Philippians 1:14
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
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(14) And many (properly, the greater number) of the brethren in the Lord.—The words “in the Lord” should be connected with “trusting,” as in Philippians 2:24; Galatians 5:10; 2Thessalonians 3:4. As connected with the word “brethren,” they are unmeaning; whereas St. Paul constantly uses them (especially in these Epistles), generally with a verb or verbal adjective, and always to convey some distinct idea. That the words “in my bonds” follow constitutes no difficulty. “In the Lord” expresses the ground of confidence; “in my bonds” simply the occasion and circumstances.

Waxing confident by my bonds.—There is a two-fold sense here, corresponding to the two-fold division of preachers made below. Those who preached Christ “of contention” trusted in St. Paul’s captivity as giving them scope; those who preached “of good will” found in it a striking example of evil overruled to good, and so gained from it fresh encouragement.

1:12-20 The apostle was a prisoner at Rome; and to take off the offence of the cross, he shows the wisdom and goodness of God in his sufferings. These things made him known, where he would never have otherwise been known; and led some to inquire after the gospel. He suffered from false friends, as well as from enemies. How wretched the temper of those who preached Christ out of envy and contention, and to add affliction to the bonds that oppressed this best of men! The apostle was easy in the midst of all. Since our troubles may tend to the good of many, we ought to rejoice. Whatever turns to our salvation, is by the Spirit of Christ; and prayer is the appointed means of seeking for it. Our earnest expectation and hope should not be to be honoured of men, or to escape the cross, but to be upheld amidst temptation, contempt, and affliction. Let us leave it to Christ, which way he will make us serviceable to his glory, whether by labour or suffering, by diligence or patience, by living to his honour in working for him, or dying to his honour in suffering for him.And many of the brethren - Many Christians. It is evident from this, that there were already "many" in Rome who professed Christianity.

In the Lord - In the Lord Jesus; that is, united to him and to each other by a professed attachment to him. This is a common phrase to, designate Christians.

Waxing confident by my bonds - Becoming increasingly bold and zealous in consequence of my being confined. This might have been either:

(1) that from the very fact that so distinguished a champion of the truth had been imprisoned, they were excited to do all they could in the cause of the gospel. Or,

(2) they were aroused by the fact that the cause of his imprisonment had become generally understood, and that there was a strong current of popular favor setting toward Christianity in consequence of it. Or,

(3) they had had contact with Paul in his own "hired house," and had been incited and encouraged by him to put forth great efforts in the cause. Or,

(4) it would seem that some had been emboldened to promulgate their views, and set themselves up as preachers, who would have been restrained if Paul had been at liberty.

They were disposed to form parties, and to secure followers, and rejoiced in an opportunity to increase their own popularity, and were not unwilling thus to diminish the popularity and lessen the influence of so great a man as Paul. Had he been at liberty, they would have had no prospect of success; see Philippians 1:16. To this may be added a suggestion by Theodoret. "Many of the brethren have increased boldness - θάρσος tharsos - on account of my bonds. For seeing me bear such hard things with pleasure, they announce that the gospel (which sustains me) is divine." The same sentiment occurs in Oecumen, and Theophylact; see Bloomfield. In Paul himself they had an illustration of the power of religion, and being convinced of its truth, they went and proclaimed it abroad.

To speak the word without fear - That is, they see that I remain safely (compare Acts 28:30), and that there is no danger of persecution, and, stimulated by my sufferings and patience, they go and make the gospel known.

14. Translate as Greek, "And that (Php 1:13) most of the brethren in the Lord," &c. "In the Lord," distinguishes them from "brethren after the flesh," Jewish fellow countrymen. Ellicott translates, "Trusting in the Lord."

by my bonds—encouraged by my patience in bearing my bonds.

much more bold—Translate as Greek, "are more abundantly bold."

