Philippians 1:20
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
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(20) My earnest expectation.—The word is only found here and in Romans 8:19 (where see Note). It implies an intense and almost painful longing for some crisis, a dulness of suspense lighted up with hope. The phrase is one of the many indications that the joyful and confident tone so often noticed in this Epistle came not from the absence of yearning for the freedom and activity of apostolic life, but from the victory over such longings through faith. Whatever the crisis might be, St. Paul looked eagerly for it.

In nothing I shall be ashamed.—The phrase is elsewhere used by St. Paul with especial reference to the shame which comes from hopes disappointed and professions unfulfilled. (See 2Corinthians 7:14; 2Corinthians 9:4; 2Corinthians 10:8. Compare also the quotation from Isaiah 28:16 in Romans 9:33; 1Peter 2:6.) For (he says) “hope (fulfilled) maketh not ashamed” (Romans 5:5). So probably here; he trusts that in the hour of trial the confidence which he has felt and professed of being “able to do all things through Christ who strengthenth him” (see Philippians 4:13) may not come to shameful failure, but may “magnify Christ in all boldness of speech.” There is a subtle touch of true Christian feeling in the fact that, when he speaks of the chance of failure, he uses the first person: “I shall be ashamed;” but when of triumph, it is “Christ shall be magnified” in me. If he fails, it must be through his own fault; if he triumphs, it will be through his Master’s strength.

In my body, whether it be by life, or by death.—“In my body:” The phrase is, no doubt, suggested mainly by the idea of death—the death of a martyr in bodily torture or shame. There is the same connection of idea in 2Corinthians 4:10 : “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our body.” But while the word “flesh” is used in the New Testament in a bad sense, the “body” is always regarded as that in which we may “glorify God” (1Corinthians 6:20) by word and deed. It is not merely a vesture of the soul, but a part of the true man (1Thessalonians 5:23), having membership of Christ, and being the temple of the Holy Ghost (1Corinthians 6:15-19). In this passage the whole idea is of Christ in him; hence his body is spoken of as simply the tabernacle of the indwelling presence of Christ, and devoted only to “magnify” Him.

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.According to my earnest expectation - The word used here occurs but in one other place in the New Testament; see it explained in the notes at Romans 8:19. The earnest desire and hope which Paul had was not, primarily, that he might be released; but it was that, in all circumstances, he might be able to honor the gospel, living or dying. To that he looked as a much more important matter than to save his life. Life with him was the secondary consideration; the main thing was, to stand up everywhere as the advocate of the gospel, to maintain its truth, and to exhibit its spirit.

That in nothing I shall be ashamed - That I shall do nothing of which I shall have occasion to be ashamed. That in these heavy trials, I may not be left to deny the truth of the Christian religion; that, even before the emperor, I may maintain its principles; and that the dread of death may not lead me to do a dishonorable thing, or in any way so to shrink from an avowal of my belief, as to give me or my friends occasion of regret.

But that with all boldness - By my speaking the truth, and maintaining my principles with all boldness; see the 2 Corinthians 7:4 note; Ephesians 6:19-20 notes.

Christ shall be magnified - Shall be held up to the view of man as the true and only Saviour, whatever becomes of me.

Whether it be by life - If I am permitted to live. He was not yet certain how the case would terminate with him. He had not been put on his trial, and, whether that trial would result in his acquittal or not, he could not certainly know. But he felt assured that, if he was acquitted, the effect would be to honor Christ. He would ascribe his deliverance to his gracious interposition; he would devote himself with new ardor to his service; and he felt assured, from his past efforts, that he would be able to do something that would "magnify" Christ in the estimation of mankind.

Or by death - If my trial shall result in my death. Then, he believed he would be able to show such a spirit as to do honor to Christ and his cause. He was not afraid to die, and he was persuaded that he would be enabled to bear the pains of death in such a manner as to show the sustaining power of religion, and the value of Christianity. Christ is magnified in the death of Christians, when his gospel is seen to sustain them; when, supported by its promises, they are enabled to go calmly into the dark valley; and when, in the departing moments, they confidently commit their eternal all into his hands. The effect of this state of feeling on the mind of Paul must have been most happy. In whatever way his trial terminated, he felt assured that the great object for which he lived would be promoted. Christ would be honored, perhaps, as much by his dying as a martyr, as by his living yet many years to proclaim his gospel. He was, therefore, reconciled to his lot. He had no anxiety. Come what might, the purpose which he had most at heart would be secured, and the name of the Saviour would be honored.

