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Philippians 1


 1 Paul (1) and Timothy the servants of JESUS CHRIST, to all the Saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the (a) (*) Bishops and Deacons:


(1) The mark whereat he shooteth in this Epistle, is to confirm the Philippians by all means possible, not only not to faint, but also to go forward. And first of all, he commendeth their former doings, to exhort them to go forward; which thing he saith, he fully hopeth surely they will do, and that by the testimony of their lively charity, but in the mean season he referreth all things to the grace of God.
(a) By the Bishops are meant both the Pastors, which have the dispensation of the word and the Elders, that govern; and by Deacons are meant those that were stewards of the treasury of the Church, and had to look unto the poor.

(*) By bishops here he meaneth them that had charge of the word and governing, as pastors, doctors, elders; by deacons, such as had charge of the distribution, and of the poor and sick.


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


 3  (*) I thank my God, having you in perfect memory,


(*) 1 Thessalonians 1:2 .


 4 (Always in all my prayers for you all, praying with gladness,)


 5 Because of the (b) (*) fellowship which ye have in the Gospel, from the (c) (♣) first day unto now.


(b) Because you also are made partakers of the Gospel.

(*) With other Churches.
(c) Ever since I knew you.

(♣) That ye received the Gospel.


 6 And I am persuaded of this same thing, that he that hath begun this good work in you, will perform it until the (d) (*) day of Jesus Christ,


(d) The Spirit of God will not forsake you unto the very latter end, until your mortal bodies shall appear before the judgment of Christ, to be glorified.

(*) When you shall receive the crown of glory.


 7 As it becometh me so to judge of you all, because I have you in remembrance, (*) that both in my (e) bands, and in my defense, and confirmation of the Gospel you all were partakers of my (f) (♣) grace.


(*) It was a sure token of their love, that they did help him by all means possible, when he was absent, and in prison, even as if they had been prisoners with him.

(e) A true proof of a true knitting together with Christ.
(f) He calleth his bands, grace, as though he had received some singular benefit.

(♣) Of this peculiar benefit to suffer for Christ's sake.


 8  (2) For God is my record, how I long after you all from the very heart root in Jesus Christ.


(2) He declareth his good will towards them, therewithal shewing by what means chiefly they may be confirmed, to wit, by continual prayer.


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


(3) He sheweth what thing we ought to chiefly desire, to wit, first of all, that we may increase in the true knowledge of God (so that we may be able to discern things that differ from one another) and also in charity, that even to the end we may give ourselves to good works indeed, to the glory of God by Jesus Christ.


 10 That ye may discern those things that (*) differ one from another which are best, that ye may be pure, and (♣) without offence, until the day of Christ,


(*) Or, are excellent.

(♣) That you so increase in godliness that not only ye can put difference between good and evil; but also that ye profit more and more without slipping back, or standing in a stay.


 11 Filled with the (g) fruits of (*) righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.


(g) If righteousness be the tree, and good works the fruits, then must the Papists needs be deceived, when they say that works are the cause of righteousness.

(*) Righteousness is the tree, good works the fruit.


 12  (4) I would ye understood, brethren, that the things which have come unto me, are turned rather to the furthering of the Gospel,


(4) He preventeth the offence that might come by his persecution, whereby divers took occasion to disgrace his Apostleship. To whom he answereth, that God hath blessed his imprisonment in such wise, that he is by that means become more famous, and the dignity of the Gospel by this occasion is greatly enlarged, although not with like affection in all men, yet indeed.


 13 So that my bands (h) in (*) Christ are famous throughout all the (i) (♣) judgment hall, and in all other places,


(h) For Christ his sake.

(*) Which I sustain for Christ's cause.
(i) In the Emperor's court.

(♣) That is, in the court or Palace of the Emperor Nero.


 14 In so much that many of the brethren in the Lord are boldened through my bands, and dare more frankly speak the (k) (*) word.


(k) The Gospel is called the Word, to set forth the excellency of it.

(*) Or, profess the Gospel, considering my constancy.


 15 Some preach Christ even through envy and strife, and some also of good will.


 16 The one part preacheth Christ of contention, and not (l) (*) purely, supposing to add more affliction to my bands.


(l) Not with a pure mind; for otherwise their doctrine was pure.

(*) But with a corrupt mind.


 17 But the others of love, knowing that I (*) am set for the defense of the Gospel.


(*) Or, lie in bands.


 18  (5) What then? Yet Christ is preached all manner ways, whether it (*) be under a (m) pretence, or sincerely; and I therein joy, yea, and will joy.


(5) He sheweth by setting forth his own example, that the end of our afflictions is true joy, and that through the virtue of the Spirit of Christ, which he giveth to them that ask it.

(*) Their pretence was to preach Christ, and therefore their doctrine was true; but they were full of ambition and envy thinking to deface Paul and prefer themselves.
(m) Under a goodly color of shew; for they make Christ a cloak for their ambition and envy.


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


 20  (6) As I heartily look for, and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all confidence, as always, so now Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.


(6) We must continue even to the end, with great confidence, having nothing before our eyes but Christ's glory only, whether we live or die.


 21 For Christ is to me both in life, and in death advantage.


 22  (7) And whether to (*) live in the (n) flesh were profitable for me, and what to choose I know not.


(7) An example of a true shepherd, who maketh more account how he may profit his sheep, than he doth of any commodity of his own whatsoever.

(*) To live in the flesh is to live in this brittle body, till we be called to live everlastingly; but to live according to the flesh or to be in the flesh, signify, to be destitute of the Spirit and to be plunged in the filthy concupiscence of the flesh.
(n) To live in this mortal body.


 23 For I am greatly in doubt on both sides, desiring to be loosed, and to be with Christ, which is best of all.


 24 Nevertheless, to abide in the (*) flesh, is more needful for you.


(*) Or, body.


 25 And this am I sure of, that I shall abide, and with you all continue, for your furtherance and joy of your faith,


 26 That ye may more abundantly rejoice in Jesus Christ for me, by my coming to you again.


 27  (8) (*) 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 matters, that ye (o) continue in one Spirit, and in one mind, fighting together through the faith of the Gospel.


(8) Having set down those things before, in manner of a Preface, he descendeth now to exhortations, warning them first of all, to consent both in doctrine and mind, and afterward, that being thus knit together with those common bands, they continue through the strength of faith to bear all adversity in such sort, that they admit nothing unworthy of the profession of the Gospel.

(*) Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12 .
(o) The word signifieth, to stand fast, and it is proper to wrestlers, that stand fast, and move not a foot.


 28  (9) And in nothing fear your adversaries, which is to them a (*) token of perdition, and to you of salvation, and (♣) that of God.


(9) We ought not to be discouraged, but rather encouraged by the persecutions which the enemies of the Gospel imagine and practice against us; seeing that they are certain witnesses from God himself, both of our salvation, and of the destruction of the wicked.

(*) The more that tyrants rage against the Gospel, the more manifestly they declare that they run to their own destruction; and again constant perseverance for Christ's sake is an evident sign of salvation.

(♣) God sheweth by this means of bearing the cross who are his, and who are not.


 29  (10) For unto you it is given (*) for Christ, that not only ye should believe in him, but also suffer for his sake,


(10) He proveth that his saying, that persecution is a token of our salvation, because it is a gift of God to suffer for Christ, which gift he bestoweth upon his own, as he doth the gift of faith.

(*) Or, Christ's cause.


 30  (11) Having the same fight, which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.


(11) Now he sheweth for what purpose he made mention of his afflictions.



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