeting, outward

sch~ma, or fashion. Paul seems to make a somewhat similar distinction between

the two words. Thus in Romans 8:29; Galatians 4:19; II Corinthians 3:18; ch. 3:10,

morfh> (or its derivatives) is used of the deep inner change of heart, the

change which is described in Holy Scripture as a new creation; while sch~ma is

used of the changeful fashion of the world and agreement with it (I Corinthians 7:31;

Romans 12:2). Then, when Paul tells us that Christ Jesus, being first in the form of

God, took the form of a servant, the meaning must be that He possessed originally

the essential attributes of Deity, and assumed in addition the essential

attributes of humanity. He was perfect God; He became perfect Man (compare

Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; II Corinthians 4:4) - “thought it not robbery to be

equal with God:” -  R.V. “counted it not a prize [margin, ‘a thing to be grasped’]

to be on an equality with God.” These two renderings represent two conflicting

interpretations of this difficult passage. Do the words mean that Christ asserted His

essential Godhead (“thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” as A.V.), or

that He did not cling to the glory of the Divine majesty (“counted it not a prize,” as

R.V.)?  Both statements are true in fact. The grammatical form of the word

aJrpagmo>n – harpagmonprize – to seize, carry off by force;  which properly

implies an action or process, favors the first view, which seems to be adopted by

most of the ancient versions and by most of the Latin Fathers. On the other hand,

the form of the word does not exclude the passive interpretation; many words of

the same termination have a passive meaning, and aJrpagmo>v itself is used in the

sense of a[rpagma by Eusebius, Cyril of Alexandria, and a writer in the ‘Catena

Possini’ on Mark 10:42 (the three passages are quoted by Bishop

Lightfoot, in loco). The Greek Fathers (as Chrysostom JO tou~ Qeou~ uiJo<v

oujk ejfobh>qh katabh~nai ajpo< tou~ ajxiw>matov, etc.) generally adopt

this interpretation. And the context seems to require it. (the word for prize

here also has a meaning of robbery – CY – 2011) - The aorist hJgh>sato

hegaesatothought; - points to an act, the act of abnegation; not to

a state, the continued assertion. The conjunction “but” (ajlla<) implies that

the two sentences are opposed to one another. He did not grasp, but, on the

contrary, He emptied Himself.   The first interpretation involves the tacit

insertion of “nevertheless;” He asserted His equality, but nevertheless, etc.

And the whole stress is laid on the Lord’s humility and unselfishness.

It is true that this second interpretation does not so distinctly assert the divinity

of our Lord, already sufficiently asserted in the first clause, “being in the

form of God.” But it implies it. Not to grasp at equality with God would

not be an instance of humility, but merely the absence of mad impiety, in

one who was not himself Divine. On the whole, then, we prefer the second

interpretation. Though He was from the beginning in the form of God, He

did not regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, a prize to be

tenaciously retained. The R.V. rendering of the last words of the clause,

“to be on an equality,” is nearer to the Greek and better than the A.V.,

“to be equal with God.”  CHRIST WAS EQUAL WITH GOD - (John 5:18;

10:30). He did not cling to the outward manifestation of that equality. The

adverbial form i]saisathe same in size, number, quality; mplies the state

or mode of equality rather than the equality  itself.



            subsisting in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality

            with God.”


ü      This language evidently describes Christ before His incarnation,

       in His Divine glory; for the pregnant expression, “existing in

      the form of God,” can be understood only of Divine existence with

      the manifestation of Divine glory. It is similar to the expression, “Who,

      being the Brightness of His glory, and the express Image of His

       person” (Hebrews 1:3). As to be in the form of a servant implies that

      He was a servant, so to be in the form of God implies that He was

      God! The emphatic thought is that He was in the form of God

       before He was in the form of a servant.


ü      This language exhibits likewise His own consciousness of the

       relations which subsisted between Him and his Father. “Who

       counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God.” The

      expression, “being in the form of God,” is the objective

      exposition of His Divine dignity; the second expression is the

      subjective delineation of the same thing. It asserts His conscious

      equality with God.



7  “But made Himself of no reputation,” -  rather, as R.V., but

emptied himself; not, He indeed, of the Godhead, which could not be, but

of its manifestation, its glory. This He did once for all, as the aorist implies,

at the Incarnation. The word “emptied’ involves a previous fullness, “a

precedent plenitude.”  The Divine majesty of which He emptied Himself was

His own, His own rightful prerogative; and His humiliation was His own

 voluntary  act — He emptied himself.   “He used His equality with God as

an opportunity, not for self-exaltation, but for self- abasement.” (John 1:14) –

“and took upon Him the form of a servant,”   rather, as R.V., taking the form.

The two clauses refer to the same act of self-humiliation regarded from its two sides.