20. According to my earnest expectation—The Greek expresses, "expectation with uplifted head (Lu 21:28) and outstretched neck." Ro 8:19 is the only other place in the New Testament that the word occurs. Tittmann says, in both places it implies not mere expectation, but the anxious desire of an anticipated prosperous issue in afflictive circumstances. The subject of his earnest expectation which follows, answers to "my salvation" (Php 1:19).

in nothing I shall be ashamed—in nothing have reason to be ashamed of "my work for God, or His work in me" [Alford]. Or, "in nothing be disappointed in my hope, but that I may fully obtain it" [Estius]. So "ashamed" is used in Ro 9:33.

all boldness—"all" is opposed to "in nothing," as "boldness" is the opposite to "ashamed."

so now also—when "my body" is "in bonds" (Php 1:17).

Christ—not Paul, "shall be magnified."

life, or by death—Whatever be the issue, I cannot lose; I must be the gainer by the event. Paul was not omniscient; in the issue of things pertaining to themselves, the apostles underwent the same probation of faith and patience as we.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope; he allegeth and explaineth the ground and certainty of his knowledge and persuasion of his enemies’ disappointment, and all succeeding well with him, trusting

in the living God, 1 Timothy 4:10, who in all death-threatening afflictions hath upon his word engaged himself to support all those that hope in his mercies, Psalm 33:18,19 37:7,9 Psa 147:11. Then be sure, when his sincere servants, assisted by his Spirit, wait for his deliverance with their necks stretched out, (as the word here notes), being raised from past experience, intensely and wistly looking for his appearance, shall be able each to say as the apostle intimates.

That in nothing I shall be ashamed; negatively, he shall not be left to do any thing which may justly bring him under reproach. His well-grounded hope would not make him ashamed. Romans 5:5, with Romans 8:25; but upon this account he shall have wherewith to answer him that should reproach him, Psalm 119:41,42,46 Lu 9:26 2 Timothy 1:12.

But that with all boldness; positively, that he should continue constant in a courageous owning of the truth, and acknowledging of his Lord every way, whether he was delivered from or to death.

As always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death; as in the former years of his ministry he had been supported, yea, and victorious, in freely speaking for Christ, preaching and defending of his gospel, Acts 9:27 Acts 14:3, with as much courage as any other, Acts 4:13,29,31, with 2 Corinthians 11:21 Galatians 6:17: so now he was humbly confident, in his present sad circnmstances, Christ should be magnified, (not that himself can become greater), i.e. before men, his glory should be rendered greater and more illustrious, and acknowledged with praise, whether he lived or died, Romans 14:8; yea, in the earthen vessel of his body, 2 Corinthians 4:11, (about which he was not solicitous, having resigned it entirely to Christ), either in his enlargement and preaching of the doctrine of Christ, or in his being offered up and sealing it by his martyrdom.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope,.... These words are so placed as that they may refer both to what goes before and what follows after; and the sense be either that the apostle had earnest expectation and hope, even a strong confidence of his salvation, or deliverance from his confinement; and also of his having an interest in the prayers of the saints, and that hereby a supply of the Spirit would be given him; for as he knew and was sure that his God would supply the wants of others, he had great reason to believe he would supply his own; and especially since he had been told by Christ that his grace was sufficient for him: or as in connection with what follows; he had a full persuasion that he should not be put to shame on any account,

that in nothing I shall be ashamed; not of his hope, neither the grace of hope, which makes not ashamed; nor the object of hope, Christ Jesus; nor the thing hoped for, eternal life and happiness, or any of the above things about which this grace was conversant; nor of his reproaches and sufferings for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, which he esteemed as an honour to him, as jewels in his crown, as chains of gold about his neck, and as great riches; nor of the Gospel which he preached, so as to retract and deny it, drop the whole, or conceal any part of it, lay down his profession of it, or cease to preach it: "but" his earnest desire and his firm hope and faith were,

that with all boldness, as always; that as he had, so he should continue to use boldness in the exercise of faith at the throne of grace, come with freedom thither, and stand before God with intrepidity, through the blood and righteousness of his Son; and that as he had met with afflictions and sufferings for Christ's sake, with cheerfulness and an undaunted spirit, none of these things had moved him, so he believed he never should; and that as he had all along, throughout the whole course of his ministry, preached the Gospel with plainness, openness, and freedom, without any guise or reserve, and that with an holy courage and boldness in the face of all opposition,

