Philippians i.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. With the bishops and deacons.[1] By bishops many understand those who were only priests; for the name of priests, at that time, was common to those who were by their ordination priests or bishops, though the order as well as the functions were different. St. Chrysostom also takes notice, that the name of deacon then signified any minister of Christ. St. Paul also might mean the bishops, or priests and deacons, not only of Philippi, but also of the adjacent places. (Witham)

Ver. 5. For your fellowship. This word is divers times used by St. Paul for a contribution of charitable alms, which it may also signify in this place; though others expound it of their being made partakers of the graces of Christ, by the gospel. (Witham)

Ver. 7. In the defence, &c. being then a prisoner, waiting for his trial; and the defence he could make for himself, and the sentence of the judge. (Witham)

Ver. 9. That your charity, &c. It is worthy of remark, that St. Paul does not beg that the Philippians may enjoy temporal blessings, but that they may be rewarded with an increase of spiritual favours; (Calmet) and as he remarks in the succeeding verses, that they may be filled with the fruits of justice.

Ver. 12. Now I desire, &c. From hence it appears, that what was intended as the greatest hindrance to the propagation of the Christian religion, eventually proved the most direct method of extending it. St. Paul was not less zealous in prison, and in chains, than when he laboured under no obstacles to his designs: how much the reverse is the conduct of our late reformers!

Ver. 13. In all the court,[2] or in the whole palace of the emperor, and to all others, or in all other places at and near Rome. (Witham)

Ver. 14. And many of, &c. encouraged by the intrepidity and perseverance of the apostle. (Calmet) — Knowing that sufferings undergone for the cause of Jesus Christ were most honourable, and the portion truly enviable of all the saints, as by sufferings they were known to be his disciples, and by sufferings they were to purchase that eternal weight of glory prepared for all that suffer patiently and joyfully for God’s sake.

Ver. 15. Some…out of envy and contention publish and preach Christ, thinking perhaps that this would displease me, or exasperate my persecutors against me; but whatever their motive be, if they preach the true doctrine of Christ, I rejoice. (Witham)

Ver. 19. I know that this shall turn to my salvation, &c. It may either signify to his spiritual good and the salvation of his soul, or to his safety and deliverance out of prison: if this was his first imprisonment. (Witham)

Ver. 20. Whether it be by life, or by death. To live longer, if God pleaseth, or to suffer death at this time, he shews himself resigned to either. (Witham)

Ver. 21. To live is Christ. If it be his will that I live, my life shall be spent in his service. — To die, and suffer martyrdom, will be my gain, by coming to the enjoyment of Christ sooner. (Witham)

Ver. 22. This is to me, &c. His meaning is, that although his dying immediately for Christ, would be his gain, by putting him presently in possession of heaven; yet he is doubtful what he should choose, because by staying longer in the flesh, he should be more beneficial to the souls of his neighbours. (Challoner) — What I shall choose I know not: though my earnest desire is to be dissolved from this mortal body, and to be with Christ, as my greater happiness, yet if it be the will of God that I labour longer, as necessary for your good, and that I again come to you, let God dispose of me according to his holy will. (Witham)

Ver. 25-26. And having this confidence. In effect St. Paul escaped this first danger, for after having remained two years at Rome, he was taken from his confinement. (Calmet) — I know (or am persuaded, as in the Greek) that I shall remain….by my coming to you again. This is one argument that this epistle was written during his first imprisonment at Rome: yet this is not agreed upon by the interpreters, and especially whether he ever returned again to Philippi. (Witham)

Ver. 27, &c. Whether when I come, and see you, &c. This implies a doubt of his seeing them again. At least endeavour you to lead a life worthy of the gospel, according to the principles of your faith; and be not terrified by your adversaries and persecutors: God permits this for your salvation, though an occasion of perdition to your persecutors: you having the like to combat as you have seen in me, when whipped at Philippi. See Acts xvi. (Witham)

Ver. 28. The adversaries. Either by the persecutions of the Jews and Gentiles, or by the doctrine of false brethren.


[1] Ver. 1. Cum episcopis et diaconis, sun episkopois kai diakonois. St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom, &c. take notice, that though the office of bishop and priest was different, yet both these different orders were sometimes expressed by the word bishop, episkopos; sometimes by the word priest, presbuteros. St. Jerome, tom. 4. in Titum. p. 413.: Quia eosdem episcopos illo tempore, quos et presbyteros appellabant, propterea indifferenter de episcopis quasi de presbyteris est locutus. See again, tom. 4, part 2, Epist. ad Oceanum, p. 648. and Ep. ad Evangelium, p. 802. St. Chrysostom on this place: Tunc nomina erant communia; atque etiam ipse episcopus vocabatur diaconus. (tom. 4. log. a. p. 5. Ed. Savil.) Tous presbuterous outos ekal[]. Tote gar ekoinonoun tois onomasi, kai diakonos o episkopos elegeto.

[2] Ver. 13. In omni PrÄ™torio, en olo to praitorio.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The apostle’s affection for the Philippians.

1 Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ: to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.

2 Grace be unto you, and peace from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 I give thanks to my God, in every remembrance of you,

4 Always in all my prayers making supplication for you all with joy,

5 For your fellowship in the gospel of Christ, from the first day until now.

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus.

7 As it is meet for me to think this for you all: because I have you in my heart: and that in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my joy.

8 For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

9 And this I pray, that your charity may more and more abound in knowledge, and in all understanding.

10 That you may approve the better things, that you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ,

11 Being filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

12 Now, I desire, brethren, you should know, that the things which have happened to me, have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel:

13 So that my bonds are made manifest, in Christ, in all the court, and in all other places:

14 And many of the brethren in the Lord taking courage by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear.

15 Some, indeed, even out of envy and contention: but some also for good-will preach Christ:

16 Some out of charity, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

17 And some out of contention preach Christ not sincerely, imagining that they raise affliction to my bonds.

18 But what then? So that every way, whether by occasion, or by truth, Christ be preached: in this also I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

20 According to my expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be confounded: but with all confidence, as always, so now also shall Christ be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death.

21 For to me, to live is Christ; and to die is gain.

22 And if to live in the flesh, that is to me the fruit of labour, and what I shall choose I know not.

23 But I am straitened between two; having a desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, being by much the better:

24 But to remain in the flesh is necessary for your sake.

25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith:

26 That your rejoicing may abound in Christ Jesus, for me, by my coming to you again.

27 *Only let your conversation be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that whether when I come and see you, or being absent, hear of you, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind labouring together for the faith of the gospel:

28 And in nothing be ye terrified by adversaries: which to them is a cause of perdition, but to you of salvation, and this from God.

29 For to you it is given for Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him:

30 Having the same conflict as that which you have seen in me, and now have heard of me.



27: Ephesians iv. 1.; Colossians i. 10.; 1 Thessalonians ii. 12.