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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chapter 4

4:1 Longed for [epipothētoi]. Late and rare verbal adjective (here alone in N.T.) from [epipotheō]. So stand fast [houto stēkete]. Present active imperative of [stēkō] (late present from perfect [hestēka] from [histēmi]. See 1:27. They were tempted to defection. Standing firm is difficult when a panic starts.
4:2 Euodia [Euodian]. This name means literally “prosperous journey” [eu, hodos]. It occurs in the inscriptions. Syntyche [Suntuchēn]. From [suntugchanō], to meet with and so “pleasant acquaintance” or “good-luck.” Occurs in the inscriptions and identified with Lydia by some. Klopper suggests that each of these rival women had church assemblies in their homes, one a Jewish-Christian church, the other a Gentile-Christian church. Vincent doubts the great influence of women in Macedonia held by Lightfoot who also suggests that these two were ladies of rank or perhaps deaconesses of the church in Philippi. Schinz suggests that in such a pure church even slight bickerings would make a real disturbance. “It may have been accidental friction between two energetic Christian women” (Kennedy).
4:3 True yokefellow [gnēsie sunzuge]. All sorts of suggestions have been made here, one that it was Lydia who is termed Paul’s wife by the word [sunzuge]. Unfortunately for that view [gnēsie] is masculine vocative singular. Some have suggested it as a proper name though it is not found in the inscriptions, but the word does occur as an appellative in one. Lightfoot even proposes Epaphroditus, the bearer of the Epistle, certainly a curious turn to take to address him. After all it matters little that we do not know who the peacemaker was. Help these women [sunlambanou autais]. Present middle imperative of [sunlambanō], to seize (Mt 26:55), to conceive (Lu 1:24), then to take hold together with one (associative instrumental case), to help as here (Lu 5:7). “Take hold with them.” They laboured with me [sunēthlēsan moi]. First aorist active indicative of [sunathleō] (for which see 1:27) with associative instrumental case [moi]. With Clement also [meta kai Klēmentos]. There is no evidence that he was Clement of Rome as the name is common. In the book of life [en biblōi zōēs]. The only instance of this expression in the N.T. outside of the Apocalypse (3:5; 13:8; 17:8, etc.). Hence real Christians in spite of their bickerings.
4:4 Again I will say [palin erō]. Future active indicative of defective verb [eipon]. Rejoice [chairete]. Present active imperative as in 3:1, repeated for emphasis in spite of discouragements. Not in the sense of “Farewell” here.
4:5 Your forbearance [to epieikes humōn]. “Your gentleness,” “your sweet reasonableness” (Matthew Arnold), “your moderation.” Old adjective [epi, eikos] as in Jas 3:17; 1Ti 3:3. Article and neuter singular here= [hē epieikeia] (Ac 24:4; 2Co 10:1) like to [chrēston] in Ro 2:4. The Lord is at hand [ho kurios eggus]. “The Apostle’s watchword” (Lightfoot), as in 1Co 16:22 [Maran atha], Aramaic equivalent, Our Lord cometh). Unless, indeed, [eggus] here means near in space instead of nigh in time.
4:6 In nothing be anxious [mēden merimnāte]. Present imperative in prohibition, “stop being anxious.” See [mē merimnāte] in Mt 6:31. With thanksgiving [meta eucharistias]. In all the forms of prayer here named thanksgiving should appear.
4:7 The peace of God [hē eirēnē tou theou]. See in 2Th 3:16 “the Lord of peace” [ho Kurios tēs eirēnēs] and verse 9 for “the God of peace” [ho theos tēs eirēnēs]. Shall guard [phrourēsei]. “Shall garrison,” future active indicative of [phroureō], old verb from [phrouros] [pro-horos, prooraō], to see before, to look out). See Ac 9:24; 2Co 11:32. God’s peace as a sentinel mounts guard over our lives as Tennyson so beautifully pictures Love as doing.
