Philippians 4:1 MEANING

Philippians 4:1
(1) Therefore.--By this word, just as at the conclusion of the description of the "depth of the riches of the wisdom of God" (in Romans 11:33-36), or of the glorious climax of the doctrine of the resurrection (in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57), St. Paul makes the vision of future glory to be an inspiring force, giving life to the sober, practical duties of the present time. For the faith, which is the root of good works, is not only "the evidence of things not seen," although already existing as spiritual realities, but also "the substantiation of things hoped for" (Hebrews 11:1).

Dearly beloved and longed for . . .--The peculiar affectionateness of this verse is notable. It is curiously coincident with the words addressed years before to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:19), "What is our hope and joy and crown of rejoicing? Are not ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .? Ye are our glory and our joy." But it has just the addition natural to the yearnings of captivity: they are "longed for," and that (see Philippians 1:8) "in the heart of Jesus Christ." The "crown" is here the garland, the sign of victory in the apostolic race and struggle of which he had spoken above (Philippians 3:12-14). The crown of glory, of righteousness, and of life, is usually described as future (see 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10), and this is the case in the Thessalonian Epistle. Here, without excluding that completer sense, the reference is also to the present. The Philippians are St. Paul's crown, as the Corinthians are his "seal" (1 Corinthians 9:2)--at once the proof of His apostolic mission and the reward of his apostolic labour. In both aspects the present is the earnest of the future.

Verse 1. - Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown. The apostle here, as in 1 Corinthians 15:58, urges the hope of a glorious resurrection as an incentive to steadfastness in the Christian life. He seems scarcely able to find words adequate to express his love for the Philippians; he heaps together epithets of affection, dwelling tenderly on the word "beloved." He tells them of his longing desire to see them, repeating the word used in Philippians 1:8. He calls them his "joy and crown" - his joy now, his crown hereafter. He uses the same words of the other great Macedonian Church in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye?" The Greek word for "crown" (στέφανος) means commonly either the wreath ("the corruptible crown," 1 Corinthians 9:25) which was the prize of victors at the Grecian games; or a garland worn at banquets and festivities. The royal crown is generally διάδημα. But στέφανος is used in the Septuagint for a king's crown (see (in the Greek) 2 Samuel 12:30; Psalm 20:4 (A.V., Psalms 21:3); Esther 8:15). The crown of thorns, too, which was used in mockery of the Savior's kingly title, was στέφανος ἐξ ἀκανθῶν, though this may possibly have been suggested by the laurel wreath worn by the Roman Caesars (see Trench, 'Synonyms of the New Testament,' sect. 23.). "The crown of life," "the crown of glory that fadeth not away," is the emblem both of victory and of gladness. Yet it is also in some sense kingly: the saints shall sit with Christ in his throne; they shall reign with him; they are kings ("a kingdom," R.V., with the best manuscripts) and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6). In this place victory seems to be the thought present to the apostle's mind. In Philippians 2:16 and Philippians 2:12-14 he has been comparing the Christian life with the course of the Grecian athletes. Now he represents his converts as constituting his crown or wreath of victory at the last; their salvation is the crowning reward of his labors and sufferings. So stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. So; that is, as ye have us for an example; or perhaps, as becomes citizens of the heavenly commonwealth. The same word (στήκετε) is used in Philippians 1:27, also in connection with the idea of citizenship.

4:1 The believing hope and prospect of eternal life, should make us steady and constant in our Christian course. There is difference of gifts and graces, yet, being renewed by the same Spirit, we are brethren. To stand fast in the Lord, is to stand fast in his strength, and by his grace.Therefore, my brethren,.... Not in a natural but spiritual relation; having the same Father, being of the same family, and household of faith: seeing that on the one hand there were false teachers, who stand described by various characters in the preceding chapter, by whom they were in danger of being carried away from the simplicity of the Gospel; and on the other hand, such were the conduct and conversation of the apostle, and other true believers, and such were their expectations of Christ from heaven, and of happiness from him as there expressed; therefore he exhorts to steadfastness in him, and that under the most tender, affectionate, and endearing appellations; given in the uprightness of his soul, without any manner of flattery, to signify his strong affection for them, and to engage them to attend the more to what he was about to exhort them to; and which arose from pure love to them, an hearty concern for their good, and the honour of Christ Jesus:

dearly beloved: as belonging to Christ, interested in him, members of him, redeemed by him, and bearing his image; and as his brethren, and so not loved with a carnal, but spiritual love:

and longed for; to see them, converse with them, and impart some spiritual gift to them; being the excellent in the earth, as other saints, towards whom was his desire, and with whom was all his delight. These epithets are joined with the word "brethren", in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and read thus, "my dearly beloved, and longed for brethren"; and in the Ethiopic version, "our beloved brethren": to which are added,

my joy and crown; they were matter of joy to him, as he had reason to hope well of them; yea, to be confident that the good work was begun, and would be carried on in them; and that they had hitherto continued in the doctrine of the Gospel, and walked worthy of it; and they were his "crown", as they were seals of his ministry; and whom he valued more, and reckoned a greater honour and ornament to him, than the richest diadem, set with the most costly jewels and precious stones, and which he hoped and believed would be his crown of rejoicing another day; when he, with them, should stand at the hand of Christ triumphing, as victors crowned, ever sin, Satan, the world, death, and hell:

so stand fast in the Lord; or "by the Lord"; by his power and strength, which is only able to make to stand fast; saints are liable to failing, and would fall, were they not upheld with his right hand, and kept by his power; they only stand fast, as they stand supported by his strength, trusting in his might, and leaning on his arm. Christ is the only foundation where they can stand safe and sure; and such as are rooted and grounded, and built up in him, are established and stand; though they are still in need of being exhorted to hold the head, abide by him, and cleave unto him; to stand fast in his grace, exercising the graces of faith, hope, and love upon him; in the liberty of Christ, in opposition to the bondage of the law, false teachers were for bringing them into; and in the doctrine of faith, and not depart from it in any degree, nor give way in the least to the opposers of it, but continue steadfast in it without wavering, and which is chiefly intended here: so the Arabic version renders it, "so stand in the faith of the Lord"; both in the grace faith, and in the doctrine of it, and in the profession of both: see 1 Corinthians 16:13. The apostle bids them so stand fast; that is, either as they had hitherto done, or as they had him and others for an example; whose views, conversation, and behaviour, are described in the foregoing chapter:

my dearly beloved; this, which otherwise would be a repetition of what is before said, is by some connected with the former clause, and read thus, "so stand fast my dearly beloved in the Lord"; and contains a reason, both why they were dearly beloved by the apostle, because beloved in and by the Lord; and why it became them to stand fast in him, and abide by him, his truths, ordinances, cause, and interest.

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