He emptied Himself of His glory, taking at the same time the form (morfh>n – form);

as in v. 6, the essential attributes) of a servant, literally, of a slave. Observe, He was

originally (uJpa>rcwnhuparchonexist – who being;) in the form of God;

He took (labw>n – lambontake;) the form of a slave. The Godhead was His

by right, the manhood by His own voluntary act: both are equally real; He is

perfect and perfect Man. Isaiah prophesied of Christ (Isaiah 49 and 52.; compare

Acts 3:13, in the Greek or R.V.) as the Servant of Jehovah; He came to do the

Father’s will, submitting His own will in all things: “Not as I will, but as thou wilt”

(compare Matthew 20:27-28; Mark 10:44-45) – “and was made in the likeness

of men:” - translate, becoming, or, as R.V., being made (aorist participle). This

clause is another description of the one act of the Incarnation: He was God, He

became man.  Form (morfh>) asserts the reality of our Lord’s human nature.

Likeness (oJmoi>wma -–homoioma) refers only to external appearance: this word,

of course, does not imply that our Lord was not truly man, but, as Chrysostom says

(‘Hom.,’ 8:247), he was more than man; “We are soul and body, but He is God

and soul and body.” The likeness of men; because Christ is the Representative

of humanity: He took upon Him, not a human person, but human nature. He is

one person in two natures. Christ, as the second Adam, represents, not the

 individual man, but the human race.


8  “And being found in fashion as a man,” -  He humbled Himself in

the Incarnation; but this was not all. The apostle has hitherto spoken of our

Lord’s Godhead which He had from the beginning, and of His assumption of

our human nature. He now speaks of Him as He appeared in the sight of

men. The aorist participle, “being found (euJreqei>v),” refers to the time of

His earthly life when He appeared as a man among men. Fashion (sch~ma),

as opposed to form (morfh>), implies the outward and transitory. In

outward appearance He was as a man; He was more, for He was God –

“He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death,” -  translate, as

R.V., obedient. The participle implies that the supreme act of self-humiliation

consisted in the Lord’s voluntary submission to death. the obedience of His

perfect life extended even unto death. “He taketh away [literally, beareth,’

ai]rei]]] -  the sin of the world;” “The wages of sin is death;” (Romans 6:23)

therefore He suffered death for the sin which, Himself sinless, He vouchsafed

 to bear. Here we may remark in passing that this connection of death with sin

must have made death all the more awful to our sinless Lord – “even the

death of the cross.”  No ordinary death, but of all forms of death the most

torturing, the most full of shame — a death reserved by the Romans for

slaves, a death accursed in the eyes of the Jews (Deuteronomy 21:23).



  • CONSIDER CHRIST’S HUMILIATION. “But emptied himself, taking

       the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being

      found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient

      even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.” There is a double humiliation

      here involved, first objectively, then subjectively, described:


ü      The first is involved in His becoming man.


Ø      “He emptied Himself.” Of what? He did not cease to be

      what He was, but He emptied Himself in becoming

      another; He became man while He was God; a servant

      while He was Lord of all.


Ø      “He took upon him the form of a servant.” This marks

      His spontaneous self-abasement. “O Israel, then hast

      made me to serve with thy sins” (Isaiah 43:24).  It is

                                    more than an assertion that He assumed human nature,

                                    for it is that nature in a low condition. What condescension!

                                    “He who is Master of all becomes the slave of all!”


Ø      “Being made in the likeness of men.” He was really the

      “Word become flesh” (John 1:14), made “in the likeness

       of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3), that He might be qualified

       for His sin-bearing and curse-bearing career.


Ø      “Being found in fashion as a man.” As the apostle

      formerly contrasted what He was from the beginning with

      what He became at His incarnation, so here he contrasts

      what Christ is in Himself with His external appearance

      before men. In discourse, in conduct, in action, in suffering,

      he was found in fashion as a man.  (But for His true nature,

      the Bible gives us a glimpse on the Mount of Transfiguration

      - Matthew 17:2 – CY – 2011)


ü      The second humiliation involved Christ’s  obedience to death!

       He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the

       death of the cross.”  (v. 8) - This marks His subjective disposition

      in the sphere in which He placed Himself as a servant, with all the

      obligations of His position (Matthew 20:28). There was the form of a

      servant and the obedience of a servant.


Ø      His abasement took the form of obedience.


o       It was not an obedience necessitated by obligations

      natural to Himself, but was undertaken solely for

      others in virtue of the covenant in which He acted as

      God’s Servant (Isaiah 42:1).


o       It was a voluntary obedience. The idea of

      inevitable suffering, in a world altogether out of joint,

      is out of the question, for no one could take His life

      from Him, nor inflict suffering of any sort without

      His will ( John 10:18). His vicarious obedience was

      perfectly free.


