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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - PHILIPPIANS 3

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    3:1 {Finally} (to loipon). Accusative of general reference, literally, "as for the rest." So again in #4:8. It (or just loipon) is a common phrase towards the close of Paul's Epistles (#2Th 3:1; 2Co 13:11). In #Eph 6:10 we have tou loipou (genitive case). But Paul uses the idiom elsewhere also as in #1Co 7:29; 1Th 4:1 before the close of the letter is in sight. It is wholly needless to understand Paul as about to finish and qen suddenly changing his mind like some preachers who announce the end a half dozen times. {To write the same things} (ta auta graphein). Present active articular infinitive, "the going on writing the same things." What things? He has just used chairete (go on rejoicing) again and he will repeat it in #4:4. But in verse #2 he uses blepete three times. At any rate Paul, as a true teacher, is not afraid of repetition. {Irksome} (oknˆron). Old adjective from okne", to delay, to hesitate. It is not tiresome to me to repeat what is "safe" (asfales) for you. Old adjective from a privative and sfallw, to totter, to reel. See #Ac 21:34.

    3:2 {Beware} (blepete). Three times for urgency and with different epithet for the Judaizers each time. {The dogs} (tous kunas). The Jews so termed the Gentiles which Jesus uses in a playful mood (kunariois, little dogs) to the Syro-Phoenician woman (#Mt 15:26). Paul here turns the phrase on the Judaizers themselves. {The evil workers} (tous kakous ergatas). He had already called the Judaizers "deceitful workers" (ergatai dolioi) in #2Co 11:13. {The concision} (tˆn katatomˆn). Late word for incision, mutilation (in contrast with peritomˆ, circumcision). In Symmachus and an inscription. The verb katatemn" is used in the LXX only of mutilations (#Le 21:5; 1Ki 18:28).

    3:3 {For we} (hemeis gar). We believers in Christ, the children of Abraham by faith, whether Jew or Gentile, the spiritual circumcision in contrast to the merely physical (#Ro 2:25-29; Col 2:11; Eph 2:11). See #Ga 5:12 for apotemnein (to cut off) in sense of mutilation also. {By the Spirit of God} (pneumati qeou). Instrumental case, though the dative case as the object of latreuw makes good sense also (worshipping the Spirit of God) or even the locative (worshipping in the Spirit of God). {No} (ouk). Actual condition rather than me with the participle. {In the flesh} (en sarki). Technical term in Paul's controversy with the Judaizers (#2Co 11:18; Gal 6:13f.). External privileges beyond mere flesh.

    3:4 {Might have} (ecwn). Rather, "even though myself having." {Confidence} (pepoithˆsin). Late word, condemned by the Atticists, from pepoiqa (just used). See #2Co 1:15; 3:4.

    3:5 {Thinketh to have confidence} (dokei pepoithenai). Second perfect active infinitive. Old idiom, "seems to himself to have confidence." Later idiom like #Mt 3:9 "think not to say" and #1Co 11:16, "thinks that he has ground of confidence in himself." {I yet more} (eg" mallon). "I have more ground for boasting than he" and Paul proceeds to prove it in the rest of verses #5,6. {Circumcised the eighth day} (peritomˆi oktaˆmeros). "In circumcision (locative case) an eighth day man." Use of the ordinal with persons like tetartaios (#Joh 11:39). Ishmaelites were circumcised in the thirteenth year, convert from Gentiles in mature age, Jews on the eighth day (#Lu 2:21). {Of the stock of Israel} (ek genous Israˆl). Of the original stock, not a proselyte. {Benjamin} (Beniamin). Son of the right hand (that is, left-handed), son of Rachel. The first King, Saul (Paul's own Hebrew name) was from this little tribe. The battle cry of Israel was "After thee, O Benjamin" (#Jud 5:14). {A Hebrew of the Hebrews} (Ebraios ex Ebrai"n). Of Hebrew parents who retained the characteristic qualities in language and custom as distinct from the Hellenistic Jews (#Ac 6:1). Paul was from Tarsus and knew Greek as well as Aramaic (#Ac 21:40; 22:2) and Hebrew, but he had not become Hellenized. {A Pharisee} (Pharisaios). In distinction from the Sadducees (#Ga 1:14) and he continued a Pharisee in many essential matters like the doctrine of the resurrection (#Ac 23:6). Cf. #2Co 11:22.

