|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.
Verse 24. - Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. To abide by the flesh (if with some authorities the preposition is omitted), to hold to this human life with all its trials, is more needful for your sake. Meyer quotes Seneca, 'Epist.' 98, "Vitae suae adjici nihil desiderat sua causa, sed eorum, quibus utilis est."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh,.... To continue in the body, not always, but a little longer,
is more needful for you; for their comfort, edification, and instruction, their further profiting: and increase in faith, and the joy of it. The Syriac version renders the words thus, "but business for you", or "a good will towards you compels me to abide in the body"; and the Arabic version thus, "notwithstanding I choose to remain in the flesh, and this I think very necessary for you"; so that upon the whole, the argument for living longer on consideration of glorifying Christ, and of being more useful to the good of souls, preponderated with him; inclined him to desire rather to live than die; though the latter was better for him, and more to his personal advantage; and thus, like a brave and good man, he prefers a public good to a private one.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. to abide—to continue somewhat longer.
for you—Greek, "on your account"; "for your sake." In order to be of service to you, I am willing to forego my entrance a little sooner into blessedness; heaven will not fail to be mine at last.
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