Ø      His abasement involved death. “He became obedient unto

      death.” (v. 8) – It was an obedience from His birth to His

      death, for it was unto death. His obedience was in His death

      as well as in His life, and He was equally vicarious in both.


Ø      His abasement involved a shameful death, “even the death

      of the cross.” It was a death reserved for malefactors and

      slaves. There was pain and shame and curse. Yet “He

      endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).

      Mark, then, at once, the transcendent love and the

      transcendent humility of Jesus Christ! What an example

      to set before the Christians of Philippi! “Let the same mind

      be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”


9  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him,” -  The exaltation

is the reward of the humiliation: “He that humbleth himself shall be

exalted.” Better, as R.V., highly exalted. The aorist (uJperu>ywsen

huperupsoo) refers to the historical facts of the Resurrection and Ascension -

“and given Him a Name which is above every name:” -  read and translate,

as R.V., and gave unto Him the Name. The two aorist verbs, “highly exalted”

and “freely gave” (ejcari>sato - echarisato) refer to the time of our Lord’s

resurrection and ascension. He voluntarily assumed a subordinate position;

 God the Father Exalted him. We must read, with the best manuscripts, the

Name. This seems to mean, not the name Jesus, which was given Him at His

circumcision, in accordance with the angel’s message; but the name LORD

or JEHOVAH - (compare v.. 11), which was indeed His before His incarnation,

but was given (compare Matthew 28:18, “All power is given unto me in

heaven and in earth”) to JESUS CHRIST, THE INCARNATE SON,

GOD AND MAN IN ONE PERSON.  Or more probably, perhaps, the word

“Name” is used here, as so often in the Hebrew Scriptures, for the majesty, glory,

and dignity of the Godhead. Compare the oft-repeated words of the psalmist,

“Praise the Name of the Lord.” So Gesenius, in his Hebrew lexicon on the word

µve he explains the Name of the Lord as:


·        Jehovah as being called on and praised by men; and

·        the Deity as being present with mortals (compare Ephesians 1:21;

                        Hebrews 1:4).


10  “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” -  translate, in the

 name, not at (compare Isaiah 45:23, quoted in Romans 14:10-11). The words may

mean, either that all prayer must be offered to God in the name of Jesus, through His

mediation; or that all creation must offer prayer to Him. Both alternatives are true,

and perhaps both are covered by the words; but the second seems to be principally

intended (compare Psalm 63:4, “I will lift up my hands in thy Name.” Compare

common Septuagint phrase, jEpikalei~sqai ejn ojno>mati Kuri>ou –- call or calling

on the name of the Lord). Observe, the words are, not “the name Jesus,” but “the

name of Jesus;” the name, that is, which God freely gave to Him (v. 9), It is the

name which is  above every name, that is, the majesty, the glory of Jesus,

which is to be the object of Christian worship. The end of the whole passage being

the exaltation of Jesus, it seems more natural to understand this verse of worship

paid to Jesus than of worship offered through Him to God the Father. Observe

also that the words (Isaiah 45:23) on which this passage is formed are the words

of Jehovah: “Unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” They

could not be used without impiety of any but God – “of things in heaven, and

things in earth, and things under the earth.”  Perhaps the angels, the living,

and the dead; or, more probably (compare Revelation 5:13 and Ephesians 1:21-22),

all creation, animate and inanimate, is represented as uniting in the universal adoration.


11  “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” –

Every tongue; all creatures endowed with the gift of speech. The word rendered

“confess” - exomologh~shtai - is commonly associated with the idea of

thanksgiving, as in Matthew 11:25, and generally in the Septuagint.  Every tongue

shall confess with thankful adoration that He who took upon Him the form of a

slave, is Lord of all -  “to the glory of God the Father.” - (compare I Corinthians

15:28, “That God may be all in all”). The glory of God the Father, from whom,

as the original Source, the whole scheme of salvation proceeds, is the supreme

and ultimate object of the Savior’s incarnation.


                                    CHRIST’S REWARD (vs. 9-11) 


There is a relation between work and reward signified in our Lord’s own

announcement: “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11).


  • CHRIST’S EXALTATION   “Wherefore also God highly exalted

      Him” (v. 9).  This exaltation is associated with His resurrection, His

      ascension, and His sitting at God’s right hand. It was the reward of His

      obedience unto death, as the Surety-Head of His people. It was a part

      of His exaltation that God “gave unto him the Name which is above

      every name” — not Jesus, nor the Son of God — but rank and dignity,

      majesty and authority.  “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to

      receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor,

      and glory and blessing.”)  (see Revelation 5:11-14 – I recommend

      going to You Tube – Michael W. Smith – Agnus Dei [or any other

      artist or group singing the song – What will it be like to be in thy

      number of verse 11? and to think many will not get to participate

      Matthew 8:11-12 – In which number are you O Dear Reader? –

      I also recommend – How to be Saved - # 5 – this web site -  CY –



  • THE PURPOSE OF THE EXALTATION. “That in the name of Jesus

            every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and

             things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that

            Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Thus is declared

            the honor paid to Jesus.


