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

“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation”
Literally:  “For I know that this will go on to deliverance to me.”  For his release from prison as he strongly hopes to see them again (v. 26).

The Jews had denounced Paul as an enemy to Caesar; but he knew that when the nature of the Gospel should be fully known, the Romans would see that he could be no enemy to Caesar.  One who proclaimed a prince whose kingdom was not of this world; and who had taught, in the most unequivocal manner, that all Christians were to give tribute to whom tribute was due, and while they feared God to honor also the king, though that king was Nero.

                 THIS:  (Gr.-touto)–Referring to the preaching of Christ in every way.

“shall turn to my salvation”
Literally:  “will go on to deliverance to me”– Turn out to me for, (or unto) salvation. This proclamation of Christ every way will turn out to my spiritual good. Shall procure me an higher degree of glory.

         Will be a means of my freedom. Whether the effect shall be to turn public favor towards the Christian religion, and secure my release; or whether it shall be to instigate my enemies more, so as to lead to my death; I am satisfied that the result, so far as I am concerned, will be well.  The meaning is that all these dealings, including his imprisonment, and especially the conduct of those who thought to add affliction to his bonds, would be among the means of his deliverance. Trying and painful as all this was, yet trial and pain Paul reckoned among the means of grace; and he had no doubt that this would prove so.
         Paul hoped that the spread of the gospel would call Nero's attention to his case, and end his imprisonment one way or another, and little did he care whether he was set free by death, or by being allowed to resume his labors.

        SALVATION:    (Gr.-sōterian)–This word probably does not refer to his immediate release from captivity, for he was not absolutely certain of that, and could not expect that to be effected by “the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” 

         Lightfoot takes “salvation” to mean Paul's eternal salvation and it must be confessed that verse 20 (the close of this sentence) does seem to suit this idea best. Can it be that Paul carried both conceptions in the word here?  That is: It will be the means of my temporal safety; of my deliverance; for so the Greek word (sōterian)  rendered as ”salvation” is to be understood here.
        Many expositors feel that this does not necessarily refer to Paul’s deliverance from captivity, but rather that it will prove salutary to him in a spiritual sense and to the saving work of the gospel. The English word salvation is used here, without any precise definition; and the broader sense, as related to his ministry, seems to be indicated by the word, “Christ shall be magnified,” in v. 20.
         An interesting note regarding this Greek word (sōterian) is it is used in Matt. 9:21 where a woman says, “If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.”  The word there translated as “whole” is the verb form of this same word used here.  This word is also used in Mark 15:30 where it is refers to well-being:  Save thyself, and come down from the cross.”  Here in Phil. 1:19 the subject is not spiritual salvation, for Paul had already been saved spiritually. 

“through your prayer”
Literally:  “Through your petition.”–Knowing them to be genuine followers of Christ, he was satisfied that their prayers would be very available in his behalf; and under God he places much dependence upon them.  This reveals the confidence that Paul had in the prayers of fellow believers, and it also reveals his dependence on the Holy Spirit. See also II Cor. 1:11.

“and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,”-
Literally:  “and {the} supply of {the} Spirit of Jesus Christ”–Paul expected the Spirit of Christ to help all his infirmities, and to furnish him with all the wisdom, prudence, strength of reason, and argument, which might be necessary for him in the different trials he had to pass through with his persecutors, and the civil powers, at whose judgment-seat he stood.

Meaning, “to sustain me,” and to cause those happy results to come out of these trials. Paul needed the same Spirit which Jesus Christ had, to enable him to bear his trials with patience, and to impart to him the consolations which he required. He had no idea that these trials would produce these effects of their own accord, nor that it could be by any strength of his own.

        SUPPLY: (Gr.-epichoregias)–Supply is in the sense of support.  Rare word (only one example in inscription of first century A.D.). Used in the N.T. only here and Eph. 4:16. From the late verb epichorêgeô which means, “to furnish supply” as we see in II Cor. 9:10; Gal. 3:5.

        “Now he that ministereth (supplies) seed to the sower both minister bread for {yoiur} food…” (II Cor. 9:10).
        “He that therefore ministereth (supplies) to you the Spirit…” (Ga. 3:5).