    3:6 {As touching zeal} (kata zelos). So the old MSS. treating zelos as neuter, not masculine. He was a zealot against Christianity, "persecuting the church" (di"k"n tˆn ekklesian). He was the ringleader in the persecution from the death of Stephen till his own conversion (#Ac 8:1-9:9). {Found blameless} (genomenos amemptos). "Having become blameless" (#Ga 1:14). He knew and practised all the rules of the rabbis. A marvellous record, scoring a hundred in Judaism.

    3:7 {Were gain to me} (en moi kerdˆ). "Were gains (plural, see on ¯1:21) to me (ethical dative)." Paul had natural pride in his Jewish attainments. He was the star of hope for Gamaliel and the Sanhedrin. {Have I counted} (hegemai). Perfect middle indicative, state of completion and still true. {Loss} (zemian). Old word for damage, loss. In N.T. only in Phil. and #Ac 27:10,21. Debit side of the ledger, not credit.

    3:8 {Yea, verily, and} (alla men oun ge kai). Five particles before Paul proceeds (yea, indeed, therefore, at least, even), showing the force and passion of his conviction. He repeats his affirmation with the present middle indicative (hˆgoumai), "I still count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge (to huperechon, the surpassingness, neuter articular participle of huperecw, #Php 2:3) of Christ Jesus my Lord." {Dung} (skubala). Late word of uncertain etymology, either connected with sk"r (dung) or from es kunas ballw, to fling to the dogs and so refuse of any kind. It occurs in the papyri. Here only in the N.T. {That I may gain Christ} (hina criston kerdesw). First aorist active subjunctive of kerdaw, Ionic form for kerdainw with hina in purpose clause. Paul was never satisfied with his knowledge of Christ and always craved more fellowship with him.

    3:9 {Be found in him} (heureth" en autwi). First aorist (effective) passive subjunctive with hina of heuriskw. At death (#2Co 5:3) or when Christ comes. Cf. #2:8; Ga 2:17. {Through faith in Christ} (dia pistews cristou). The objective genitive cristou, not subjective, as in #Ga 2:16,20; Ro 3:22. Explained further by epi tˆi pistei (on the basis of faith) as in #Ac 3:16.

    3:10 {That I may know him} (tou gnwnai auton). Genitive of the articular second aorist (ingressive) active infinitive (purpose) of ginwskw, to have personal acquaintance or experience with. this is Paul's major passion, to get more knowledge of Christ by experience. {The power of his resurrection} (tˆn dunamin tˆs anastase"s autou). Power (Lightfoot) in the sense of assurance to believers in immortality (#1Co 15:14f.; Ro 8:11), in the triumph over sin (#Ro 4:24f.), in the dignity of the body (#1Co 6:13ff.; Php 3:21), in stimulating the moral and spiritual life (#Ga 2:20; Ro 6:4f.; Col 2:12; Eph 2:5). See Westcott's _The Gospel of the Resurrection_, ii, 31. {The fellowship of his sufferings} (tˆn koin"nian t"n paqematwn autou). Partnership in (objective genitive) his sufferings, an honor prized by Paul (#Co 1:24). {Becoming conformed to his death} (summorphizomenos t"i qanatwi autou). Present passive participle of summorphiz", late verb from summorphos, found only here and ecclesiastical writers quoting it. The Latin Vulgate uses _configuro_. See #Ro 6:4 for sumphutoi in like sense and #2Co 4:10. "The agony of Gethsemane, not less than the agony of Calvary, will be reproduced however faintly in the faithful servant of Christ" (Lightfoot). "In this passage we have the deepest secrets of the Apostle's Christian experience unveiled" (Kennedy).