ü      Worship. He is the Object of adoration to all intelligences in heaven,

      in earth, and under the earth. Christianity is the worship of Jesus Christ.


ü      Open confession of His lordship - a vocal confession — that utters

                        our mind plainly.  For this end Jesus Christ “died and revived, that

                        He might become Lord both of the living and of the dead” (Romans



  • THE END OF CHRIST’S EXALTATION. “To the glory of God the

       Father,”  whose Son He is; their honor and glory being inseparable.



12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence

only, but now much more in my absence,” -  Paul passes to exhortation grounded

on the Lord’s perfect example. “Ye obeyed” (uJphkou>sate - hupakousate)

answers to the geno>menov uJph>koovgenomenos hupekoosbecame obedient

of v. 8, and th<n eJautw~n swthri>an -– taen heauton  soteriayour own

salvation - corresponds  with the Savior’s exaltation described in vs. 9-11. He

encourages them by acknowledging their past obedience; he urges them to work,

not for the sake of approving themselves to their earthly teacher, but to think of their

unseen Lord, and to realize His presence all the more in Paul’s absence – “work

out your own salvation” - Complete it; God has begun the work; carry it out

unto the end. Compare the same word in Ephesians 6:13, “having done all.”

Christ’s work of atonement is finished: work from the cross: (John 19:30) –

carry out the great work of sanctification by the help of the Holy Spirit.

Your own: it is each man’s own work; no human friend, no pastor, not even

an apostle, can work it for him -  “with fear and trembling.”  (compare

II Corinthians 7:15 and Ephesians 6:5).  Have an eager, trembling anxiety

to obey God in all things, considering the tremendous sacrifice of Christ,

the unspeakable depth and tenderness of His love, the immense importance

of a present salvation from sin, the momentous preciousness of a future

salvation from death.  The work is so very momentous; it is no matter for

indifference or lukewarmness. There must sometimes be fear and trembling

 in our religious life. We must pass the time of our sojourning here in fear,

for we were “redeemed… with the precious blood of Christ.” (I Peter 1:17-18).

The greatness of the ransom shows the greatness of the danger. We must

pray for grace to serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear;

for true religion involves a deep, awful reverence for the majesty of God.

Reverence is an essential clement in true holiness. “Hallowed be thy Name”

is the first petition in the prayer which the Lord Himself hath taught us; and

with reverence must be mingled holy fear — the fear of undue familiarity

intruding itself into our solemn worship; the fear of displeasing God who

will judge us, who gave His blessed Son to die for us, by unfaithfulness in

our daily lives.


“Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9); Christ came into the world to save

sinners!  We depend upon Him, not on human teachers.


If  salvation is lost, all is lost. The word swthri>a – soteriasalvation

means simply safety — safety from anything that may harm us, from danger,

sickness, death. In Holy Scripture it means the safety of the soul,


  • from sin, which is the sickness of the soul;
  • from death the death of the soul, which is eternal death.


It is a precious word, for it points to unspeakable blessedness; an awful

word, for it suggests a fearful alternative. It reminds us of that condemnation,

that horror of eternal despair, which must be the portion of

the lost. That great danger threatens us; we need to be saved from it, and

therefore from sin.


13   “For it is God which worketh in you” - Worketh (ejnergw~n -– energon

[energy in English]); not the same word as “work out” (katerga>zesqe

katergazesthe) in v. 12; acts powerfully, with energy. In you; not merely among you,

but in the heart of each individual believer (John 14:23) - “both to will and

to do” - translate, with R.V., to work; the same word as before, ejnergei~n. The

grace of God is alleged as a motive for earnest Christian work. The doctrines of

grace and free-will are not contradictory:  they may seem so to our limited

understanding; but in truth they complete and supplement one another. Paul does

not attempt to solve the problem in theory; he bids us solve it in the life of faith

(compare I Corinthians 9:24 -“So run that ye may obtain;” and Romans 9:16,

“It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth

mercy) – “of His good pleasure (eujdoki>av –- eudokiasgood pleasure;

delight). As the glory of God is the ultimate end (v. 11), so the good will of God is

the first cause of our salvation: “God will have all men to be saved, and come

 to the knowledge of the truth.” (I  Timothy 2:4.).


God, who has begun a good work in you/us/me, we may be confident that

He will carry it through!


We must accept the gift of salvation  ourselves: no other man can do it for us.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior; He is the Alpha and the Omega, the

Beginning and the End. “By grace ye are saved,… and that not of yourselves;

it is the gift of God:  not of works, lest any man should boast..” (Ephesian 2:8-10).