         The Greek text joins the two nouns. “prayer” and “supply” together, by having but one preposition and one article: “Through your prayer and (the consequent) supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (obtained for me through your prayer).”
         The Lord Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7, by the Greek word
 (Parakletos).   By this name the Holy Spirit is seen as the “One called alongside to help,” and Paul was experiencing His support and supply while in prison.

“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.”

“According to my earnest expectation”–Paul had the most confident expectation that God would stand by him, so that he should be enabled, with the utmost liberty of speech, literally:  “in all boldness,” (Gr.-en pasēi parrēsiai), to testify the Gospel of the
Grace of God;
and, should he have the liberty of doing so.

Whether life or death, either was to him perfectly equal, and perfectly indifferent, providing Christ were magnified—his person, nature, doctrine, etc., shown to be, what they really are, most noble, most excellent, most necessary, and most glorious.

      EARNEST EXPECTATION: (Gr.-apokaradokian)–Literally means, “watching with the head erect or outstretched.” A “waiting in suspense.”    This Greek phrase was used in secular writing of a watchman who kept looking into the darkness for the first gleam of a distant beacon. In essence, Paul has given us another military term of a guard, or watchman on the wall, being on alert. A “waiting in suspense.”  The Greek preposition apo (from), implies abstraction, the intention turned from other objects.  The classical student will recall the watchman in the opening of Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon,” awaiting the beacon which is to announce the capture of Troy.  The word here used occurs but in one other place in the N.T. (Rom. 8:19).       

“that in nothing I shall be ashamed,”–Better rendered, “that in nothing I be put to shame.” That I shall do nothing of which I shall have occasion to be ashamed  In nothing have reason to be ashamed of “my work for God, or His work in me;” or, “in nothing be disappointed in my hope, but that I may fully obtain it.” So “ashamed” is used in Rom. 9:33.

         That in these coming trials, I may not be left to deny the truth of the Christian faith.   That, even before the emperor, I may maintain the principles of the gospel; and that the dread of death may not lead me to do a dishonorable thing, or in any way so to shrink from an avowal of my belief, as to give me or my friends occasion of regret.      
         The earnest desire and hope which Paul had was not, primarily, that he might be released; rather, it was that, in all circumstances, he might be able to honor the gospel, living or dying. To that he looked as a much more important matter than to save his life. Life with him was the secondary consideration; the main thing was, to stand up everywhere as the advocate of the gospel, to maintain its truth, and to exhibit its spirit.

[that] with all boldness,”
Literally:  “But in all boldness.”  By my speaking the truth, and maintaining my principles with all boldness (II Cor. 7:4; Eph. 6:19-20). “Boldness” being the opposite of “ashamed.”

“now also Christ shall be magnified”
Literally:  “Even now Christ will be magnified”That Christ shall be held up to the view of man as the true and only Savior, whatever becomes of me.  Paul hoped to be delivered from prison, but even if he never was, this would not keep him from magnifying Christ. 

        MAGNIFIED:  (Gr.-megaluno), meaning, “to make large; hold in high honor.”  Paul is using it in a sense to means, “exalt” or “glorify.”    

“whether it [be] by life, or by death.”
Literally:  “Whether through life or through death.”   Although Paul’s body was confined in a prison, he was still determined to use it to reveal Christ to others in a way they had never seen before.  He did realize that he could be put to death if the Roman government decided to do so, but until such a thing happened he was determined to use his body to glorify Christ, even if it did lead to his execution.  The lesson for us here is that the unsaved can see Christ only as He is revealed through us believers. 

        BY LIFE:  (Gr.-dia zoes)–If I am permitted to live.

Paul was not yet certain how the case would end up for him. He had not yet been put on trial, and, whether that trial would result in his acquittal or not, he had no way of knowing. However, he felt assured that, if he were acquitted, the effect would be to honor Christ. He would ascribe his deliverance to Christ’s gracious intervention; therefore, he would devote himself with renewed ardor to the service of his Lord.  He felt assured, from his past efforts, that he would be able to do something that would “magnify” Christ in the estimation of mankind.

