Philippians 1:23
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;

New Living Translation
I'm torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.

English Standard Version
I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

New American Standard Bible
But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;

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

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ--which is far better--

International Standard Version
Indeed, I cannot decide between the two. I have the desire to leave this life and be with the Messiah, for that is far better.

NET Bible
I feel torn between the two, because I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For two things are pressing upon me: I desire to depart that I might be with The Messiah, and this would be much better for me,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I find it hard to choose between the two. I would like to leave this life and be with Christ. That's by far the better choice.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For I am in a strait between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better:

King James 2000 Bible
For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

American King James Version
For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

American Standard Version
But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better:

Douay-Rheims Bible
But I am straitened between two: having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better.

Darby Bible Translation
But I am pressed by both, having the desire for departure and being with Christ, [for] [it is] very much better,

English Revised Version
But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better:

Webster's Bible Translation
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Weymouth New Testament
I am in a dilemma, my earnest desire being to depart and be with Christ, for that is far, far better.

World English Bible
But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Young's Literal Translation
for I am pressed by the two, having the desire to depart, and to be with Christ, for it is far better,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

1:21-26 Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle's difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 23. - For I am in a strait betwixt two; rather, but (so the best manuscripts) I am straitened, hemmed in (Bishop Lightfoot) betwixt the two alternatives, life and death, pressing upon me, constraining me on either side. Having a desire to depart; having my desire set towards departing εἰς τὸ ἀναλῦσαι). The word occurs again in 2 Timothy 4:6, Ὁ καιρὸς τῆς ἐμῆς ἀναλύσεως It is used of a ship, to loose from its moorings; or a camp, to break up; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:1, "If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved (καταλυθῇ)." Probably here the metaphor is taken from tent life; to loosen, to remove the tent, the temporary abode, in the journey to the heavenly city. And to be with Christ. The holy dead are with Christ, they rest from their labors; they live unto God (Luke 20:38); they do not sleep idly without consciousness, for they are described in Holy Scripture as witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) of the race set before living Christians (comp. also 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 and Acts 7:59). Yet they are elsewhere described as sleeping (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 15); for the rest of the spirits of just men in Paradise is as a sleep compared with the perfect consummation and bliss of God's elect, both in body and soul, in his everlasting glory. Which is far better; read and translate, for it is by much very far better. He piles up comparatives, as if unable to find words capable of expressing the glory of his hope.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For I am in a strait betwixt two,.... Life and death; or between these "two counsels", as the Arabic version reads; two thoughts and desires of the mind, a desire to live for the reasons above, and a desire to die for a reason following. The apostle was pressed with a difficulty in his mind about this, as David was when he was bid to choose which he would, either seven years' famine, or three months' flight before his enemies, or three days' pestilence; upon which he said, I am in a great strait, 2 Samuel 24:14; to which passage it is thought the apostle alludes; the same word as here is used by Christ, Luke 12:50,

having a desire to depart; to die, a way of speaking much in use with the Jews, as expressive of death; thus Abraham is represented by them speaking after this manner on account of his two sons Isaac and Ishmael, the one being righteous and the other wicked (c),

"says he, if I bless Isaac, lo, Ishmael will seek to be blessed, and he is wicked; but a servant am I, flesh and blood am I, and tomorrow , "I shall depart out of the world", or "die"; and what pleases the holy blessed God himself in his own world, let him do: "when Abraham was dismissed" or "departed", the holy blessed God appeared to Isaac and blessed him:

and again it is said (d),

"iniquities are not atoned for, until , "a man is dismissed", or "departs out of the world";

and once more (e),

"when a man , "departs out of this world"; according to his merit he ascends above;

See Gill on John 13:1; the same word is used in the Syriac version here; death is departing out of this life, a going out of the body, a removal out of this world; it is like moving from one place to another, from the world below to the world above; with the saints it is no other than a removing from one house to another, from the earthly house of their tabernacle, the body, to their Father's house, and the mansions of glory in it, preparing for them. Death is not an annihilation of men, neither of soul nor body; it is a separation of them, but not a destruction of either; it is a dissolution of the union between them for a while, when both remain in a separate state till the resurrection: now this the apostle had a desire unto, which was not a new and sudden motion of mind; it was a thought that had long dwelt with him, and still continued; and this desire after death was not for the sake of death, for death in itself is a king of terrors, very formidable and terrible, and not desirable; it is an enemy, the last enemy that shall be destroyed; it is contrary to nature, and to desire it is contrary to a first principle in nature, self-preservation; but death is desired for some other end; wicked men desire it, and desire others to put an end to their lives, or do it themselves to free them from some trouble they are in; or because they are not able to support under a disappointment of what their ambition or lust have prompted them to: good men desire death, though always when right, with a submission to the will of God, that they may be rid of sin, which so much dishonours God as well as distresses themselves; and that they may be clothed upon with the shining robes of immortality and glory; and as the apostle here,

