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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - PHILIPPIANS 1
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    CHAPTER 1

    Php 1:1-30. INSCRIPTION. THANKSGIVING AND PRAYERS FOR THE FLOURISHING SPIRITUAL STATE OF THE PHILIPPIANS. HIS OWN STATE AT ROME, AND THE RESULT OF HIS IMPRISONMENT IN SPREADING THE GOSPEL. EXHORTATION TO CHRISTIAN CONSISTENCY.

    1. Timotheus--mentioned as being well known to the Philippians (Ac 16:3, 10-12), and now present with Paul. Not that Timothy had any share in writing the Epistle; for Paul presently uses the first person singular, "I," not "we" (Php 1:3). The mention of his name implies merely that Timothy joined in affectionate remembrances to them.
    - servants of Jesus Christ--The oldest manuscripts read the order, "Christ Jesus." Paul does not call himself "an apostle," as in the inscriptions of other Epistles; for the Philippians needed not to be reminded of his apostolic authority. He writes rather in a tone of affectionate familiarity.
    - all--so Php 1:4, 7, 8, 25; Php 2:17, 26. It implies comprehensive affection which desired not to forget any one among them "all."
    - bishops--synonymous with "presbyters" in the apostolical churches; as appears from the same persons being called "elders of the Church" at Ephesus (Ac 20:17), and "overseers" (Ac 20:28), Greek, "bishops." And Tit 1:5, compare with Php 1:7. This is the earliest letter of Paul where bishops and deacons are mentioned, and the only one where they are separately addressed in the salutation. This accords with the probable course of events, deduced alike from the letters and history. While the apostles were constantly visiting the churches in person or by messengers, regular pastors would be less needed; but when some were removed by various causes, provision for the permanent order of the churches would be needed. Hence the three pastoral letters, subsequent to this Epistle, give instruction as to the due appointment of bishops and deacons. It agrees with this new want of the Church, when other apostles were dead or far away, and Paul long in prison, that bishops and deacons should be prominent for the first time in the opening salutation. The Spirit thus intimated that the churches were to look up to their own pastors, now that the miraculous gifts were passing into God's ordinary providence, and the presence of the inspired apostles, the dispensers of those gifts, was to be withdrawn [PALEY, "Horæ Paulinæ]. "Presbyter," implied the rank; "bishop," the duties of the office [NEANDER]. Naturally, when the apostles who had the chief supervision were no more, one among the presbyters presided and received the name "bishop," in the more restricted and modern sense; just as in the Jewish synagogue one of the elders presided as "ruler of the synagogue." Observe, the apostle addresses the Church (that is, the congregation) more directly than its presiding ministers (Col 4:17; 1Th 5:12; Heb 13:24; Re 1:4, 11). The bishops managed more the internal, the deacons the external, affairs of the Church. The plural number shows there was more than one bishop or presbyter, and more than one deacon in the Church at Philippi.

    2. Grace . . . peace--The very form of this salutation implies the union of Jew, Greek, and Roman. The Greek salutation was "joy" (chairein), akin to the Greek for "grace" (charis). The Roman was "health," the intermediate term between grace and peace. The Hebrew was "peace," including both temporal and spiritual prosperity. Grace must come first if we are to have true peace.
    - from . . . from--Omit the second "from": as in the Greek, "God our Father" and "the Lord Jesus Christ," are most closely connected.

    3. Translate, "In all my remembrance of you."

    4. making request--Translate, "making my request."
    - for you all--The frequent repetition in this Epistle of "all" with "you," marks that Paul desires to declare his love for all alike, and will not recognize any divisions among them.
    - with joy--the characteristic feature in this Epistle, as love is in that to the Ephesians (compare Php 1:18; Php 2:2, 19, 28; 3:1; 4:1, 4). Love and joy are the two first-fruits of the Spirit. Joy gives especial animation to prayers. It marked his high opinion of them, that there was almost everything in them to give him joy, and almost nothing to give him pain.

    5. Ground of his "thanking God" (Php 1:3): "For your (continued) fellowship (that is, real spiritual participation) in (literally, 'in regard to') the Gospel from the first day (of your becoming partakers in it) until now." Believers have the fellowship of the Son of God (1Co 1:9) and of the Father (1Jo 1:3) in the Gospel, by becoming partakers of "the fellowship of the Holy Ghost" (2Co 13:14), and exercise that fellowship by acts of communion, not only the communion of the Lord's Supper, but holy liberality to brethren and ministers (Php 4:10, 15, "communicated . . . concerning giving"; 2Co 9:13; Ga 6:6; Heb 13:16, "To communicate forget not").

