Philippians 3:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

New Living Translation
I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

English Standard Version
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

New American Standard Bible
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

King James Bible
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

International Standard Version
It's not that I have already reached this goal or have already become perfect. But I keep pursuing it, hoping somehow to embrace it just as I have been embraced by the Messiah Jesus.

NET Bible
Not that I have already attained this--that is, I have not already been perfected--but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I have not yet received it, neither am I yet perfect, but I run so that I may obtain that thing for which Yeshua The Messiah apprehended me.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It's not that I've already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Not as though I had already attained it, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if I may lay hold of that for which I have also been laid hold of by the Christ, Jesus.

King James 2000 Bible
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if indeed I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

American King James Version
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

American Standard Version
Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Not as though I has already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend, wherein I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus.

Darby Bible Translation
Not that I have already obtained [the prize], or am already perfected; but I pursue, if also I may get possession [of it], seeing that also I have been taken possession of by Christ [Jesus].

English Revised Version
Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus.

Webster's Bible Translation
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I pursue, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended by Christ Jesus.

Weymouth New Testament
I do not say that I have already won the race or have already reached perfection. But I am pressing on, striving to lay hold of the prize for which also Christ has laid hold of me.

World English Bible
Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect; but I press on, if it is so that I may take hold of that for which also I was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

Young's Literal Translation
Not that I did already obtain, or have been already perfected; but I pursue, if also I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by the Christ Jesus;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:12-21 This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or were already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot the things which were behind, so as not to be content with past labours or present measures of grace. He reached forth, stretched himself forward towards his point; expressions showing great concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He who runs a race, must never stop short of the end, but press forward as fast as he can; so those who have heaven in their view, must still press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and constant endeavours. Eternal life is the gift of God, but it is in Christ Jesus; through his hand it must come to us, as it is procured for us by him. There is no getting to heaven as our home, but by Christ as our Way. True believers, in seeking this assurance, as well as to glorify him, will seek more nearly to resemble his sufferings and death, by dying to sin, and by crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts. In these things there is a great difference among real Christians, but all know something of them. Believers make Christ all in all, and set their hearts upon another world. If they differ from one another, and are not of the same judgment in lesser matters, yet they must not judge one another; while they all meet now in Christ, and hope to meet shortly in heaven. Let them join in all the great things in which they are agreed, and wait for further light as to lesser things wherein they differ. The enemies of the cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites. Sin is the sinner's shame, especially when gloried in. The way of those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but death and hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shall share their end. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where his Head and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly; he sets his affections upon things above; and where his heart is, there will his conversation be. There is glory kept for the bodies of the saints, in which they will appear at the resurrection. Then the body will be made glorious; not only raised again to life, but raised to great advantage. Observe the power by which this change will be wrought. May we be always prepared for the coming of our Judge; looking to have our vile bodies changed by his Almighty power, and applying to him daily to new-create our souls unto holiness; to deliver us from our enemies, and to employ our bodies and souls as instruments of righteousness in his service.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 12. - Not as though I had already. attained, either were already perfect; the R.V. renders this clause more accurately, not that (1. do not say that) I have already obtained. The verb is not the same with that translated "attain" in ver. 11; it means to get, to win a prize, as in 1 Corinthians 9:24. The tense is aorist: "I say not that I did at once win the prize;" that is, at the time of his conversion. Compare the tenses used in ver. 8, "I suffered the loss of all things;" and ver. 12, "I was apprehended;" which both refer to the same time. The prize was gained in a moment; it needs the continued effort of a lifetime. St. Paul proceeds, using now the perfect tense, "Nor have I been already made perfect." He has not even now reached perfection; he is still working out his own salvation. There may be here a delicate allusion to the spiritual pride which seems to have disturbed the unity of the Philippians (see Philippians 2:2-4). But I follow after; rather, I pursue, I press on. If that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. The words rendered "for which" (ἐφ ῷ) will admit three different interpretations:

(1) that of A.V., which implies the ellipse of the antecedent "that;"

(2) that given in the margin of R.V., "seeing that;" and

(3) that of the R.V., "for which," for which purpose (that is, that I may press on and persevere) I was also apprehended by Christ Jesus. All these translations are possible, and all give a good sense. Perhaps