    3:11 {If by any means I may attain} (ei p"s katantˆs"). Not an expression of doubt, but of humility (Vincent), a modest hope (Lightfoot). For ei p"s, see #Ro 1:10; 11:14 where parazˆl"s" can be either future indicative or aorist subjunctive like katantˆs" here (see subjunctive katalab" in verse #12), late compound verb katantaw. {Resurrection} (exanastasin). Late word, not in LXX, but in Polybius and one papyrus example. Apparently Paul is thinking here only of the resurrection of believers out from the dead and so double ex (ten exanastasin tˆn ek nekr"n). Paul is not denying a general resurrection by this language, but emphasizing that of believers.

    3:12 {Not that} (ouc hoti). To guard against a misunderstanding as in #Joh 6:26; 12:6; 2Co 1:24; Php 4:11,17. {I have already obtained} (ˆdˆ elabon). Rather, "I did already obtain," constative second aorist active indicative of lambanw, summing up all his previous experiences as a single event. {Or am already made perfect} (ˆ ˆdˆ tetelei"mai). Perfect passive indicative (state of completion) of teleiow, old verb from teleios and that from telos (end). Paul pointedly denies that he has reached a spiritual impasse of non- development. Certainly he knew nothing of so-called sudden absolute perfection by any single experience. Paul has made great progress in Christlikeness, but the goal is still before him, not behind him. {But I press on} (diwkw de). He is not discouraged, but encouraged. He keeps up the chase (real idea in diwkw, as in #1Co 14:1; Ro 9:30; 1Ti 6:11). {If so be that} (ei kai). "I follow after." The condition (third class, ei--katalab", second aorist active subjunctive of katalambanw) is really a sort of purpose clause or aim. There are plenty of examples in the _Koin‚_ of the use of ei and the subjunctive as here (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1017), "if I also may lay hold of that for which (eph' h"i, purpose expressed by epi) I was laid hold of (katelˆmphthˆn, first aorist passive of the same verb katalambanw) by Christ Jesus." His conversion was the beginning, not the end of the chase.

    3:13 {Not yet} (oupw). But some MSS. read ou (not). {To have apprehended} (kateilˆphenai). Perfect active infinitive of same verb katalambanw (perfective use of kata, to grasp completely). Surely denial enough. {But one thing} (hen de). No verb in the Greek. We can supply poi" (I do) or diwkw (I keep on in the chase), but no verb is really needed. "When all is said, the greatest art is to limit and isolate oneself" (Goethe), concentration. {Forgetting the things which are behind} (ta men opisw epilanthanomenos). Common verb, usually with the genitive, but the accusative in the _Koin‚_ is greatly revived with verbs. Paul can mean either his old pre-Christian life, his previous progress as a Christian, or both (all of it). {Stretching forward} (epekteinomenos). Present direct middle participle of the old double compound epektein" (stretching myself out towards). Metaphor of a runner leaning forward as he runs.

    3:14 {Toward the goal} (kata skopon). "Down upon the goal," who is Jesus himself to whom we must continually look as we run (#Heb 12:2). The word means a watchman, qen the goal or mark. Only here in N.T. {Unto the prize} (eis to brabeion). Late word (Menander and inscriptions) from brabeus (umpire who awards the prize). In N.T. only here and #1Co 9:24. {Of the high calling} (tˆs an" klesews). Literally, "of the upward calling." The goal continually moves forward as we press on, but yet never out of sight.

