|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:19-30 It is best with us, when our duty becomes natural to us. Naturally, that is, sincerely, and not in pretence only; with a willing heart and upright views. We are apt to prefer our own credit, ease, and safety, before truth, holiness, and duty; but Timothy did not so. Paul desired liberty, not that he might take pleasure, but that he might do good. Epaphroditus was willing to go to the Philippians, that he might be comforted with those who had sorrowed for him when he was sick. It seems, his illness was caused by the work of God. The apostle urges them to love him the more on that account. It is doubly pleasant to have our mercies restored by God, after great danger of their removal; and this should make them more valued. What is given in answer to prayer, should be received with great thankfulness and joy.
Verse 30. - Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death. The readings vary between "Christ" and "the Lord." One ancient manuscript reads simply, "for the work's sake." The work in this case consisted in ministering to the wants of St. Paul. Translate the following words, with R.V., he came nigh unto death. Not regarding his life; rather, as R.V., hazarding his life, which translation represents the best-supported reading, παραβολευσάμενος: the verb literally means "to lay down a stake, to gamble." Hence the word Parabolani, the name given to certain brotherhoods in the ancient Church who undertook the hazardous work of tending the sick and burying the dead in times of pestilence. The A.V. represents the reading παραβουλευσάμενος consulting amiss. To supply your lack of service toward me; rather, as R.V., that which was lacking in your service. The Philippians are not blamed. Epaphroditus did that which their absence prevented them from doing. His illness was caused by over-exertion in attending to the apostle's wants, or, it may be, by the hardships of the journey. Υμῶν must be taken closely with ὑστέρημα, the lack of your presence. St. Paul, with exquisite delicacy, represents the absence of the Philippians as something lacking to his complete satisfaction, something which he missed, and which Epaphroditus supplied.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death,.... Meaning either the work the church sent him about, and which he cheerfully undertook, and faithfully performed in carrying of a present to, and visiting the apostle in prison; which is called the work of Christ, because taken by Christ as if it was done to himself; and which, what with the long and fatiguing journey from Philippi to Rome, and the frequent visits he made to the apostle, and the much business besides that lay upon his hands, brought upon him a disorder which greatly threatened his life, and had almost issued in his death: or else the work of preaching the Gospel so frequently and constantly, and with so much zeal and vehemency at Rome; and which may be called the work of Christ, because it is what he calls unto, and qualities for, and in which his glory is greatly concerned; and on which this good man was so intent, gladly spending himself, and being spent in it, that he was brought through it to the brink of the grave:
not regarding his life: he was careless of that, and of his health; he loved not his life, nor counted it dear to himself; he rather despised it, and made no account of it, being very willing to deliver it up, and sacrifice it in such a good work and cause:
to supply your lack of service towards me; to do that in their name, room, and stead, which they, through absence, could not do in person; signifying, that what was done to him, and for him, was but a piece of service and duty to him; and which this good man and faithful minister and messenger of theirs having done for them to the hazard of his life, he ought therefore to be received by them with great joy, and to be highly honoured and respected.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
30. for the work of Christ—namely, the bringing of a supply to me, the minister of Christ. He was probably in a delicate state of health in setting out from Philippi; but at all hazards he undertook this service of Christian love, which cost him a serious sickness.
not regarding his life—Most of the oldest manuscripts read, "hazarding," &c.
to supply your lack of service—Not that Paul would imply, they lacked the will: what they "lacked" was the "opportunity" by which to send their accustomed bounty (Php 4:10). "That which ye would have done if you could (but which you could not through absence), he did for you; therefore receive him with all joy" [Alford].
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