(2) best suits the context, "I press on to lay hold o[the prize, because Christ first laid hold of me." The grace of the Lord Jesus furnishes the highest motive; it is the Christian's bounden duty to press on always in the Christian race, because Christ first called him.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Not as though I had already attained,.... Or "received"; he had received much grace out of the fulness of it in Christ; he had received the gift of righteousness, the forgiveness of his sins, and the adoption of children; he had attained to a lively hope of the incorruptible inheritance, and had received a right unto it, and had a meetness for it; but as yet he had not received the thing itself, nor was he come to the end of his race, and so had not received the crown of righteousness laid up for him; he had not yet attained to perfect knowledge, nor perfect holiness, nor perfect happiness: wherefore he adds,

either were already perfect; he was perfect in comparison of others, that were in a lower class of grace, experience, and knowledge, in which sense the word is used in Philippians 3:15, and in 1 Corinthians 2:6; he was so, as perfection intends sincerity, uprightness, and integrity; the root of the matter, the truth of grace was in him; his faith was unfeigned, his love was without dissimulation, his hope was without hypocrisy, his conversation in the world was in godly simplicity, and his preaching and his whole conduct in his ministry were of sincerity, and in the sight of God: he was perfect as a new creature with respect to parts, having Christ formed in him, and all the parts of the new man, though not as to degrees; this new man not being as yet grown up to a perfect man, or to its full growth, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; he was perfect with respect to justification, being perfectly justified from all things, by the righteousness of Christ, but not with respect to sanctification; and though his sanctification was perfect in Christ, yet not in himself; his knowledge was imperfect, something was wanting in his faith, and sin dwelt in him, of which he sometimes grievously complained: now this he says, lest he should be thought to arrogate that to himself, which he had not:

but I follow after; Christ the forerunner, after perfect knowledge of him, perfect holiness from him, and perfect happiness with him: the metaphor is taken from runners in a race, who pursue it with eagerness, press forward with all might and main, to get up to the mark, in order to receive the prize; accordingly the Syriac version renders it, , "I run", and so the Arabic: the apostle's sense is, that though he had not yet reached the mark, he pressed forward towards it, he had it in view, he stretched and exerted himself, and followed up very closely to it, in hope of enjoying the prize:

if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus; he was apprehended of Christ, when he met him in his way to Damascus, stopped him in his journey, laid him prostrate on the ground, and laid hold on him as his own, challenged and claimed his interest in him, Acts 9:3, as one that the Father had given him, and he had purchased by his blood; he entered into him, and took possession of him, and took up his residence in him, having dispossessed the strong man armed, and ever since held him as his own; and he apprehended, or laid hold on him, to bring him as he had engaged to do, to a participation of grace here, and glory hereafter; that he might know him himself, and make him known to others; that he might be made like unto him, have communion with him, and everlastingly enjoy him: and these things the apostle pursued after with great vehemence, that he might apprehend them, and be in full possession of them; and which he did, in the way and manner hereafter described.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

12. Translate, "Not that I," &c. (I do not wish to be understood as saying that, &c.).

attained—"obtained," namely, a perfect knowledge of Christ, and of the power of His death, and fellowship of His sufferings, and a conformity to His death.

either were already perfect—"or am already perfected," that is, crowned with the garland of victory, my course completed, and perfection absolutely reached. The image is that of a race course throughout. See 1Co 9:24; Heb 12:23. See Trench [Greek Synonyms of the New Testament].

I follow after—"I press on."

apprehend … apprehended—"If so be that I may lay hold on that (namely, the prize, Php 3:14) for which also I was laid hold on by Christ" (namely, at my conversion, So 1:4; 1Co 13:12).

Jesus—omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Paul was close to "apprehending" the prize (2Ti 4:7, 8). Christ the Author, is also the Finisher of His people's "race."

Philippians 3:12 Additional Commentaries
Context
Press on Toward the Goal
12Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,…
Cross References
Matthew 5:48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Acts 9:5
"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.

Romans 8:39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 13:10
but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Philippians 1:1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God's holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Philippians 3:3
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh--

Philippians 3:8
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:19
In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Treasury of Scripture

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

I had.

Philippians 3:13,16 Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing …

Psalm 119:5,173-176 O that my ways were directed to keep your statutes!…

Romans 7:19-24 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do…

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the …

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto …

James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, …

already perfect.

Job 17:9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that has clean hands …

Psalm 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, …

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more …

1 Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part …

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves …

2 Corinthians 13:9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and you are strong: and this also …

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for …

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written …

Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you …

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory …

2 Peter 1:5-8 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; …

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus …

I follow.

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God …

Psalm 42:1 As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after you, O God.

Psalm 63:1-3,8 O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for …

Psalm 84:2 My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD: my heart …

Psalm 94:15 But judgment shall return to righteousness: and all the upright in …

Isaiah 51:1 Listen to me, you that follow after righteousness, you that seek …

Hosea 6:3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth …

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that …

1 Timothy 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, …

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, …

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall …

1 Peter 3:11-13 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it…

that I.

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God …

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto …

apprehended.

Psalm 110:2,3 The LORD shall send the rod of your strength out of Zion: rule you …

Acts 9:3-6,15 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined …

Ephesians 1:4 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the …

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved …

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