so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body; for this being Christ's, his great concern was to glorify him in it; and though it was a poor, weak, and crazy body, yet rich treasure being put into this earthen vessel, Christ had been greatly magnified, extolled, and made very high in it; never was there, as the apostle, such a magnifier of Christ, by preaching him in the transcendent glories of his person as the Son of God, in the riches of his grace as Mediator, in all his offices of prophet, priest, and King; and particularly in the justification and salvation of men, where he made him to be all in all. Christ was also magnified by him, by his life and conversation, which influenced by his grace, was in obedience to his will, was directed to his glory, was as became his Gospel, and what adorned his doctrine in all things; and also by enduring such hardships and so great sufferings on his account; the power of Christ was greatly magnified in supporting him under them, and carrying him through them; and as this had been the case ever since he was in the ministry, it being the main thing he had in view, he had a well grounded hope and confidence, that it would ever be so:

whether it be by life or by death; that is, should he live longer, should he be delivered from his present confinement, and be spared a little longer among men, he comfortably assured Christ would be magnified by him in his body, and as long as he was in it; for his determination was to preach him and him only, to spend his life in his service, and to seek not his own things, but the things of Christ; or should he be put to death quickly by the order of Nero, he doubted not but Christ would have some glory thereby; he should die calling upon his name with fervency, professing his constant and unshaken faith in him, and sealing the Gospel by his blood, with the greatest cheerfulness.

{6} According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

(6) We must continue even to the end, with great confidence, having nothing before our eyes except for Christ's glory alone, whether we live or die.

Php 1:20. It will prove salutary for me in conformity with my earnest expectation (see, regarding ἀποκαραδοκία, on Romans 8:19) and my hope, that I, etc. (object of the earnest expectation and hope). Others take ὅτι as argumentative (Vatablus, Estius, Matthies); but by this interpretation the κατὰ τ. ἀποκ. κ. ἐλπ. μ. seems, after the οἶδα already expressed, to be an addition for which there is no motive, and the flow of the discourse is interrupted. No, when Paul says with ὅτι κ.τ.λ. what it is that he earnestly expects and hopes (comp. Romans 8:20 f.), he thereby supplies the precise definition of the former merely general expression εἰς σωτηρίαν.

This is neither clumsy nor unsuited to the meaning of ἀποκαραδ., as Hofmann thinks, who goes back with ὅτι to the far distant οἶδα, and finds it convenient to co-ordinate it with the first ὅτι. Paul would have made this alleged conjunction convenient and at the same time intelligible, only in the event of his having written καὶ ὅτι.

ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι] that I shall in no point (2 Corinthians 6:3; 2 Corinthians 7:9; Jam 1:4), in no respect, be put to shame; that is, in no respect will a result ensue tending to my shame,—a result which would expose me to the reproach of having failed to accomplish my destiny (comp. the sequel). Comp. on σἰσχύνεσθαι, 2 Corinthians 10:8, 1 John 2:28, and the passages of the LXX. in Schleusner, I. p. 98 f.; also Xen. Cyr. vi. 4. 6; Plut. Mor. p. 1118 E. Matthies understands it differently: “in nothing shall I show myself shamefaced and fearful;” comp. van Hengel: “pudore confusus ab officio deflectam.” But the context, in which Paul desires to explain more in detail (comp. Php 1:21) the words μοι ἀποβήσεται εἰς σωτηρίαν, Php 1:19, will not harmonize with any other than the above-named purely passive interpretation; not even with the sense that Paul would not “stand disgraced” (Weiss, comp. Huther), that is, be found unfaithful to his office, or deficient in the discharge of its duties to the glorifying of Christ. The connection requires a description, not of Paul’s behaviour, but of the fate in which the τοῦτο of Php 1:19 would issue for him. Hoelemann takes ἐν οὐδενί as masculine, of the preachers described in Php 1:15 ff., who in their ministry, though actuated by such various motives, “ita esse versaturos, ut inde non oriatur, de quo erubescat et doleat quum ipse, tum etiam in re sua quasi Christus.” This interpretation is opposed both by the context, which from Php 1:18 onwards brings forward no persons at all; and also by the sense itself, because Paul, thus understood, would be made to express a confidence in the labours of those teachers which, as regards the malicious portion of them (Php 1:17, comp. Php 1:15), would not be befitting. The σἰσχύνεσθαι of the apostle was indeed the very object which they had in view; but, he means to say, οὐκ αἰσχύνομαι, τουτέστιν οὐ περιέσονται, Chrysostom.