    3:15 {As many as be perfect} (hosoi teleioi). Here the term teleioi means relative perfection, not the absolute perfection so pointedly denied in verse #12. Paul here includes himself in the group of spiritual adults (see #He 5:13). {Let us be thus minded} (touto phron"men). Present active volitive subjunctive of fronew. "Let us keep on thinking this ," viz. that we have not yet attained absolute perfection. {If ye are otherwise minded} (ei ti heter"s phroneite). Condition of first class, assumed as true. That is, if ye think that ye are absolutely perfect. {Shall God reveal unto you} (ho qeos humin apokalupsei). He turns such cases over to God. What else can he do with them? {Whereunto we have already come} (eis ho ephthasamen). First aorist active indicative of fqanw, originally to come before as in #1Th 4:15, but usually in the _Koin‚_ simply to arrive, attain to, as here.

    3:16 {By that same rule let us walk} (t"i autwi stoichein) Aleph A B do not have kanoni (rule). Besides stoichein is the absolute present active infinitive which sometimes occurs instead of the principal verb as in #Ro 12:15. Paul means simply this that, having come thus far, the thing to do is to go "in the same path" (t"i autwi) in which we have been travelling so far. A needed lesson for Christians weary with the monotony of routine in religious life and work.

    3:17 {Imitators together of me} (sunmimˆtai mou). Found only here so far, though Plato uses summimeisthai. "Vie with each other in imitating me" (Lightfoot). {Mark} (skopeite). Old verb from skopos (verse #14). "Keep your eyes on me as goal." Mark and follow, not avoid as in #Ro 16:17. {An ensample} (tupon). Originally the impression left by a stroke (#Joh 20:25), qen a pattern (mould) as here (cf. #1Th 1:7; 1Co 10:6,11; Ro 5:14; 6:17).

    3:18 {I told you often} (pollakis elegon). Imperfect active, repetition in Paul s warnings to them. {Even weeping} (kai klai"n). Deep emotion as he dictated the letter and recalled these recreant followers of Christ (cf. #2Co 2:4). {The enemies of the cross of Christ} (tous echthrous tou staurou tou cristou). Either the Judaizers who denied the value of the cross of Christ (#Ga 5:11; 6:12,14) or Epicurean antinomians whose loose living gave the lie to the cross of Christ (#1Jo 2:4).

    3:19 {Whose god is the belly} (hou to qeoskoilia). The comic poet Eupolis uses the rare word Koiliodaim"n for one who makes a god of his belly and Seneca speaks of one who _abdomini servit_. Sensuality in food, drink, sex qen as now mastered some men. These men posed as Christians and gloried in their shame. {Who mind earthly things} (hoi ta epigeia phronountes). Anacoluthon. The nominative does not refer to polloi at the beginning, but with the accusative tous echthrous in between. See #Mr 12:40.

    3:20 {Our citizenship} (hemwn to politeuma). Old word from piliteu" (#Php 1:27), but only here in N.T. The inscriptions use it either for citizenship or for commonwealth. Paul was proud of his Roman citizenship and found it a protection. The Philippians were also proud of their Roman citizenship. But Christians are citizens of a kingdom not of this world (#Joh 18:36). Milligan (_Vocabulary_) doubts if commentators are entitled to translate it here: "We are a colony of heaven," because such a translation reverses the relation between the colony and the mother city. But certainly here Paul's heart is in heaven. {We wait for} (apekdecomeqa). Rare and late double compound (perfective use of prepositions like wait out) which vividly pictures Paul's eagerness for the second coming of Christ as the normal attitude of the Christian colonist whose home is heaven.

    3:21 {Shall fashion anew} (metaschˆmatisei). Future active indicative of metascematizw for which see #1Co 4:6; 2Co 11:13ff. {Conformed to} (summorphon). For which (sun, morfe) see #Ro 8:29, only N.T. examples. With associative instrumental case. The body of our state of humiliation will be made suitable to associate with the body of Christ's glory (#1Co 15:54f.). {According to the working} (kata tˆn energeian). "According to the energy." If any one doubts the power of Christ to do this transformation, Paul replies that he has power "even to subject all things unto himself."

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