|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 15. - Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel when I departed from Macedonia. He reminds them delicately of their former liberality to show his love for them; he was not unwilling to receive kindnesses from them. He had always refused to accept contributions from the Corinthians; but the bonds which bound him to the Macedonian Churches were closer and tenderer. In the beginning of the gospel; when he first preached in Macedonia, ten years ago. The words, "when I departed from Macedonia," may refer either to some gifts not mentioned elsewhere, sent to him when be left Beroea for Athens; or, if the aorist be taken in a pluperfect sense, to the supplies afterwards sent to him at Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:8, 9). No Church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. Chrysostom understands this of giving worldly things and receiving spiritual things (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:11). But the context seems to restrict the meaning to temporal gifts: the Philippians gave, St. Paul received. Bengel says, "Poterant diccre, Faciemus, si alii fecerint: nunc eo major horum laus est: ceterorum, eo minor."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now ye Philippians know also,.... As well as the apostle did, that they not only communicated now, but also had done formerly, and when none else beside them did; wherefore he not only commends them for their present kindness to him, but for their past favours:
that in the beginning of the Gospel; of the preaching of it by the apostle in the parts of Macedonia, particularly at Philippi; as soon as ever the Gospel was preached to them, they showed a grateful and beneficent spirit; of which we have an instance in Lydia, the first person we read of converted there, and also in the jailer, who was the next; see Acts 16:12; yea, not only while he was with them they communicated to him, but when he was gone from them:
when I departed from Macedonia; when he went to Corinth and other places, to preach the Gospel in other parts and to other people, they sent the brethren after him with presents which supplied what was lacking to him, and in which other churches were deficient; see 2 Corinthians 11:8; the Ethiopic version reads, "when ye went from Macedonia with me": but is not supported by any copy or other version:
no church communicated with me, as concerning giving and receiving,
but ye only; the phrase, "giving and receiving", is the same with avm wmtN, which is often used by the Jews for trading and commerce (e); and the allusion is to the keeping of accounts by men in business, by debtor and creditor, in a book, putting down in one column what is delivered out, and in the other what is received, whereby accounts are kept clear: the apostle's meaning is, that whereas he and his fellow ministers had delivered out spiritual things to this church, they had in return communicated their carnal things; so that there was a proper account kept, which was not observed by other churches, and which was greatly to the commendation of this,
(e) Vid. Kimchi in Psal. xv. 3. & Targum in Isa. ix. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Now—"Moreover." Arrange as Greek, "Ye also know (as well as I do myself)."
in the beginning of the gospel—dating from the Philippian Christian era; at the first preaching of the Gospel at Philippi.
when I departed from Macedonia—(Ac 17:14). The Philippians had followed Paul with their bounty when he left Macedonia and came to Corinth. 2Co 11:8, 9 thus accords with the passage here, the dates assigned to the donation in both Epistles agreeing; namely, "in the beginning of the Gospel" here, and there, at the time of his first visit to Corinth [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ]. However, the supply meant here is not that which he received at Corinth, but the supply sent to him when "in Thessalonica, once and again" (Php 4:16), [Alford].
as concerning giving and receiving—In the account between us, "the giving" was all on your part; "the receiving" all on mine.
ye only—We are not to wait for others in a good work, saying, "I will do so, when others do it." We must go forward, though alone.
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