        BY DEATH:  (Gr.-dia thanatou)–If my trial shall result in my death. Then, he believed, he would be able to show such a spirit as to do honor to Christ and his cause.

         Paul’s determination was that in whatever way his trial terminated, he felt assured that the great object for which he lived would be promoted; that is, Christ would be honored, perhaps, as much by his dying as a martyr, as by his living yet many years to proclaim his gospel, he was, therefore, reconciled to his lot. He had no anxiety. Come what might, the purpose which he had most at heart would be secured, and the name of the Savior would be honored.
         He was not afraid to die, and he was persuaded that he would be enabled to bear the pains of death in such a manner as to show the sustaining power of religion, and the value of Christianity. Christ is “magnified” in the death of Christians, when his gospel is seen to sustain them; when, supported by its promises, they are enabled to go calmly into the dark valley; and when, in the departing moments, they confidently commit their eternal all into His hands.

        Again, let me emphasize that the unsaved can see Christ only as He is revealed through believers.  We know that Christ does not come down to earth to walk among people, as He once did, but He does live within believers and wants to express Himself through their bodies.  Since nothing can really be done apart from the body, Paul told believers, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).

VERSES 21-24:  Life or Death

“For me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.”

“For me to live [is] Christ"
Literally:  “For to me the living {is} Christ.”-Whether I live or die, Christ is gain to me. Paul has not thought of life apart from Christ.

         Paul is saying, “While I live I am Christ's property and servant, and Christ is my portion; but if I die—if I be called to witness the truth at the expense of my life, this will be gain; I shall be saved from the remaining troubles and difficulties in life, and be put immediately in possession of my heavenly inheritance. As, therefore, it respects myself, it is a matter of perfect indifference to me whether I be taken off by a violent death, or whether I be permitted to continue here longer; in either case I can lose nothing.
         My sole aim in living is to glorify Christ. He is the Supreme End of my life, and I value it only as being devoted to His honor.”
Paul’s aim was not honor, learning, gold, pleasure;  it was only to glorify the Lord Jesus. This was the single purpose of his soul-a purpose to which he was devoted.  This implied the following things:

1.      A purpose to know Christ, as much as it was possible to know.
To become as fully acquainted as he could with His rank, His character, His plans, with the relations which He sustained to the Father, and with the claims and influences of his faith. (see 3:10, Eph. 3:19; comp. John 17:3).
2.      A purpose to imitate Christ; to make Him the model of his life.
It was a design that His Spirit should reign in his heart, that the same temper should actuate him, and that the same great end should be constantly had in view.
3.      A purpose to make his faith known, as far as possible, among mankind. To this Paul seriously gave his life, and devoted his great talents.
Paul’s aim in life was to see on how many minds he could impress the sentiments of the Christian religion; to see to how many of the human family he could make Christ known, to whom he was unknown before. Never was there a man who gave himself with more ardor to his task in life, than Paul did to this; and never was one more successful, in any undertaking, than he was in this.
4.      It was a purpose to enjoy Christ. He drew his comforts from him. His happiness he found in communion with Him. It was not in the works of art; not in the pursuits of elegant literature; not in the gay and fashionable world; but it was in communion with the Savior, and in endeavoring to please him.        

         In effect, Paul is saying, “Living is Christ to me.”  For Paul, Christ had been the very beginning of life, for on that day on the Damascus road it was as if he had begun life all over again.  From that day on, there had not been a day when Paul did not live in Christ’s presence, and in the frightening moments when Christ had been there to tell him not to be afraid (Acts 18:9-10), Christ was the end of life, for it was towards His eternal presence that life always led.  For Paul, Christ was the inspiration of life, the dynamic of life. 
         To Paul, Christ had given the task of life, for it was He who had made him an apostle, and who had sent him out as the evangelist to the gentiles.  To him, Christ had given the strength for life, for it was Christ’s all-sufficient grace that was made perfect in Paul’s weakness.  For him, Christ was the reward of life, for to Paul the only worthwhile reward was closer fellowship with his Lord and Savior.  If Christ were to somehow be taken out of his life, for Paul there would be nothing left.