Our salvation  is the work of God. But there are two sides to the same great

truth. It is His work, and yet it is ours. Both views of the one truth are

presented to us in Holy Scripture. Both are true; they meet somewhere above

our heads. Now we know in part (I Corinthians 13:12); our standpoint is not

high enough to command a connected view of all God’s dealings with men.

But we can see far enough to guide us on our way to heaven; we know

enough for the needs of the Christian life. We know that Christ is our only

Savior; He came into the world to save sinners; He died for all. But

Holy Scripture bids us to carry out the work of salvation in our own souls,

to complete it, working from the cross, in the faith of Christ. There is need

of persevering energy. Others may guide, comfort, exhort; but each man

must work out his own salvation for himself in the depths of his spirit, — it

cannot be done by deputy. We must work, for God bids us; we must work,

for we have an irresistible consciousness of power to choose the good and

to avoid the evil. But we must trust wholly in Christ. He is the Author and

Finisher of our faith  (Hebrews 12:2).  It is He that saves us, not we ourselves.


14  Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”  Obedience must

be willing and cheerful. The word rendered “murmurings” (goggusmw~n

gongusmon)  is that constantly used in the Septuagint of the murmurings of the

Israelites during their wanderings.  Dialogismw~n >- dialogismon [where we

get the English word – dialogue] - may mean, as here rendered, disputings,’’

or more probably, in accordance with the New Testament use of the word,

questionings, doubtings. Submission to God’s will must be inward as well as



Christ died for them/us/you/,me, God worketh within them/us/you/me.

They/us/you/me have the great gift of reconciliation with God through

the precious blood of Christ; they/us/you/me have the indwelling presence

of God the Holy Ghost. Therefore:


  • It is their/our/your/my  duty to be cheerful, to render to God a loving

service. A Christian who knows that the Son of God loved him and

gave himself for him, has no right to be gloomy and melancholy.

There must be no murmurings. The Christian life is a pilgrimage, like

the journey of the Israelites from the house of bondage to the

promised land, but we must not resemble the Israelites in their

constant murmurings against God. Do all things, each duty as it

comes, without murmuring. Have a steadfast faith in God as your

Father, “who maketh all things work together for good to them that

 love Him” (Romans 8:28); and in the trustful spirit of a loving faith

learn to say, “Thy will be done.” Neither should there be doubtings in

the Christian life.  The intellect, as well as the will, must submit itself.

Our knowledge is imperfect, our mental reach is limited; we can see

only a very little way into the mysteries of the Divine government;

we know in part. We must be content with that partial knowledge; we

must not venture to question the love, the goodness, the wisdom of God.

When harassing doubts arise, we must go, like Asaph the psalmist, into

the house of God; then we shall understand as much as we need to know

of God’s dealings with mankind  (Psalm 73:16-20).  These things are

hidden from the wise and prudent, but they are revealed unto babes.

(Matthew 11:25)


15  That ye may be blameless and harmless,” -  read, with the best

manuscripts, that ye may become; an exhortation to continued progress.

“Harmless;” rather, pure, simple; literally, unmixed – Cheerful obedience leads

 to growth in holiness. If they obey God in all things gladly and lovingly, they

will become blameless; others will find no ground of censure in them; their

own inner lives will be pure and sincere, without mixture of evil or selfish

motive. Simplicity of character is essential,  for God seeth the heart - “the

sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse

nation,” - rather, children, without the article. “The slave may murmur,”

says Chrysostom,“but what son will murmur, who, while working for his

father, works also for himself?” Thus they will be children of God

indeed, like those little children of whom is the kingdom of heaven; a

contrast to the crooked and perverse generation among whom they live.

Substitute “blameless” for “without rebuke,” and “generation” for “nation.”

There is a close resemblance bore, especially in the Greek, and an evident

reference to Deuteronomy 32:5. The Philippians are exhorted to exhibit in

 their lives a contrast to the behavior of the rebellious  Israelites – “among

whom ye shine as lights in the world;” -  not “shine,” but, as R.V., are

seen or appear. Lights; literally, luminaries.  The word is used in Genesis

1:14, 16 of the sun and moon.  They must set a good example. They are lights

in the world — others watch them; they attract by their lives the attention

of the surrounding Gentiles; they must hold out to others the Word of life.

They must exhibit its influence in their lives, in their conversation. They

must preach by word and by example, for Christianity is essentially a

missionary religion.


16  Holding forth the word of life;” -  Holding out to others - This clause

should be taken with the first clause of v. 15, “That ye may be blameless,”

etc., the words, “among whom,” etc., being parenthetical – “that I may

rejoice in the day of Christ;” - literally, for matter of boasting to me

against the day of Christ. He boasts or glories in their salvation. “The day of

Christ,” is a phrase peculiar to this Epistle, more commonly it is ‘ the day

of the Lord.’  that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.” –

translate, did not. The verbs are aorist. He looks back upon his finished

course (compare Galatians 2:2).


