Philippians 1:24
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Php 1:24-26. Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh — In the body; is more needful for you — And the rest who have embraced the gospel. For, as he said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he foresaw that after his departure grievous wolves should enter into the churches, not sparing the flock, Acts 20:29. This is the other particular between which, and departing to be with Christ, the apostle’s mind was divided, as mentioned Php 1:22. For the sake of the churches, however, he here represents himself as being willing to forego, for a time, his own interest, and to continue in this mortal state. For he adds, having this confidence — That my abiding in the flesh is for your advantage; I know that I shall abide — Some have supposed that a particular revelation was made to him, while he was writing this, that he should not be put to death at this time, but should soon be released from his bonds; and that it was on the ground of that revelation that he expressed himself with so much confidence on this occasion. Some indeed have thought that this hope of deliverance arose from his knowing that the Christians in Cesar’s household were now endeavouring to procure his release. But, as Dr. Doddridge observes, “he must have known little of princes and courtiers, (and especially in Nero’s reign,) to build so confidently on such a foundation.” And continue with you all — Which doubtless he did for some considerable time, visiting many other places as well as Philippi. For your furtherance Προκοπην, advancement, in holiness; and the joy of faith — Which will be strengthened by my deliverance from confinement, and by my continuing my apostolical labours among you as opportunity offers. That your rejoicing — Or glorying, as καυχημα rather signifies; may be more abundant — May be greatly increased; by my coming to you again — As I fully expect to do.1:21-26 Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle's difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.Nevertheless to abide in the flesh - To live. All this is language derived from the belief that the soul will be separate from the body at death, and will occupy a separate state of existence.

Is more needful for you - Another object that was dear to the heart of Paul. He never supposed that his life was useless; or that it was a matter of no importance to the cause of religion whether he lived or died. He knew that God works by means; and that the life of a minister of the gospel is of real value to the church and the world. His experience, his influence, his paternal counsels, he felt assured would be of value to the church, and he had, therefore, a desire to live - and it was no part of his religion affectedly to undervalue or despise himself.

24. to abide—to continue somewhat longer.

for you—Greek, "on your account"; "for your sake." In order to be of service to you, I am willing to forego my entrance a little sooner into blessedness; heaven will not fail to be mine at last.

However, with respect to the church, by his staying here in this mortal body he persuades himself, knowing the subtlety of false apostles, who would enter in as grievous wolves, Acts 20:29, it was necessary to strengthen them and other churches in the faith of Christ. Nevertheless to abide in the flesh,.... To continue in the body, not always, but a little longer,

is more needful for you; for their comfort, edification, and instruction, their further profiting: and increase in faith, and the joy of it. The Syriac version renders the words thus, "but business for you", or "a good will towards you compels me to abide in the body"; and the Arabic version thus, "notwithstanding I choose to remain in the flesh, and this I think very necessary for you"; so that upon the whole, the argument for living longer on consideration of glorifying Christ, and of being more useful to the good of souls, preponderated with him; inclined him to desire rather to live than die; though the latter was better for him, and more to his personal advantage; and thus, like a brave and good man, he prefers a public good to a private one.

Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 1:24. Ἐπιμένειν involves the idea: to remain still (still further), to stay on, comp. Romans 6:1.

ἐν τῇ σαρκί] in my flesh. Not quite equivalent to the idea involved in ἐν σαρκί without the article (Php 1:22). The reading without the ἐν (see the critical remarks) would yield an ethical sense here unsuitable (Romans 6:1; Romans 11:22; Colossians 1:23).

ἀναγκαιότ.] namely, than the for me far happier alternative of the ἀναλῦσαι κ. σ. Χ. εἶναι. The necessity for that is only a subjective want felt by the pious mind. But the objective necessity of the other alternative has precedence as the greater; it is more precisely defined by διʼ ὑμᾶς, regarded from the standpoint of love. “Vitae suae adjici nihil desiderat sua causa, sed eorum, quibus utilis est.” Seneca, ep. 98; comp. ep. 104.

διʼ ὑμᾶς] applies to the Philippians, who would naturally understand, however, that Paul did not intend to refer this point of necessity to them exclusively. It is the individualizing mode of expression adopted by special love.Php 1:24-26. HIS PRESENTIMENT THAT HE WILL VISIT THEM AGAIN.24. to abide in the flesh] Quite lit., as Bp Lightfoot, to abide by the flesh, to hold fast to its conditions of trial, for the sake of the Lord and His flock.

more needful] More necessary. Desire, and the sense of betterness, lie on the side of death; obligation, in view of the claims of others, lies on the side of life.

for you] Lit. and better, on account of you.Php 1:24. Ἐπιμένειν, to abide longer)—ἀναγκαιότερον, more necessary) It appertains more to me [I feel it more desirable], he says, even with a view to the perception of my love [on your part]; more than even the access to blessedness just now mentioned. The Philippians might have said, This man is necessary to us. Egotism has ceased in the mind of Paul: he therefore acknowledges that circumstance [the personal gain it would be to him to depart]; comp. ch. Php 2:25. He however adds this also: It is more important for me to be serviceable to you, than a little sooner to enjoy heaven. Heaven will not fail to be mine [at last, notwithstanding the delay].Verse 24. - Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. To abide by the flesh (if with some authorities the preposition is omitted), to hold to this human life with all its trials, is more needful for your sake. Meyer quotes Seneca, 'Epist.' 98, "Vitae suae adjici nihil desiderat sua causa, sed eorum, quibus utilis est." To abide in the flesh (ἐπιμένειν ἐν τῇ σαρκὶ)

See on Colossians 1:23. To abide by the flesh. Compare Romans 6:1; Romans 11:22, Romans 11:23.

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