4:8 Finally [to loipon]. See on 3:1. Whatsoever [hosa]. Thus he introduces six adjectives picturing Christian ideals, old-fashioned and familiar words not necessarily from any philosophic list of moral excellencies Stoic or otherwise. Without these no ideals can exist. They are pertinent now when so much filth is flaunted before the world in books, magazines and moving-pictures under the name of realism (the slime of the gutter and the cess-pool). Honourable [semna]. Old word from [sebō], to worship, revere. So revered, venerated (1Ti 3:8). Pure [hagna]. Old word for all sorts of purity. There are clean things, thoughts, words, deeds. Lovely [prosphilē]. Old word, here only in N.T., from [pros] and [phileō], pleasing, winsome. Of good report [euphēma]. Old word, only here in N.T., from [eu] and [phēmē], fair-speaking, attractive. If there be any [ei tis]. Paul changes the construction from [hosa] (whatsoever) to a condition of the first class, as in 2:1, with two substantives. Virtue [aretē]. Old word, possibly from [areskō], to please, used very often in a variety of senses by the ancients for any mental excellence or moral quality or physical power. Its very vagueness perhaps explains its rarity in the N.T., only four times (Php 4:8; 1Pe 2:9; 2Pe 1:3,5). It is common in the papyri, but probably Paul is using it in the sense found in the LXX (Isa 42:12; 43:21) of God’s splendour and might (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 95) in connection with “praise” [epainos] as here or even meaning praise. Think on these things [tauta logizesthe]. Present middle imperative for habit of thought. We are responsible for our thoughts and can hold them to high and holy ideals.
4:9 In me [en emoi]. Paul dares to point to his life in Philippi as an illustration of this high thinking. The preacher is the interpreter of the spiritual life and should be an example of it. These things do [tauta prassete]. Practise as a habit [prassō], not [poieō].
4:10 I rejoice [echarēn]. Second aorist passive indicative of [chairō], a timeless aorist. I did rejoice, I do rejoice. Greatly [megalōs]. Old adverb, only here in N.T., from [megas] (great). Now at length [ēdē pote]. In N.T. only here and Ro 1:10. [Pote] is indefinite past (interval), [ēdē] immediate present. Ye have revived [anethalete]. Second aorist active indicative of old poetic word (Homer), [anathallō], to sprout again, to shoot up, to blossom again. So in the LXX five times, though rare and literary word. Your thought for me [to huper emou phronein]. Accusative case of the articular present active infinitive the object of [anethalete] used transitively. “You caused your thinking of me to bloom afresh.” Wherein [eph’ hōi]. “In which,” “upon which” (locative case). A loose reference to Paul’s interests as involved in their thinking of him. Ye did indeed take thought [kai ephroneite]. Imperfect active, “ye were also (or had been also) thinking.” Ye lacked opportunity [ēkaireisthe]. Imperfect middle of [akaireomai], late and rare word, here only in N.T., from [akairos] [a] privative, [kairos], not to have a chance, the opposite of [eukaireō] (Mr 6:31).
4:11 In respect of want [kath’ husterēsin]. Late and rare word from [hustereō], to be behind or too late, only here and Mr 12:44 in N.T. I have learned [emathon]. Simply, “I did learn” (constative second aorist active indicative of [manthanō], to learn, looking at his long experience as a unit). In whatsoever state I am [en hois eimi]. “In what things (circumstances) I am.” To be content [autarkēs einai]. Predicate nominative with the infinitive of the old adjective [autarkēs] (from [autos] and [arkeō], to be self-sufficient), self-sufficing. Favourite word with the Stoics, only here in N.T., though [autarkeia] occurs in 2Co 9:8; 1Ti 6:6. Paul is contented with his lot and he learned that lesson long ago. Socrates said as to who is wealthiest: “He that is content with least, for [autarkeia] is nature’s wealth.”
4:12 I know how [oida]. Followed by the infinitive [oida] has this sense. So here twice, with [tapeinousthai], to be humbled, from [tapeinos], and with [perisseuein], to overflow. Have I learned the secret [memuēmai]. Perfect passive indicative of [mueō], old and common word from [muō], to close (Latin mutus), and so to initiate with secret rites, here only in N.T. The common word [mustērion] (mystery) is from [mustēs] (one initiated) and this from [mueō], to initiate, to instruct in secrets. Paul draws this metaphor from the initiatory rites of the pagan mystery-religions. To be filled [chortazesthai]. Old verb from [chortos] (grass, hay) and so to fatten like an animal. To be hungry [peināin]. Old verb from [peina] (hunger) and kin to [penēs], poor man who has to work for his living [penomai].