    6. confident--This confidence nerves prayers and thanksgivings (Php 1:3, 4).
    - this very thing--the very thing which he prays for (Php 1:4) is the matter of his believing confidence (Mr 11:24; 1Jo 5:14, 15). Hence the result is sure.
    - he which hath begun--God (Php 2:13).
    - a good work--Any work that God begins, He will surely finish (1Sa 3:12). Not even men begin a work at random. Much more the fact of His beginning the work is a pledge of its completion (Isa 26:12). So as to the particular work here meant, the perfecting of their fellowship in the Gospel (Php 1:5; Ps 37:24; 89:33; 138:8; Joh 10:28, 29; Ro 8:29, 35-39; 11:1, 2 Heb 6:17-19; Jas 1:17; Jude 24). As God cast not off Israel for ever, though chastening them for a time, so He will not cast off the spiritual Israel (De 33:3; Isa 27:3; 1Pe 1:5).
    - perform it until--"perfect it up to" [ALFORD, ELLICOTT, and others].
    - the day of . . . Christ-- (Php 1:10). The Lord's coming, designed by God in every age of the Church to be regarded as near, is to be the goal set before believers' minds rather than their own death.

    7. meet--Greek, "just."
    - to think this--to have the prayerful confidence I expressed (Php 1:4-6).
    - of you--literally, "in behalf of you." Paul's confident prayer in their behalf was that God would perfect His own good work of grace in them.
    - because, &c.--Punctuate and translate, "Because I have you in my heart (so Php 1:8; otherwise the Greek and the words immediately following in the verse, favor the Margin, 'Ye have me in your heart . . . being partakers of my grace') (both, in my bonds, and in my defense and confirmation of the Gospel), you (I say) all being fellow partakers of my grace." This last clause thus assigns the reason why he has them in his heart (that is, cherished in his love, 2Co 3:2; 7:3), even in his bonds, and in his defense and confirmation of the Gospel (such as he was constantly making in private, Ac 28:17-23; his self-defense and confirmation of the Gospel being necessarily conjoined, as the Greek implies; compare Php 1:17), namely, "inasmuch as ye are fellow partakers of my grace": inasmuch as ye share with me in "the fellowship of the Gospel" (Php 1:5), and have manifested this, both by suffering as I do for the Gospel's sake (Php 1:28-30), and by imparting to me of your substance (Php 4:15). It is natural and right for me thus confidently to pray in your behalf. (ELLICOTT, and others translate, "To be thus minded for you all"), because of my having you in my warmest remembrances even in my bonds, since you are sharers with me in the Gospel grace. Bonds do not bind love.

    8. Confirmation of Php 1:7.
    - record--that is, witness.
    - in the bowels of Jesus Christ--"Christ Jesus" is the order in the oldest manuscripts. My yearning love (so the Greek implies) to you is not merely from natural affection, but from devotedness to Christ Jesus. "Not Paul, but Jesus Christ lives in Paul; wherefore Paul is not moved in the bowels (that is, the tender love, Jer 31:20) of Paul, but of Jesus Christ" [BENGEL]. All real spiritual love is but a portion of Christ's love which yearns in all who are united to Him [ALFORD].

    9. The subject of his prayer for them (Php 1:4).
    - your love--to Christ, producing love not only to Paul, Christ's minister, as it did, but also to one another, which it did not altogether as much as it ought (Php 2:2; 4:2).
    - knowledge--of doctrinal and practical truth.
    - judgment--rather, "perception"; "perceptive sense." Spiritual perceptiveness: spiritual sight, spiritual hearing, spiritual feeling, spiritual taste. Christianity is a vigorous plant, not the hotbed growth of enthusiasm. "Knowledge" and "perception" guard love from being ill-judged.

    10. Literally, "With a view to your proving (and so approving and embracing) the things that excel" (Ro 2:18); not merely things not bad, but the things best among those that are good; the things of more advanced excellence. Ask as to things, not merely, Is there no harm, but is there any good, and which is the best?
    - sincere--from a Greek root. Examined in the sunlight and found pure.
    - without offence--not stumbling; running the Christian race without falling through any stumbling-block, that is, temptation, in your way.
    - till--rather, "unto," "against"; so that when the day of Christ comes, ye may be found pure and without offense.

    11. The oldest manuscripts read the singular, "fruit." So Ga 5:22 (see on Ga 5:22); regarding the works of righteousness, however manifold, as one harmonious whole, "the fruit of the Spirit" (Eph 5:9) Jas 3:18, "the fruit of righteousness" (Heb 12:11); Ro 6:22, "fruit unto holiness."
    - which are--"which is by (Greek, 'through') Jesus Christ." Through His sending to us the Spirit from the Father. "We are wild and useless olive trees till we are grafted into Christ, who, by His living root, makes us fruit-bearing branches" [CALVIN].

    12. understand--Greek, "know." The Philippians probably had feared that his imprisonment would hinder the spread of the Gospel; he therefore removes this fear.
    - the things which happened unto me--Greek, "the things concerning me."
    - rather--so far is my imprisonment from hindering the Gospel. Faith takes in a favorable light even what seems adverse [BENGEL] (Php 1:19, 28; Php 2:17).

    13. my bonds in Christ--rather as Greek, "So that my bonds have become manifest in Christ," that is, known, as endured in Christ's cause.
    - palace--literally, "Prætorium," that is, the barrack of the Prætorian guards attached to the palace of Nero, on the Palatine hill at Rome; not the general Prætorian camp outside of the city; for this was not connected with "Cæsar's household," which Php 4:22 shows the Prætorium here meant was. The emperor was "Prætor," or Commander-in-Chief; naturally then the barrack of his bodyguard was called the Prætorium. Paul seems now not to have been at large in his own hired house, though chained to

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