Verse 23. "The grace of our Lord" - The usual apostolical benediction, which has often occurred, and been more than once explained. See on Rom. i. 7, and Gal. vi. 18. The word hmwn, our, is omitted by many MSS. and several versions, which simply read, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Be with you all." - Instead of pantwn, all, pneumatov, Spirit, is the reading of ADEFG, several others, with the Coptic, Sahidic, AEthiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala; besides several of the Fathers.
There are various subscriptions to this epistle in the different MSS. and versions. In the common GREEK text it stands thus: It was written to the Philippians from Rome by Epaphroditus. The Epistle to the Philippians was written from Rome, and sent by Epaphroditus. - SYRIAC. To the Philippians. - AETHIOPIC. The end of the Epistle; it was written at Rome, and sent by Epaphroditus. - ARABIC. To the Philippians by Timothy and Epaphroditus. - COPTIC.
1. THE MSS. generally agree with the versions, and all unite in stating that this epistle was written and sent from Rome, so that the common subscription may well stand. Yet there have been some strong objections made against this, as far as the place is concerned. Some foreign critics have maintained, that were it to be granted that the apostle was now a prisoner for the testimony of Christ, yet it does not follow that he was a prisoner at Rome, for he himself tells us, 2 Cor. xi. 23, that he was in prisons more abundant; and, consequently, he might be in prison somewhere else: but they have gone farther, and denied that this epistle was written while Paul was a prisoner; affirming that he had been already liberated, and that of this there are several evidences in the epistle itself. J.
Christopher Wolf, in his Curae, has considered all these objections in detail, and appears to have answered them in a very satisfactory manner.
That St. Paul was now in prison, these words seem clearly to prove, Phil. i. xvi. - The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. This strongly argues that he was then suffering imprisonment, and that certain persons of perverse minds preached the Gospel in such a way as was calculated to make his bonds still more grievous. And, as he sends the salutations of saints which were of Caesar's household, it seems most evident that he was then at Rome; as, had he been a prisoner in any of the provinces, it is not likely that he would send to Philippi the greetings of those who lived at Rome.
2. The cause of this imprisonment has been variously understood.
Theodourus Metochita says it was in consequence of his having converted Nero's baker, and one of his concubines; at which the emperor, being enraged, ordered him to be cast into prison: but the authority on which this rests is scarcely sufficient to render it credible.
3. Paul is generally allowed to have been twice imprisoned at Rome: this was, without doubt, the first time of his being there in bonds, as there is every appearance that he was delivered after this; but his second imprisonment issued in his martyrdom. Every apostle of God is immortal till his work is done. Paul became a martyr when God saw that there was no farther need either for his preaching or his writing; he had kept and defended the faith, and had finished his course; God took him then from the evil to come; and crowned him with the glory which his Redeemer had provided for him, in reference to which he lived, and after which he had continually aspired.
4. Reader, be thankful to God, who, in pity to thy weakness, has called thee to believe and enjoy, and not to suffer for his sake. It is not for us to covet seasons of martyrdom; we find it difficult to be faithful even in ordinary trials: yet, as offenses may come, and times of sore trial and proof may occur, we should be prepared for them; and we should know that nothing less than Christ in us, the hope of glory, will enable us to stand in the cloudy and dark day. Let us, therefore, put on the whole armour of God; and, fighting under the Captain of our salvation, expect the speedy destruction of every inward foe; and triumph in the assurance that death, the last enemy, will, in his destructions, shortly be brought to a perpetual end. Hallelujah! The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Amen and Amen! Finished correction for the press, Dec. 16th, 1831. - A. C.