17   “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,” –

He again compares the advantages of life and death, as in Philippians 1:20-25.

In the last verse he was speaking of the possibility of looking back from the

day of Christ upon a life of prolonged labor. Here he supposes the other

alternative. The form of the sentence, the particles used (leitourgi>a –

leitourgia - ministry), and the indicative verb, all imply that the apostle

looked forward to a martyr’s death as the probable end of his life of warfare:

Yea, if I am even offered, as seems likely, and as I expect. Offered; the

word means “poured out” as a libation or drink offering. Paul regards his

blood shed in martyrdom as a libation poured forth in willing sacrifice. See

II Timothy 4:6, jEgw< ga<r h]dh spe>ndomai, “I am already being poured forth:

 the libation is commencing, the time of my departure is at hand.”  Some

think that the apostle, writing, as he does, to converted heathen, draws his

metaphor from heathen sacrifices: in those sacrifices the libation was a much

more important element than the drink offering in the Mosaic rites; and it was

poured upon the sacrifice, whereas the drink offering seems to have been

poured around the altar, not upon it.  On the other hand, the preposition ejpi< -

epion - is constantly used of the Jewish drink offering, and does not

necessarily mean upon, but only “in addition to,” or “at;” the drink offering

being an accompaniment to the sacrifice.  Service (leitourgi>a - leitourgia

ministry).  This important word denotes in classical Greek


  • certain costly public offices at Athens, discharged by the richer citizens

in rotation;


  • any service or function. In the Greek Scriptures it is used of priestly

ministrations (Hebrews 8:6; 9:21; compare  also Romans 15:16). In

ecclesiastical Greek it stands for the order of the Holy Communion,

the ancient liturgies; it is sometimes used loosely for any set form of

public prayer. The analogy of Romans 12:1, where Paul exhorts Christians

to present their bodies a living sacrifice, suggests that here the Philippians

are regarded as priests (compare I Peter 2:5), offering the sacrifice of

their faith, their hearts, themselves, in the ministrations of the spiritual

priesthood; St. Paul’s blood being represented as the accompanying drink

offering. Others, comparing Romans 15:16, where also sacrificial

words are used, regard Paul himself as the ministering priest, and

understand the metaphor of a priest slain at the altar, his blood being

shed while he is offering the sacrifice of their faith – “I joy, and rejoice

with you all.”


18   “For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.” - or,

as R.V., in the manner. Their joy is to be like his, to mingle with his joy.

The second clause may be rendered, as in v. 17, “and congratulate me.


19   “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you,” –

read and translate, with R.V., I hope in the Lord Jesus. He had urged them,

in v. 12, not to depend too much on human teachers; but“much more in

my absence work out your own salvation;” still he will give them what

help he can — he will send Timotheus. In the Lord Jesus (compare ch. 1:8,

14; and v. 24 here).  The Christian is a part of Christ, a member of His body.

His every thought and word and deed proceed from Christ, as the center of

volition.  Thus he loves in the Lord, he hopes in the Lord, he boasts in the

Lord, he labors in the Lord. He has one guiding principle in acting and

forbearing to act,only in the Lord’ (I Corinthians 7:39) – “that I also may

be of good comfort, when I know your state.” Timothy is both to assist

the Philippians by his presence and counsel, and to comfort Paul by

bringing back tidings of their Christian life.


20  For I have no man like-minded; literally, of equal soul -(compare

Deuteronomy 13:6, “Thy friend, which is as thine own soul”).  “Timothy

Is like  a second Paul: where he is, there you should think that I myself am

present.  The expression must, of course, be limited to those present at the

moment, and available for the mission: it cannot include Luke – “who will

naturally care for your state.”   (o[stiv - hostis - such as will care).

Naturally (gnhsi>wv - gnesiossincerely, honorably, truly:  Compare

I Timothy 1:2, where Paul calls Timothy “mine own soul in the faith,”

gnh>sion te>knongenesio teknogenuine offspring ); with a true,

genuine affection. Timothy’s love for Paul as his spiritual father will

inspire him with genuine love for those who were so dear to Paul. Care

is a strong word, merimnh>seimerimneseito care for, will be anxious

(compare Matthew 6:31).


21   “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”  

All of them, he says (oiJ pa>ntev oi pantesthe all); Timothy is the one

exception.  He calls those about him brethren in ch. 4:21; but, it seems,

they were like St. Paul, not willing to spend and to be spent for the

salvation of souls. It was a great sacrifice in one who so yearned for

Christian sympathy to submit to the absence of the one true loving friend.