ἀλλʼ ἐν πάσῃ παῤῥησίᾳ κ.τ.λ.] the contrast to ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι; for the apostle can receive no greater honour and triumph (the opposite to the αἰσχύνεσθαι) than to be made the instrument of glorifying Christ (Php 3:7 f.): but with all freeness, as always, so also now, Christ will be magnified in my body.

ἐν πάσῃ παῤῥησ.] ἐν πάσῃ corresponds to the previous ἐν οὐδενί, so that every kind of freeness, which is no way restrained or limited (comp Acts 4:29; Acts 28:31; 2 Corinthians 3:12), is meant, which amounts substantially to the idea, “une pleine liberté” (Rilliet and older expositors); comp. Wunder, ad Soph. Phil. 141 f. The subject of the freeness is Paul himself, inasmuch as it was in his body that the fearless glorifying of Christ was to be manifested (see below); but he expresses himself in the passive (μεγαλυνθήσεται) and not in the active, because, in the feeling of his being the organ of divine working, the μοι ἀποβήσεται εἰς σωτηρίαν (Php 1:19) governs his conceptions and determines his expression. Hofmann’s view, that ἐν π. παῤῥησ. means “in full publicity,” as an unmistakeable fact before the eyes of all, is linguistically erroneous. See, in opposition to it, on Colossians 2:15.

ὡς πάντοτε καὶ νῦν] so that the present circumstances, however inimical they are in part towards me (Php 1:15-18), will therefore bring about no other result than this most happy one for me, which has always taken place.

ἐν τῷ σώματί μου] instead of saying: ἐν ἐμοί, he says: in my body, because the decision was now close at hand, whether his body should remain alive or be put to death. But whichever of these possible alternatives should come to pass, he earnestly expected and hoped that the glory of Christ would be thereby secured (εἴτε διὰ ζωῆς εἴτε διὰ θανάτου), in so far, namely, as through his remaining in the body his apostolic labours would be continued to the glory of Christ, and by the slaying of his body there would take place, not the mere closing of his witness for Christ, as Hofmann, in opposition to the text (Php 1:21-23), refines away this point, but his union with Christ. Thus, therefore, he will not be put to shame even by his death; but, on the contrary, Christ will be freely glorified by it, namely, practically glorified, inasmuch as Paul, conscious of the great gain which he shall acquire through death (Php 1:21), will with unwavering joyfulness—with the frank joyful courage of the martyr who is being perfected—die to the glorifying of Christ. Comp. John 21:19. In any case, accordingly, the result must ensue, that in his body, just as it has always hitherto been the living personal instrument of Christ’s glory, now also the free glorification of Christ shall be made manifest, whether this result be secured through its being preserved alive or being slain; “nam et corpus loquitur et corpus moritur,” Grotius. Hoelemann erroneously refers ἐν πάσῃ παῤῥ. to the bold preaching of the various teachers described in Php 1:15-18, from which now, as always, the glory of Christ shall result; and that indeed, through the influence which such a fearless working would have on the fate of the apostle, in his body, whether Christ grant to him a longer course of life or death, in either of which cases the Lord will manifest Himself to him as augustissimum auxiliatorem. But against this view it may be urged, that ἐν οὐδενί does not refer to the teachers (see above); that παῤῥησίᾳ is the contrast to αἰσχυνθήσομαι, so that the subject of the latter must be also the subject of the former; and lastly, that Paul would thus be made to say that the fearless working of others had always shown forth Christ’s honour in his body,—an expression which, as regards the last point, might be suited to the present position of the apostle, but not to the ὡς πάντοτε. Rilliet takes μεγαλυνθήσεται not in the sense of praising (Luke 1:46; Acts 5:13; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:17; Thuc. viii. 81; Xen. Hell. vii. 1. 13), but in the material signification of grandir (Matthew 23:5; Luke 1:58; 2 Corinthians 10:15), making it apply to the mental indwelling of Christ (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:10; Galatians 4:19); so that Paul is made to hope that Christ may grow ever more and more in him, that is, may more and more reveal Himself as the principle of his life, and that this growth will be perfected whether he himself live or die. But ἐν πάσῃ παῤῥησίᾳ would be an inappropriate definition of this idea; and ἐν τῷ σώματί μου would also be inappropriate, as if Christ would have, even by the apostle’s death, to grow in his body; lastly, neither the foregoing nor the subsequent context points to the peculiar mystical idea of a growth of Christ in the human body; while the similar idea in Galatians 4:19 is there very peculiarly and clearly suggested by the context.