to be with Christ: for the former clause is to be strictly connected with this; he did not desire merely to depart this life, but chiefly to be with Christ, and the former only in order to the latter; the saints are in Christ now, chosen in him, set upon his heart, and put into his hands, are created in him, and brought to believe in him, and are in him as branches in the vine; and he is in them, formed in their hearts, lives and dwells in them by faith, and they have sometimes communion with him in private duties and public worship; he comes into them and sups with them, and they with him: but this is only at times, he is as a wayfaring man that continues but for a night; hence the present state of the saints is a state of absence from Christ; while they are at home in the body, they are absent from the Lord, especially as to his bodily presence; but after death they are immediately with him, where he is in his human nature; and their souls in their separate state continue with him till the resurrection morn, when their bodies will be raised and reunited to their souls, and be both for ever with him, beholding his glory, and enjoying uninterrupted communion with him; which will be the completion and full end of Christ's preparations and prayers: hence it appears that there is a future being and state after death: the apostle desires to depart this life, and "be", exist, be somewhere, "with Christ"; for the only happy being after death is with him; if souls are not with him, they are with devils and damned spirits, in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: and it is also manifest that souls do not sleep with the body in the grave until the resurrection; the souls of the saints are immediately with Christ, in the enjoyment of his presence, in happiness and glory, hoping, believing, and waiting for the resurrection of their bodies; had the apostle known that he must have remained after death in a state of inactivity and uselessness, deprived of the communion of Christ and of his church, it would have been no difficulty with him to determine which was most eligible, to live or die; and it would have been much better for him, and more to the advantage of the churches, if he had continued upon earth to this day, than to be sleeping in his grave, senseless and inactive; whereas he adds,

which is far better: to depart and be with Christ is better than to live in the flesh in this sinful world, in the midst of a variety of sorrows and troubles, and in which communion with Christ is but now and then enjoyed, though such a life is better than sleeping in the grave; but upon a soul's departure and being with Christ, it is free from sin and sorrow, and in the utmost pleasure, enjoying communion with him without interruption; and this is better than labouring in the ministry: for though no man took more pleasure in the work of the ministry than the apostle did, and no man's ministry was more profitable and useful; yet it was toilsome, laborious, and wearisome to the flesh; wherefore dying and being with Jesus could not but be desirable, since he should then rest from his labours, and his works would follow him; at least it was better for him, and so the Syriac version adds, "to me", far better for me; and so the Arabic: to live longer might be better and more to the advantage of Christ, the glory of his name, the good of his churches, it might be better for others; but leaving the world and being with Christ were better for him; and this was an argument swaying on the side of death, and inclining him to desire that, and made it so difficult with him what to choose,

(c) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 11. fol. 202. 3.((d) Zohar in Numb. fol. 51. 3.((e) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 2. 1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

23. For—The oldest manuscripts read, "But." "I know not (Php 1:22), BUT am in a strait (am perplexed) betwixt the two (namely, 'to live' and 'to die'), having the desire for departing (literally, 'to loose anchor,' 2Ti 4:6) and being with Christ; FOR (so the oldest manuscripts) it is by far better"; or as the Greek, more forcibly, "by far the more preferable"; a double comparative. This refutes the notion of the soul being dormant during its separation from the body. It also shows that, while he regarded the Lord's advent as at all times near, yet that his death before it was a very possible contingency. The partial life eternal is in the interval between death and Christ's second advent; the perfectional, at that advent [Bishop Pearson]. To depart is better than to remain in the flesh; to be with Christ is far, far better; a New Testament hope (Heb 12:24), [Bengel].

Philippians 1:23 Additional Commentaries
To Live is Christ
22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.…
Cross References
John 12:26
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

2 Corinthians 5:8
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:24
but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

2 Timothy 4:6
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.
Treasury of Scripture

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


2 Samuel 24:14 And David said to Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into …

1 Thessalonians 2:1,13 For yourselves, brothers, know our entrance in to you, that it was …

Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened …

2 Corinthians 6:12 You are not straitened in us, but you are straitened in your own bowels.

a desire.

Luke 2:29,30 Lord, now let you your servant depart in peace, according to your word…

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour …

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the …

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.


Job 19:26,27 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh …

Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall …

Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed sought him that …

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, To day shall you be with …

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive …

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me …

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling on God, and saying, Lord Jesus, …

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the …

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with …

Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write, Blessed are …


Psalm 16:10,11 For you will not leave my soul in hell; neither will you suffer your …

Psalm 17:15 As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, …

Psalm 73:24-26 You shall guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory…

Revelation 7:14-17 And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they …

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