Paul’s spiritual isolation increases our wonder and admiration for the

strain of holy joy which runs through this Epistle.


22  But ye know the proof of him,” -  Ye recognize from your

former experience (Acts 16.) his approved character – “that, as a son with

the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.” - translate, with R.V.,

that, as a child serveth a father, so he served with me in furtherance of the

gospel. Served -  ejdou>leusen edouleusenhe slaves ); as a slave. He was

both a son and servant to Paul, and also a fellow-worker with him, both being

slaves of God.


23  Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how

it will go with me.” Presently; rather, forthwith, as R.V. Dr.

Farrar translates, “As soon as I get a glimpse.” The oldest manuscripts here

read ajfi>dw–- aphido - (remarkable for the aspirate – the “ph” sound) instead

of ajpi>dw - apidoI may be seeing through..


24  But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly.” - Notice

the variations of tone respecting his prospects of release. “I know” (ch.1:25),

“I hope” (Philemon 1:22, in the Greek), “I trust” here. The apostle was

 subject, like all of us, to changing currents of thought, to the ebb and flow

of spirits; but his trust was always in the Lord. Behold, how Paul makes

all things depend upon God.” His hope, in all probability, was fulfilled

(see Titus 3:12).


25   “Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus,” -

translate, but I count it necessary. JHghsa>mhnhaygsamondeem,

judge, suppose, think - here and in v. 28 are epistolary aorists; they point,

that is, to the time of reading the letter, not to that of writing it; and are therefore

to be rendered by the English present.  Epaphroditus is mentioned only in this

Epistle. Epaphras is the contracted form, but the name is a common one, and

there is no evidence of his identity with the Epaphras of Colossians and Philemon.

He seems to have been the bearer of this Epistle. Paul felt that to come himself,

or even to send Timothy, might possibly not be in his power; he thought it

necessary, a matter of duty, to send Epaphroditus at once -  My brother, and

companion in labor, and fellow-soldier” -  Mark how the epithets rise one

above another; they imply fellowship in religion, in work, in endurance -

but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.”  “Your”

refers to both clauses; “your messenger, and (your) minister to my need.”

Epaphroditus had brought to Paul the contributions of the Philippians

(ch. 4:18). Some think that the word rendered “messenger”

(ajpo>stolovapostolos -  literally “apostle”) means that Epaphroditus was

the apostle, that is, the bishop of the Philippian Church. It may be so (compare

ch. 4:3, and note); but there is no proof of the establishment of any diocesan

bishops, except James at Jerusalem, at so early a period.  The word ajpo>stolov

both here and in II Corinthians 8:23 (ajpo>stoloi ejkklhsiw~napostoloi

ekklesionliterally “the out-called”), is probably used in its first meaning in the

sense of messenger, or delegate. The Greek word for minister, leitourgo>v

leitourgos - seems to imply, like leitourgi>a - leitourgiaservice - in v. 30,

that Paul regarded the alms of the Philippians as an offering to God, ministered by

Epaphroditus. (But see Romans 13:6).


26   “For he longed after you all,” -  The verb is strengthened by the

preposition: “was eagerly longing.” Perhaps it should be rendered. he “is

longing;” like “I count it necessary,” in v. 25 – “and was full of

heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.” “Full of

heaviness” (ajdhmonw~n ademoneotroubled, distressed, being

depressed) is the word used of our blessed Lord in His agony (Matthew 26:37).

(I have never thought of the word having to do with depression, because one

would think that Jesus Christ would be above that, but since He took upon Himself

our form, is it any wonder that He, too, could be depressed?  If there ever was a

situation where someone would be depressed, surely, Christ, in the Garden

of Gethsemane, bearing the sin burden of all the sins of the world, would fit

that category.  What was the result?  He was so depressed that He sweat “great

drops of blood”  [Luke 22:44].  I would not wish depression on anyone.  I

have been depressed twice in my life.  Thank the Lord that He delivered me both

times.  May we appreciate what our Lord has done for us spiritually, physically,

and emotionally! – CY – 2011).  Some derive the word  from a]dhmov ademos

to be away from home; homesickness;  (I have experienced that also but think of

those that have been far from home on a foreign shore, battling for their country

and their lives, and not knowing if they will ever see home again.  May we be

grateful to them and to our Heavenly Father.  For His mercy and their service –

CY – 2011).  Others, think it originates more probably, from a]dhnadeon

in the sense of loathing, weariness, satiety. The word implies heart-sickness,

restless; unsatisfied weariness, produced by some overwhelming distress.

Remember the words of Jesus, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and

are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and

learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest

unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30).


27 “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had

mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have

sorrow upon sorrow.”  Paul recognizes the thankfulness of Epaphroditus

for the recovery of his health: he shares that thankfulness himself. Mark his

human sympathies; he had a “desire to depart,” but he rejoices in the

recovery of his friend.  Paul does not seem to have healed Epaphroditus.