4:13 I can do all things [panta ischuō]. Old verb to have strength [ischus]. In him that strengtheneth me [en tōi endunamounti me]. Late and rare verb (in LXX) from adjective [endunamos] [en, dunamis]. Causative verb to empower, to pour power into one. See same phrase in 1Ti 1:12 [tōi endunamōsanti me] (aorist tense here). Paul has such strength so long as Jesus keeps on putting power [dunamis] into him.
4:14 That ye had fellowship [sunkoinōnēsantes]. First aorist active participle (simultaneous action with the principal verb [kalōs epoiēsate]. “Ye did well contributing for my affliction.”
4:15 In the beginning of the gospel [en archēi tou euaggeliou]. After he had wrought in Philippi (2Th 2:13). Had fellowship [ekoinōnēsen]. “Had partnership” (first aorist active indicative). In the matter [eis logon]. “As to an account.” No other church opened an account with Paul. Of giving and receiving [doseōs kai lēmpseōs]. Credit and debit. A mercantile metaphor repeated in verse 17 by [eis logon humōn] (to your account). Paul had to keep books then with no other church, though later Thessalonica and Beroea joined Philippi in support of Paul’s work in Corinth (2Co 11:8f.). But ye only [ei mē humeis monoi]. Not even Antioch contributed anything but good wishes and prayers for Paul’s work (Ac 13:1-3).
4:16 Once and again [kai hapax kai dis]. “Both once and twice” they did it “even in Thessalonica” and so before Paul went to Corinth.” See the same Greek idiom in 1Th 2:18.
4:17 I seek for [epizētō]. Old verb, in N.T. only here and Ro 11:7 (linear present, I am seeking for). Lightfoot calls it “the Apostle’s nervous anxiety to clear himself” of wanting more gifts. Why not say his delicate courtesy?
4:18 I have all things [apechō panta]. As a receipt in full in appreciation of their kindness. [Apechō] is common in the papyri and the ostraca for “receipt in full” (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 110). See Mt 6:2, 5, 16. I am filled [peplērōmai]. Perfect passive indicative of [plēroō]. “Classical Greek would hardly use the word in this personal sense” (Kennedy). An odour of a sweet smell [osmēn euōdias]. [Osmē], old word from [ozō], to smell. [Euōdia], old word from [eu] and [ozō]. In Eph 5:2 both words come together as here and in 2Co 2:15 we have [euōdia] (only other N.T. example) and in verse 2Co 2:16 [osmē] twice. [Euōdias] here is genitive of quality. Sacrifice [thusian]. Not the act, but the offering as in Ro 12:1. Well-pleasing [euareston]. As in Ro 12:1.
4:19 According to his riches in glory [kata to ploutos autou en doxēi]. God has an abundant treasure in glory and will repay the Philippians for what they have done for Paul. The spiritual reward is what spurs men into the ministry and holds them to it.
4:20 The glory [hē doxa]. “The doxology flows out of the joy of the whole epistle” (Bengel).
4:21 They that are of Caesar’s household [hoi ek tēs Kaisaros oikias]. Not members of the imperial family, but some connected with the imperial establishment. The term can apply to slaves and freedmen and even to the highest functionaries. Christianity has begun to undermine the throne of the Caesars. Some day a Christian will sit on this throne. The gospel works upward from the lower classes. lt was so at Corinth and in Rome. It is true today. It is doubtful if Nero had yet heard of Paul for his case may have been dismissed by lapse of time. But this obscure prisoner who has planted the gospel in Caesar’s household has won more eternal fame and power than all the Caesars combined. Nero will commit suicide shortly after Paul has been executed. Nero’s star went down and Paul’s rose and rises still.
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Word Pictures in the New Testament - Philippians

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