See Poole on "Philippians 1:13"

And many of the brethren in the Lord,.... This is another instance of the usefulness of the apostle's sufferings, and another proof of their being for the furtherance of the Gospel; they were not only the means of the conversion of many that were without, but were very encouraging and strengthening to them that were within the church, and to many that were in the ministry; who are called "brethren", some real, others nominal; being partakers of the grace of God, at least in profession, or otherwise they would not have been fit to have been ministers of the word, nor members of a Gospel church, which was necessary to their being regularly sent forth; and whom the apostle calls and owns as brethren in the ministry, being sent forth by Christ, at least some of them, and having the same commission to preach the Gospel as he had; though they had not equal gifts and qualifications with him: he styles them brethren "in the Lord", to distinguish them from the Jews at Rome, who were his brethren according to the flesh; and to express their spiritual character and relation, and point out the work of the Lord, in which they were jointly concerned with him: now though not all the brethren, yet many of them were greatly affected with, and influenced by the apostle's patient and cheerfully suffering for Christ; insomuch that, as he says,

waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear; or as some read it, "waxing confident in the Lord"; connecting the phrase, "in the Lord", with this word, and so make the ground and object of their confidence the Lord; whose presence, power, grace, and Spirit, emboldened them the more by the apostle's bonds to preach the Gospel with courage and intrepidity; the Lord being on their side, and their helper, they feared not what men could do unto them; or else being animated by the apostle's patience and firmness of mind in suffering, and by the use they saw his bonds were of for the spread of the Gospel, they took heart and courage to "speak the word"; the word "of God", as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read; and so the Alexandrian, Claromontane, and two of Stephens's copies: meaning either the essential word, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the subject of their ministry; or the written word, the writings of Moses and the prophets, the books of the Old Testament, according to which they spoke; or the Gospel, called often the word, and sometimes with an addition, the word of truth, the word of faith, the word of reconciliation, the word of righteousness, the word of life, and the word of our salvation, from the several subjects of it: this they spake boldly and freely, as it ought to be spoken, and "without fear", not without fear and reverence of God, whose word it is; nor of themselves and their own weakness and inabilities, which cause much fear and trembling; but without the fear of man, which brings a snare; they had no regard to the threats and menaces, the reproaches and persecutions of men; none of these things moved them; they feared God and not man, and so went on boldly, preaching the Gospel; which is related with pleasure, as a fruit and effect of the apostle's sufferings, and which he doubted not would be very delightful to the Philippians to hear of.

And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the {k} word without fear.

(k) The Gospel is called the word, to set forth the excellence of it.

Php 1:14. τοὺς πλείονας] the majority, 1 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Corinthians 15:6, et al. It is not to be more precisely specified or limited.

ἐν κυρίῳ] belongs not to ἀδελφῶν (Luther, Castalio, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Heinrichs, van Hengel, de Wette, Ewald, Weiss, and others)—in which case it would not indeed have needed a connecting article (Colossians 1:2; Colossians 4:7), yet would have been entirely superfluous—but to πεποιθότας, along with which, however, it is not to be rendered: relying upon the Lord with respect to my bonds (Rheinwald, Flatt, Rilliet, comp. Schneckenburger, p. 301). It means rather: in the Lord trusting my bonds, so that ἐν κυρίῳ is the specific modal definition of πεποιθ. τοῖς δ. μ., which trust is based and depends on Christ. Comp. Php 2:24; Galatians 5:10; Romans 14:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:4. On the dative, comp. 2 Corinthians 10:7; Philemon 1:21, and the ordinary usage in the classics; in the New Testament mostly with ἐπί or ἐν. Ἐν κυρίῳ is placed first as the correlative of the ἐν Χριστ., Php 1:13. As the apostle’s bonds had become generally known as in Christ, so also in Christ (who will not abandon the work of His prisoner that had thus become so manifest) may be found the just ground of the confidence which encourages the brethren, Paul’s fellow-Christians in Rome, ἀφόβως τ. λ. λαλεῖν. They trust the bonds of the apostle, inasmuch as these bonds exhibit to them not only an encouraging example of patience (Grotius), but also (comp. Php 3:8; Colossians 1:24 f.; 2 Timothy 2:8 f.; Matthew 5:11 f., and many other passages) a practical guarantee, highly honourable to Christ and His gospel, of the complete truth and justice, power and glory of the word,[64] for the sake of which Paul is in bonds; thereby, instead of losing their courage, they are only made all the bolder in virtue of the elevating influence of moral sympathy with this situation of the apostle in bonds. Weiss explains as if the passage ran τῇ φανερώσει τῶν δεσμῶν μου (which would tend to the recommendation of the gospel); while Hofmann thinks that, to guard themselves against the danger of being criminally prosecuted on account of their preaching, they relied on the apostle’s imprisonment, in so far as the latter had now shown itself, in the judicial process that had at length been commenced, to be solely on account of Christ, and not for anything culpable. The essential elements, forsooth, are thus introduced in consequence of the way in which Hofmann has construed for himself the situation (see on Php 1:13).

