King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Philippians 1

The apostle offers up thanksgivings and prayers, for the good work of grace in the Philippians. (1-7) He expresses affection, and prays for them. (8-11) Fortifies them against being cast down at his sufferings. (12-20) He stood prepared for glorifying Christ by life, or death. (21-26) Exhortations to zeal, and constancy in professing the gospel. (27-30)

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The apostle offers up thanksgivings and prayers, for the good work of grace in the Philippians

1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which 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 thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

He expresses affection, and prays for them

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

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Fortifies them against being cast down at his sufferings

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do 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 earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

He stood prepared for glorifying Christ by life, or death

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

22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

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

26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

Exhortations to zeal, and constancy in professing the gospel

27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible 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. S. Chrys. also takes notice, that the name of deacon then signified any minister of Christ. S. Paul also might mean the bishops, or priests and deacons, not only of Philippi, but also of the adjacent places. Wi.

Ver. 5. For your fellowship. This word is divers times used by S. 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. Wi.

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. Wi.

Ver. 9. That your charity, &c. It is worthy of remark, that S. Paul does not beg that the Philippians may enjoy temporal blessings, but that they may be rewarded with an increase of spiritual favours; (Cal.) 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. S. 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. Wi.

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. Wi.

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. Wi.

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. Wi.

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. Wi.

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. Ch. — 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. Wi.

Ver. 25-26. And having this confidence. In effect S. 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. Wi.

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. Wi.

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

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[1] V. 1. Cum episcopis et diaconis, sun episkopois kai diakonois. S. Jerom, S. Chrys. &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. S. Hier. 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. S. Chrys. 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] V. 13. In omni Prætorio, en olo to praitorio.