“and to die [is] gain.”–Not the actual act of dying, but as the Greek text (Gr.-apothanein) to have died” expresses it.

Paul is really referring to the state after death. Besides the glorification of Christ by my death, which is my primary object (Php 1:20), the change of state caused by death, so far from being a matter of shame (v. 20) or loss, as my enemies suppose, will be a positive "gain" to me.

        GAIN:   (Gr.-kerdos)–Literally: ”profit, advantage.”  This word was used in the secular writing of Paul’s day to refer to the interest that money had gained.

         The meaning that Paul is applying to it here is, there would be an advantage in dying above that of living. Important benefits would result to him personally, should he die; and the only reason why he should wish at all to live was, that he might be the means of benefiting others, vv. 1:24-25. But how would it be gain to die? What advantage would there be in Paul's circumstances? What in ours? It may be answered, that it will be gain for a Christian to die in the following respects:
He will be then freed from sin.    Here it is the source of perpetual humiliation and sorrow; in heaven he will sin no more.

2.      He will be freed from doubts about his condition. Here the best are liable to doubts about their personal piety, and often experience many an anxious hour in reference to this point; in heaven, doubt will be known no more.
3.      He will be freed from temptation.  Here, no one knows when he may be tempted, nor how powerful the temptation may be; in heaven, there will be no allurement to lead him astray; no artful, cunning, and skillful temptations of pleasure to place inducements before him to sin; and no heart to yield to them, if there were.
4.      He will be delivered from all his enemies-from the slanderer, the defamers, the persecutor. Here the Christian is constantly liable to have his motives called in question, or to be met with detraction and slander; there, there will be none to do him injustice; all will rejoice in the belief that he is pure.
5.      He will be delivered from suffering. Here he is constantly liable to it. His health fails, his friends die, his mind is sad. There, there shall be no separation of friends, no sickness, and no tears.
6.      He will be delivered from death. Here, death is ever nigh; dreadful, alarming, terrible to our nature There, death will be known no more. No face will ever turn pale, and no knees tremble, at his approach; in all heaven there will never be seen a funeral procession, nor will the soil there ever open its bosom to furnish a grave.
7.      He will be surrounded by his best friends; that he will be reunited with those whom he loved on earth; that he will be associated with the angels of light; and that he will be admitted to the immediate presence of his Savior and his God.

Why, then, should a Christian be afraid to die? And why should he not hail that hour, when it comes, as the hour of his deliverance, and rejoice that he is going home? Does the prisoner, long confined in a dungeon, dread the hour which is to open his prison, and permit him to return to his family and friends? Does the man in a foreign land, long an exile, dread the hour when he shall embark on the ocean to be conveyed where he may embrace the friends of his youth? Does the sick man dread the hour which restores him to health? the afflicted, the hour of comfort? the wanderer at night, the cheering light of returning day? And why, then, should the Christian dread the hour which will restore him to immortal vigor; which shall remove all his sorrows; which shall introduce him to everlasting day?

Death is the crown of life:
Were death denied, poor man would live in vain;

Were death denied, to live would not be life;
Were death denied, even fools would wish to die.
Death wounds to cure; we fall; we rise; we reign !
Spring from our fetters; hasten in the skies;
Where blooming Eden withers in our sight.
Death gives us more than was in Eden lost.
The king of terrors is the prince of peace."

Night Thoughts, iii.

Notice that in your Bible the verb “is” is in italics.  This means that it is not in the original Greek text but had been added to make the meaning clearer.  The verse is actually, “For to me to live Christ, and to die gain.”

“But if
{I} live in {the} flesh, this {is} the fruit of {my} labor:  yet what I shall choose I wot not.”

“But if {I} live in {the} flesh,”
Literally:  “If but to live in [the] flesh. Paul is saying, “If I should I be spared longer, I shall labor for Christ as I have done; and this is the fruit of my labor, that Christ shall be magnified by my longer life, (v. 20).  “If I continue to live; if I am not condemned, and made a martyr at my approaching trial.”