περισσοτ.] i.e. in a higher degree than they had formerly ventured upon, before I lay here in bonds. Their ἀφοβία in preaching had increased. This, however, is explained by Hofmann, in accordance with the above hypothesis, by the fact that the political guiltlessness of preaching Christ had now been established,—thus referring, in fact, the increase of their fearless boldness to a sense of legal security. But the reason of the increased ἀφοβία lay deeper, in the sphere of the moral idea, which manifested itself in the apostle’s bonds, and in accordance with which they trusted those bonds in the Lord, seeing them borne for the Lord’s sake. They animated the brethren to boldness through that holy confidence, rooted in Christ, with which they imbued them.

τὸν λόγου λαλεῖν] i.e. to let the gospel become known, to preach, Acts 11:19, and frequently. On ἀφόβως, comp. Acts 4:31.

[64] Oecumenius well says: εἰ γὰρ μὴ θεῖον ἧν, φησὶ, τὸ κήρυγμα, οὐκ ἂν ὁ Παῦλος ἠνείχετο ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ δεδέσθαι Comp. ver. 16.

Php 1:14. τοὺς πλείονας. Vaughan holds that “from the universal practice of deciding matters by the vote of a majority the term comes to mean the main body, the society as a whole,” but this scarcely seems needful.—τῶν ἀδ. ἐν Κ. These words surely make up one phrase (so Alf[21], Weizs., Ws[22], etc., as against Lft[23], Lips[24], Myr[25], etc.). Cf. Colossians 1:2. It is difficult to see where the tautology, which is said to be involved in this interpretation, comes in. Probably it is an almost technical combination. Dsm[26] (BS[27], p. 82) notes from Papyri a precisely similar technical use of ἀδελφός in the language of the Serapeum at Memphis.—πεποιθ. τ. δεσμ. μου. “Having confidence in my bonds,” i.e., being encouraged by the favourable light in which his imprisonment was beginning to be regarded when seen in its true character. [This tells in favour of (4) in Php 1:13.] Cf. Philm. 21, πεποιθὼς τῇ ὑπακοῇ σου.—λαλεῖν. Hpt[28] believes that λαλ. is used here expressly instead of λέγειν as emphasising the physiological process rather than the word spoken. In the later language these refinements were apt to be overlooked. Still it is interesting to find that in LXX דָבַר is almost invariably transl. by λαλεῖν and אָמַר by λέγειν.

[21] Alford’s Greek Testament.

[22] Weiss.

[23] Lightfoot.

[24]ips. Lipsius.

[25] Meyer.

[26] Deissmann (BS. = Bibelstudien, NBS. = Neue Bibelstudien).

[27] Bibelstudien

[28] Haupt.

14. many] Better, most. It is noticeable that the Apostle should imply that there were exceptions. Possibly, he refers here to what comes out more clearly below, the difference between friendly and unfriendly sections among the Roman Christians. We can scarcely doubt (in view of Romans 16 and Acts 28) that the friendly were the majority. If so, St Paul may here practically say that a majority of the brethren were energized into fresh efforts, by his imprisonment, while a minority, also stirred into new activity, were acting on less worthy motives. In view of the context, this seems more likely than that he should merely imply by this phrase that the revival of activity was not universal.

