|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-7 Faith in Christ, and love to him, should unite saints more closely than any outward relation can unite the people of the world. Paul in his private prayers was particular in remembering his friends. We must remember Christian friends much and often, as their cases may need, bearing them in our thoughts, and upon our hearts, before our God. Different sentiments and ways in what is not essential, must not make difference of affection, as to the truth. He inquired concerning his friends, as to the truth, growth, and fruitfulness of their graces, their faith in Christ, and love to him, and to all the saints. The good which Philemon did, was matter of joy and comfort to him and others, who therefore desired that he would continue and abound in good fruits, more and more, to God's honour.
Verse 4. - I thank my God always. We ought, therefore, to thank God, not only for gifts bestowed upon ourselves, but also for those bestowed upon others. This is an habitual phrase of St. Paul (comp. Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:3). "It is to be noted that for the thing on account of which he gives thanks, he at the same time prays" (Calvin). For no good work is ever so complete in us that it does not need to be "continued and ended" in us by God. Making mention of thee in my prayers. The foregoing remark attain applies. Grotius observes that "we learn from this that all addresses to God may be called prayers προσευχὰς, even those in which nothing is asked but thanks are given." But this is apparently not such a case; the petition which St. Paul offered for Philemon being stated in Ver. 6. And thus Chrysostom explains the passage. "Always" may be connected with "I thank," or with "making mention," preferably the former (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Calvin, Lightfoot).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I thank my God,.... Meaning on account, of Philemon, for the grace bestowed upon him, thereafter mentioned; See Gill on Romans 1:8 making other saints, Romans 1:9, the apostle was a man much in prayer, frequent at the throne of grace; and he prayed not for himself only, but for all the saints, for all the churches and ministers of the Gospel; whom he not only bore upon his mind and heart, but made mention of them, it may be by name; however, he remembered them, and put up petitions, with thanksgivings, for them; and so he did for Philemon; and which he takes notice of with the same view as before: the word, "always", is so placed in the original text, as to be put either to his thanks to God, or his prayers, and may be true of both; the Syriac and Arabic versions join it to the former; and the Vulgate Latin and the Ethiopic versions place it to the latter.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. always—joined by Alford with, "I thank my God."
Philemon 1:4 Parallel Commentaries
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