         Paul is using the term “flesh”  (Gr.-sarx)  to refer to his body.  This Greek word has also beenused to refer either the body or to the sinful nature, as it is used in such verses as Rom. 7:18–“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh).  dwelleth no good thing;” or in Gal. 5:17—“”For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh…”  However, the word was used to refer to the body in such verses as Gal. 2:20—“…the life which I now live in the flesh…”  From the context of v. 20, we can assume that here Paul is referring to his body.
         “If to live in the flesh (if that becomes my portion), this (continuing to live) is the fruit of my labor," that is, this continuance in life will be the occasion of my bringing in "the fruit of labor," that is, will be the occasion of “labors” which are their own "fruit" or reward; or, this my continuing “to live” will have this “fruit,” namely, “labors” for Christ. GROTIUS explains “the fruit of labor” as an idiom for “worthwhile;” If I live in the flesh, this is worth my while, for thus Christ's interest will be advanced, “For to me to live is Christ” (1:21; compare 2:30 Rom. 1:13). The second alternative, namely, dying, is taken up and handled, 2:17, "If I be offered.”

“this [is] the fruit of [my] labor:”
“This to me
[is] fruit of [my] work.”  The better  rendering would say, “If living after the flesh, {if} this is fruit of labor.”

         The meaning of this passage is, “If I live in the flesh, it will cost me labor; it will be attended, as it has been, with much effort and anxious care, and I know not which to prefer-whether to remain on the earth with these cares and the hope of doing good, or to go at once to a world of rest.”
         A more literal version of the Greek will show that this is the meaning—“this to me is {or would be} the fruit of labor."  Coverdale, in his translation of the Bible, rendered this as, “Inasmuch as to live in the flesh is fruitful to me for the work, I wot not what I shall choose.”  Luther rendered it as, “But since to live in the flesh serves to produce more fruit.”  Should I be spared longer, I shall labor for Christ as I have always done; and this is the fruit of my labor, that Christ shall be magnified by my longer life, (v. 20).

         According to this, the meaning is that if his life were of value to the gospel, he was willing to live; or that it was a valuable object worth an effort thus to live.  Paul wanted his readers to understand that if he were allowed to continue to live he would continue to produce fruit in his labors.  He knew that if he stayed with the Philippians there would be more fruit produced from his working with them, whereas no more fruit will result if he died.

“yet what I shall choose I wot not.”
Literally: “And what I shall choose I know not.”–Had I the two conditions left to my own choice, whether to die now and go to glory, or whether to live longer in persecutions and affliction, (glorifying Christ by spreading the Gospel), I could not tell which to prefer.

I do not know which I should prefer, if it were left to me. On each side there were important considerations, and he knew not which overbalanced the other. Are not Christians often in this state, that if it were left to themselves they would not know which to choose, whether to live or to die?

        YET:  (Gr.-kai)–The sense has been obscured by this translation. The Greek word καὶ means, then.”  The phrase would then read, “To die would be gain; my life here would be one of toil, then I know not which to choose,”  If living in the flesh be, etc., then, when I choose, etc.  

        WOT: (Gr.-gnōrizō)–“Wot,” is obsolete English for “know.”   In classical Greek , gnōrizō means, “to make known; to point out” or, “to become acquainted with; to discover.”  In the LXX (Septuagint) the predominant meaning seems to be, “to make known” (see Prov. 22:19; Ezek. 44:23; Dan. 2:6, 10). 

        “But if ye make known (gnōrisēte)  to me the dream…”
        “The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, ‘There is no man upon the earth who shall be able to make known (gnōrisai)  the king’s matter…” (Dan. 2:6, 10 LXX).

        “That thy hope may be in the LORD, and He may make thy way known (gnōrisēi) to thee…” (Prov. 22:19 LXX).
        “And they shall teach My people to {distinguish} between holy and profane, and they shall make known (gnōriousin) to them {the difference} between unclean and clean” (Ezekiel 44:23 LXX).

The sense here is, “to declare, make known.”  If I am assured that my continuing to live is fruitful for the church, then I say nothing as to my personal preference.  I do not declare my choice.  It is not for me to express a choice.


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