The power of working miracles, like that of foreseeing the future (compare

1:25, and note), was not, it seems, continuous; both were exercised only in

accordance with the revealed will of God and on occasions of especial



28  I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again,

ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful.”  - rather, I send him

(epistolary aorist, as v. 25), I send him with the letter.  Perhaps “again” is

better taken with the following clause; “that when ye see him, ye may again

 rejoice.” Note Paul’s ready sympathy with the Philippians: their restored joy

will involve a diminution of his sorrow. Mark also the implied admission that

sorrows must still remain, though spiritual joy brightens and relieves them.

“Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (II Corinthians 6:10).


29   “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such

in reputation:” -  In the Lord (see note on v . 19; compare Romans 16:2).

With joy on every account. Notice the constant repetition of the word

joy,” characteristic of this Epistle.


30  Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death,” - The

readings vary between “Christ” and “the Lord.” One ancient manuscript

reads simply, “for the work’s sake.” The work in this case consisted in

ministering to the wants of Paul. Translate the following words, with R.V.,

he came nigh unto death – “not regarding his life, rather, as R.V.,

hazarding his life, which translation represents the best-supported reading,

paraboleusa>menov parabouleusamenosnot regarding -  the verb

literally means “to lay down a stake, to gamble.” Hence the word Parabolani,

the name given to certain brotherhoods in the ancient Church who undertook

the hazardous work of tending the sick and burying the dead in times of pestilence.

(Once upon a time, it was in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, I remember

doing a study on the doctors or people who would help with the Bubonic

Plague in Europe.  No one understood its origin or how it spread but there

were people who would help the dying and in so doing would risk their

lives and that is where the word Parabolani originated.  I remember using

books and encyclopedias in the library at Hopkinsville High School and it

made an impression on me.  There were people who risked their lives to

help others – some European cities lost 90% of their population. CY – 2011)

The A.V. represents the reading parabouleusa>menov consulting amiss –

to supply your lack of service toward me.” -  rather, as R.V., that which

 was lacking in your service. The Philippians are not blamed. Epaphroditus did

that which their absence prevented them from doing. His illness was caused by

over-exertion in attending to the apostle’s wants, or, it may be, by the

hardships of the journey. Umw~nhumonyour - must be taken closely with

uJste>rhmahusteraemadeficiency, short-coming; to be behind, in

want; - the lack of your presence. Paul, with exquisite delicacy, represents the

absence of the Philippians as something lacking to his complete

satisfaction, something which he missed, and which Epaphroditus supplied






The name Epaphroditus means “lovely”.  It was not uncommon; it was

assumed by the dictator Sulla; it was the name of a freedman of Nero, the

master of the philosopher Epictetus. It is derived from the name of the

goddess jAfrodi>th -– Aphrodite -  like the corresponding Latin word

venustus from Venus. But the character of this Epaphroditus was evidently:


“Lovely” in the Christian sense. He seems to have been, like Jonathan,

lovely and pleasant in his life. Like Daniel, he was a “man of loves,” full of

love both towards  Paul and towards his friends at Philippi. He was a

man of very tender feelings, almost too tender, we might think. But:


  • He was as brave as he was tender. Paul calls him his brother and

companion in labor and fellow-soldier. He was not only a brother in

love, a fellow-Christian, but he shared the apostle’s labors; he threw

himself, heart and soul, into the work of spreading the gospel at Rome;

he worked hard, probably in an unhealthy season. He was also the

messenger of the Philippians; he readily undertook the long journey,

with all its perils and hardships, to minister to the apostle’s wants.

Doubtless he regarded those ministrations (as Paul himself regarded

them; see note on v . 25) as an offering offered gladly unto God.

He knew that in ministering to the apostle he was ministering unto God.

To relieve the necessities of the saints, to help them by alms, by

sympathy, is a sacrifice well-pleasing to God. He was a brother in

danger, too, a fellow-soldier. He hazarded his life; he shared the

apostle’s dangers; he willingly exposed himself to risk for the work’s

sake; his dangerous illness was in some way caused by his

unselfish exertions. Yet he was very tender-hearted. He longed after the

Philippians; he could not bear the thought of their sorrow and anxiety on

account of his sickness and danger. He is an example of that union of

seemingly opposite virtues which is sometimes conspicuous in Christ’s  

saints, as it was in Christ Himself.




  • Learn from the example of Epaphroditus that. to minister to God’s

saints is a high privilege; he risked his life to supply the needs of Paul.


  • His love for the apostle did not weaken his love for the Philippian

Christians. We must love all God’s people, not only His highest saints.


  • We may pray that our sick friends may recover their bodily health, if it

be God’s gracious will.




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