In any case, this verse implies that a spirit of languor and timidity had recently infected the believing community at Rome.

the brethren in the Lord] So also R.V. Bps Ellicott and Lightfoot connect the words here otherwise; “the brethren, having in the Lord confidence, &c.” Grammatically, either is possible. But to us the “rhythm of the sentence,” a sort of evidence not easy to define and explain, but a real item for decision, seems to plead for the connexion in the text. It is true that the precise phrase “brethren in the Lord” is not found elsewhere. But a near parallel is Romans 16:13, “Rufus, the chosen one in the Lord”; for there too the words “in the Lord” are in a certain sense superfluous. See too Romans 16:8; Romans 16:10.

waxing confident] More strictly and simply (for the Greek participle is practically, though not in form, a present), being confident, confiding.—The idea is that of a sense of rest and reassurance after misgivings.

by my bonds] More closely, perhaps, in my bonds. The “confidence was, in a sense, reposed “in,” or on, Paul’s chains, his captivity, just so far as that captivity vividly reminded the Roman believers of the sacredness and goodness of the cause, and of the Person, for whose sake the Apostle unflinchingly incurred it and willingly bore it. The heart is the best interpreter of such words.

For the construction in the Greek, cp. Philemon 1:21, the only exact N.T. parallel. It is found, but rarely, in the LXX.

are much more bold] Lit., and better, more abundantly venture. They “venture” more often, more habitually, than of late.—On the bearing of such statements on the date of the Epistle see Introduction, p. 16.

to speak the word] “The word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18); “of truth” (Ephesians 1:13); “of life” (below, Php 2:16); “of Christ” (Colossians 3:16); “of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:15); &c.—It is the revealed and delivered account of what Christ is, has wrought, &c.—It is observable that St Paul regards such “speaking” as the work, not only of the class of ordained Christians, but of Christians in general. See further on Php 2:16.

Php 1:14. Τῶν ἀδελφῶν, of the brethren) who had formerly been afraid.—ἐν Κυρίῳ, in the Lord) construed with are bold.—τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου, by my bonds) They saw Paul both constant and safe in his confession of Christ.—ἀφόβως, without fear) no one terrifying them. Fear often is no longer felt by [flies from] those who make an attempt.

Verse 14. - And many of the brethren in the Lord; rather, and that most. Most of the brethren took courage; there were exceptions. Waxing confident by my bonds. The words, "in the Lord," are perhaps better taken with being "confident." Their confidence rests upon St. Paul's bonds, but it is in the Lord. St. Paul's example gives them courage, because they know that he is suffering for the love of Christ, and is supported in his sufferings by the grace of Christ. Are much more bold to speak the word without fear; better, more abundantly, as R.V. The best manuscripts read here, "the Word of God." Philippians 1:14Many (τοὺς πλείονας)

Rev., correctly, the most. Lit., the more. Implying that there were a few who held back.

Brethren in the Lord

In the Lord should be rather connected with being confident. The expression brethren in the Lord does not occur in the New Testament; while to have confidence in one in the Lord is found Galatians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:4; compare Philippians 2:24. In the Lord is thus emphatic. It may be correlative with in Christ, Philippians 1:13; but this is not certain. In the Lord trusting my bonds, signifies that the bonds awaken confidence as being the practical testimony to the power of the Gospel for which Paul is imprisoned, and therefore an encouragement to their faith.

Are much more bold (περισσοτέρως τολμᾶν)

Rev., more abundantly bold, thus holding more closely to the literal meaning of the adverb. For are bold, see on 2 Corinthians 10:2. The boldness required to profess Christ within the precincts of the palace is illustrated by the graffito or wall-scribble discovered in 1857 among the ruins on the Palatine. It is a caricature of Christ on the cross, with an ass's head, while on the left appears a christian youth in an attitude of adoration. Underneath are scrawled the words Alexamenos worships God.

To speak (λαλεῖν)

The verb denotes the fact rather than the substance of speaking. See on Matthew 28:18. They have broken silence.

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