Php 1:20. ἀποκαραδ. The concentrated intense hope which ignores other interests (ἀπό), and strains forward as with outstretched head (κάρα, δοκεῖν). Cf. Romans 8:19, ἡ γὰρ ἀποκαραδοκία τῆς κτίσεως τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν τῶν υἱῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀπεκδέχεται. The verb ἀποκαραδοκεῖν is found in Polyb., Plut., Joseph., Aquila.—αἰσχυνθ. very probably refers, in the main, to his own conduct, the danger of denying his Lord under stress of hardships, but there is also involved the thought of Christ’s treatment of him. This gives the true antithesis to μεγαλυνθ.—παρρησίᾳ. We are inclined to believe that π. has its literal meaning, boldness of speech, for he has before him the danger of denying Christ. Of course there is implied the idea of courage in his whole bearing. The word is typical of the attitude of the early Christians.—καὶ νῦν. His trial is in process.—μεγαλ.… θανάτου. There is some force in Meyer’s suggestion that passive verbs are used here because Paul feels himself the organ of Divine working. ἐν τῷ σώμ. “In my person.” σ. in Paul is always a colourless word, the organ of the ψυχή or the πνεῦμα, and taking its character from its constituting principle. If he lives, it will be for the service of Christ, which is the highest honour he can pay his Lord. If he has to die, then his readiness to endure death and his calm courage in enduring will be the most eloquent testimony to the worth of his Lord.

20. According to] He describes this “supply of the Spirit” by its longed for and expected results, which would thus prove the test “according to” which it would be known as present.

earnest expectation] Lit., “waiting with outstretched head”; one forcible word in the Greek. It occurs here and Romans 8:19.

ashamed] I.e. practically, disappointed; as often in Scripture language. See Psalm 25:3; Zechariah 9:5; Romans 5:5; Romans 9:33; 2 Timothy 1:12.

boldness] More precisely, boldness of speech. See Ephesians 3:12; Ephesians 6:19, and notes in this Series. He looks to “the supply of the Spirit” to maintain in him an unwavering testimony to the Lord and His truth. Cp. Joel 2:28 with Acts 2:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:3.—Such testimony might or might not be literally verbal; but it would be utterance, whether in speech or act.

in my body] The body is the spirit’s vehicle and implement in action upon others. See Romans 12:1, and note in this Series; and cp. 2 Corinthians 4:10. The impression made on others, the “magnification” of Christ in the view of others, “whether by means of life or by means of death,” would have to be effected through bodily doing or suffering.

by life, or by death] We gather hence, and from Php 2:23, that the Epistle was written at a time of special suspense and uncertainty, humanly speaking, regarding the issue of the Apostle’s trial. See further just below.

Php 1:20. Ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι, ἀλλʼ ἐν πάσῃ παῤῥησίᾳ μεγαλυνθήσεται Χριστὸς, in nothing shall I be ashamed, but in all boldness Christ shall be magnified) He removes the ignominy from himself: he ascribes the boldness to himself, the glory to Christ.—σώματι, in my body) in bonds.—εἴτε διὰ ζωῆς, εἴτε διὰ θανάτου, whether by life or by death) The disjunction follows, Php 1:21-22. In what way soever it shall fall out, says he, it will be well. I cannot lose. Paul himself was ignorant what would be the issue; for the apostles were not omniscient, but rather in what referred to themselves they were exercised [disciplined] by faith and patience.

Verse 20. - According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed. The Greek word for "earnest expectation," which occurs also in Romans 8:19, means literally, a watching with outstretched head, with the attention concentrated on one object, and turned away from all others. Neither his sufferings nor the opposition of the Judaizers will put him to shame. But that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. After " boldness" (literally, boldness of speech) we should expect the active form, "I shall magnify." St. Paul, in his humility, prefers the pasture, "Christ shall be magnified." Boldness of speech was to be his part, the glory should be Christ's. Whatever the issue might be, whether a life of Christian labor or a martyr's death, it would be well. The apostles were not omniscient, says Bengel, in relation to their own future lot; they lived in faith and hope. Philippians 1:20Earnest expectation (ἀποκαραδοκίαν)

Only here and Romans 8:19, on which see note.

Shall be ashamed (αἰσχυνθήσομαι)

Rev., better, giving the force of the passive, shall be put to shame.


See on Plm 1:8.

Shall be magnified in my body

Through my bodily sufferings Christ shall appear more glorious, and that even if I die.

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