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.
THE NATURE AND CONDITIONS OF THIS LIKE-MINDEDNESS.
“That ye be like-minded, having the same love, with accordant souls
minding the one thing.” (v. 2)
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.
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.
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.
THE TRUE GROUNDS OF THIS LIKE-MINDEDNESS. “If there be
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.
“I will not leave you comfortless.” (John 14:18)
has a sure resting-place.
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
THE MINISTER’S JOY PROMOTED BY THE LIKE- MINDEDNESS OF HIS
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>v – tapeinos – low, 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.
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
ONLY ONE BODY IN CHRIST!
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>meqa – philotimeomai), 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.
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)
will find them there, if you are indeed living in fellowship with Christ.
humility and self-abasement; it is the secret of Christian joy and
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> - kai – also - implies that; but he must consider others if he
is a Christian indeed.
WARNING AGAINST FACTION AND VAIN-GLORY. “Let nothing be done
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.
to search their own glory is not glory” (Ibid. 25:27).
THE ESTIMATE OF A HUMBLE-MINDED MAN. “In humbleness
of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (v. 3) - This implies:
The reasons for this command are:
ü If we excel others in some things, they may excel us in others
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]
AN UNSELFISH INTEREST IN THE WELFARE OF OTHERS.
“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:
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
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 - heskatoi – each; 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
THE IMITATION OF the Lord JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONE RULE
OF CHRISTIAN PRACTICE.
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.
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).
THE DISCIPLE IS AS HIS MASTER, THE SERVANT AS HIS LORD. The life
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.
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).
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.
adoring love, upon the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Person.
6 “Who, being in the form of God,” - The word rendered “being”
(uJpa>rcwn – huparcho - 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 asarkos – Word made flesh; - was with God
(compare John 8:58; 17:5, 24). What does the word morfh> - morphe – form;
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~ma – schema - fashion; in
v. 8. In the Aristotelian philosophy (vide ‘ De Anima,’ 2:1, 2) morfh> is
used almost in the sense of ei+dov – eidos – appearance, 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 – harpagmon – prize – 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 –
hegaesato – thought; - 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]sa – isa – the 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
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>rcwn – huparchon – exist – who being;) in the form of God;
He took (labw>n – lambon – take;) 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).
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
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;
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).
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 –
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
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>koov – genomenos hupekoos – became obedient –
of v. 8, and th<n eJautw~n swthri>an -– taen heauton soteria – your 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 – soteria – salvation –
means simply safety — safety from anything that may harm us, from danger,
sickness, death. In Holy Scripture it means the safety of the soul,
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 –- eudokias – good 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:
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.
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
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< -
epi – on - 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
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
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 - gnesios – sincerely, honorably, truly: Compare
I Timothy 1:2, where Paul calls Timothy “mine own soul in the faith,”
gnh>sion te>knon – genesio tekno – genuine 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>sei – merimnesei – to 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 pantes – the all); Timothy is the one
exception. He calls those about him brethren in ch. 4:21; but, it seems,
they were like
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 – edouleusen – he 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
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 - apido – I 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>mhn – haygsamon – deem,
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>stolov – apostolos - literally “apostle”) means that Epaphroditus was
the apostle, that is, the bishop of the
ch. 4:3, and note); but there is no proof of the establishment of any diocesan
bishops, except James at
both here and in II Corinthians 8:23 (ajpo>stoloi ejkklhsiw~n – apostoloi
ekklesion – literally “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 - leitourgia – service - 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 – ademoneo – troubled, 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
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]dhn – adeon –
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.”
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 – parabouleusamenos – not 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
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
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~n – humon – your - must be taken closely with
uJste>rhma – husteraema – deficiency, 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
man of very tender feelings, almost too tender, we might think. But:
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
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.
saints is a high privilege; he risked his life to supply the needs of Paul.
Christians. We must love all God’s people, not only His highest saints.
be God’s gracious will.
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