|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:10-19 It is a good work to succour and help a good minister in trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favourable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things for him, and to his glory.
Verse 12. - I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. St. Paul had experience both of sorrow and of joy, both of distress and of comfort; he knew how to bear himself in both, because his chiefest joy was "in the Lord." This abiding joy raised him above the vicissitudes of this mortal state, and gave him an αὐτάρεκια, a Christian independence, which enabled him to act becomingly both in adversity and in prosperity. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed; literally, as R.V., in everything and in all things; as we say, "in each and all," in every condition separately and in all collectively. The R.V. translates more accurately, "have I learned the secret." The Greek μεμύημαι means properly, "I have been' initiated." It is a word adapted from the old Greek mysteries; comp. B.C.ngel, "Disciplina arcana imbutus sum, ignota mundo." St. Paul represents the advanced Christian life as a mystery, the secrets of which are taught by God. the Holy Ghost to the soul that longs to prove in its own personal experience "what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." St. Paul frequently uses the word μυστήριον, mystery, for the truths once hidden but now brought to light by the gospel. Both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. The word rendered "to be full" (χορτάζεσθαι) is strictly used of animals, and means "to be foddered;" in the New Testament and later Greek it is used also of men, without any depreciatory significance, as in Matthew 5:6, "They shall be filled (χορτασθήσονται)."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I know both how to be abased,.... Or "humbled"; to be treated with indignity and contempt, to be trampled upon by man, to suffer hardships and distress, to be in a very mean and low condition, to work with his own hands, and minister to his own and the necessities of others in that way; yea, to be in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, and have no certain dwelling place; and he knew how to behave under all this; not to be depressed and cast down, or to fret, repine, and murmur:
and I know how to abound; or "to excel"; to be in the esteem of men, and to have an affluence of the things of this world, and how to behave in the midst of plenty; so as not to be lifted up, to be proud and haughty, and injurious to fellow creatures; so as not to abuse the good things of life; and so as to use them to the honour of God, the interest of religion, and the good of fellow creatures, and fellow Christians:
every where; whether among Jews or Gentiles, at Jerusalem or at Rome, or at whatsoever place; or as the Arabic version renders it, "every time": always, in every season, whether of adversity or prosperity:
and in all things; in all circumstances of life:
I am instructed; or "initiated", as he was by the Gospel; and, ever since he embraced it, was taught this lesson of contentment, and inured to the exercise of it, and was trained up and instructed how to behave himself in the different changes and vicissitudes he came into:
both to be full, and to be hungry; to know what it was to have plenty and want, to have a full meal and to want one, and be almost starved and famished, and how to conduct under such different circumstances:
both to abound and to suffer need; which the apostle repeats for confirmation sake; and the whole of what he here says is an explanation of the lesson of contentment he had learned; and the knowledge he speaks of was not speculative but experimental, and lay not merely in theory, but in practice; and now lest he should be thought guilty of arrogance, and to ascribe too much to himself, he in Philippians 4:13 attributes all to the power and grace of Christ.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. abased—in low circumstances (2Co 4:8; 6:9, 10).
everywhere—rather, "in each, and in all things" [Alford].
instructed—in the secret. Literally, "initiated" in a secret teaching, which is a mystery unknown to the world.
Philippians 4:12 Parallel Commentaries
Philippians 4:12 NIV
Philippians 4:12 NLT
Philippians 4:12 ESV
Philippians 4:12 NASB
Philippians 4:12 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible