Philippians 1:28
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Terrified.—The original word is strong—starting, or flinching, like a scared animal.

Which (that is, your fearlessness) is . . .—This fearlessness, in the absence of all earthly means of protection or victory, is a sign of a divine “strength made perfect in weakness” (2Corinthians 13:9)—not a complete and infallible sign (for it has often accompanied mere fanatic delusion), but a sign real as far as it goes, having its right force in harmony with others. The effect which it had on the heathen themselves is shown even by the affected contempt with which the Stoics spoke of it, as a kind of “madness,” a morbid “habit,” a sheer “obstinacy.” (See Epictetus, iv. 7; Marc. Aurelius, Med. xi. 3.)

And that of God.—These words apply to the word “token,” and so derivatively both to “perdition” and “salvation.” The sign is of God, because the gift of spiritual strength is of God, but it may be read by both sides. Like the pillar of God’s presence, it is “a cloud and darkness” to the one, but “light by night” to the other.

1:27-30 Those who profess the gospel of Christ, should live as becomes those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend upon gospel promises. The original word conversation denotes the conduct of citizens who seek the credit, safety, peace, and prosperity of their city. There is that in the faith of the gospel, which is worth striving for; there is much opposition, and there is need of striving. A man may sleep and go to hell; but he who would go to heaven, must look about him and be diligent. There may be oneness of heart and affection among Christians, where there is diversity of judgment about many things. Faith is God's gift on the behalf of Christ; the ability and disposition to believe are from God. And if we suffer reproach and loss for Christ, we are to reckon them a gift, and prize them accordingly. Yet salvation must not be ascribed to bodily afflictions, as though afflictions and worldly persecutions deserved it; but from God only is salvation: faith and patience are his gifts.And in nothing terrified by your adversaries - Adversaries, or opponents, they had, like most of the other early Christians. There were Jews there who would be likely to oppose them (compare Acts 17:5), and they were exposed to persecution by the pagan. In that city, Paul had himself suffered much Acts 16; and it would not be strange if the same scenes should be repeated. It is evident from this passage, as well as from some other parts of the Epistle, that the Philippians were at this time experiencing some form of severe suffering. But in what way, or why, the opposition to them was excited, is nowhere stated. The meaning here is, "do not be alarmed at anything which they can do. Maintain your Christian integrity, notwithstanding all the opposition which they can make. They will, in the end, certainly be destroyed, and you will be saved."

Which is to them an evident token of perdition - What, it may be asked, would be the token of their perdition? What is the evidence to which Paul refers that they will be destroyed? The relative "which" - ἥτις hētis; - is probably used as referring to the persecution which had been commenced, and to the constancy which the apostle supposed the Philippians would evince. The sentence is elliptical; but it is manifest that the apostle refers either to the circumstance then occurring, that they were persecuted, and that they evinced constancy; or to the constancy which he wished them to evince in their persecutions. He says that this circumstance of persecution, if they evinced such a spirit as he wished, would be to them an evidence of two things:

(1) Of the destruction of those who were engaged in the persecution. This would be, because they knew that such persecutors could not ultimately prevail. Persecution of the church would be a certain indication that they who did it would be finally destroyed.

(2) it would be a proof of their own salvation, because it would show that they were the friends of the Redeemer; and they had the assurance that all those who were persecuted for his sake would be saved. The gender of the Greek relative here is determined by the following noun (ἔνδειξις endeixis), in a manner that is not uncommon in Greek; see Wetstein, in loc., and Koppe.

And that of God - That is, their persecution is a proof that God will interpose in due time and save you. The hostility of the wicked to us is one evidence that we are the friends of God, and shall be saved.

28. terrified—literally, said of horses or other animals startled or suddenly scared; so of sudden consternation in general.

which—your not being terrified.

evident token of perdition—if they would only perceive it (2Th 1:5). It attests this, that in contending hopelessly against you, they are only rushing on to their own perdition, not shaking your united faith and constancy.

to you of salvation—The oldest manuscripts read, "of your salvation"; not merely your temporal safety.

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: the original word which the apostle useth, imports, they should not be appalled or affrighted, as men and horses are apt to be when furiously charged by their deadly enemies, but stoutly receive them, keeping their ground, Matthew 10:28 Luke 12:32.

Which is to them an evident token of perdition; considering, on the one hand, their most pertinacious rage, it is no other than an evident and convincing argmnent, or certain forerunner, of the adversaries’ utter ruin, Exodus 22:22-24 Romans 2:8,9 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9.

But to you of salvation; but, on the other hand, to sound believers, who behave themselves as becomes the gospel, a manifest demonstration of their everlasting welfare and glory, Matthew 5:10 Matthew 10:32,39 Ro 2:7,10 Eph 3:13 2 Thessalonians 1:6,7.

And that of God; by the disposal of the all-wise and righteous Governor, who may for a time permit his or his people’s adversaries to domineer, Job 1:12 Proverbs 16:4; but being a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, Hebrews 11:6, will of his grace lenify the sharpness of the cross, enable believers to hold out against all the opposition of their enemies, make them partakers of his holiness, and bring them to glory, Hebrews 12:10,11 2 Timothy 2:11,12: which might abundantly comfort the Philippians, as others, Galatians 6:17. And in nothing terrified by your adversaries,.... Not by Satan, though a roaring lion, for Christ is greater than he; nor by the world which Christ has overcome; nor by false teachers, though men of art and cunning; nor by violent persecutors, who can do no more than kill, the body; let not the power, the rage, the cunning, or the violence of one or the other, move, discourage, or affright from a close attachment to the Gospel and the truths of it:

which is to them an evident token of perdition; when men wilfully oppose themselves to the truth, and show a malicious hatred to it, and hold it in unrighteousness, and either turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, or persecute it with rage and fury, it looks as if they were given up to reprobate minds, to say and do things not convenient; as if they were foreordained to condemnation; and were consigned over to destruction and perdition; and very rare it is, that such persons are ever called by grace:

but to you of salvation; when men are reproached and ridiculed, are threatened and persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, and are enabled to take all patiently, and persevere in the truth with constancy, it is a manifest token that such are counted worthy of the kingdom of God; that God has a design of salvation for them, and that they shall be saved with an everlasting one: so that the different effects of the opposition of the one, and the constancy of the other, are made use of as so many reasons why the saints should not be terrified by their enemies: it is added,

and that of God; meaning either that the whole of this is of God, as that there are adversaries, heretics, and persecutors; this is by divine permission, and in order to answer some ends and purpose of God, and the perdition or everlasting punishment of such persons will be righteously inflicted upon them by him; and that the constancy, faith, patience, and perseverance of the saints and their salvation, are all of God: or it particularly respects the latter, the salvation of those who persevere to the end; this is not of themselves, or merited by their constancy, patience, and perseverance, but is God's free gift. The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, join this clause to the beginning of Philippians 1:29, thus, "and this is given of God to you", &c.

{9} And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

(9) We ought not to be discouraged but rather encouraged by the persecutions which the enemies of the Gospel imagine and practise against us: seeing that the persecutions are certain witnesses from God himself both of our salvation, and of the destruction of the wicked.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 1:28. On πτύρεσθαι, to become frightened (of horses, Diod. ii. 19, xvii. 34; Plut. Fab. 3; Marc. 6), to be thrown into consternation (Diod. xvii. 37 f.; Plat. Ax. p. 370 A; Plut. Mor. p. 800 C), see Kypke, II. p. 312. In Genesis 41:8 Aquila has καταπτύρεσθαι.

ἐν μηδενί] in no point, nulla ratione, Php 1:20; 2 Corinthians 6:3; 2 Corinthians 7:9; Jam 1:4.

The ἀντικείμενοι (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:9) are the non-Christian opponents of the gospel among Jews and Gentiles, and not the Judaizers and their adherents (Flatt), or the malevolent false teachers (Matthies). This follows from Php 1:30, since the whole position and ministry of the apostle was a conflict with such adversaries, comp. Php 1:7.

ἥτις ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς κ.τ.λ.] which is indeed, etc., refers to the preceding μὴ πτύρεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀντικειμ., to which Paul desires to encourage them. This undauntedness in the συναλθεῖν, and not the latter itself (Hofmann), is now the leading idea, with which what has further to be said connects itself; hence ἥτις is not to be taken as referring to the sufferings, as it is by Ewald (comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:5), who subsequently, although without critical proof, would read ἀπωλείας ὑμῶν, ὑμῖν δέ.

αὐτοῖς] τοῖς ἀντικειμένοις is to be taken simply as dative of reference: which is to them an indication of perdition. Ὅταν γὰρ ἴδωσιν, ὅτι μυρία τεχναζόμενοι οὐδὲ πτῦραι ὑμᾶς δύνανται, οὐ δεῖγμα τοῦτο σαφὲς ἕξουσιν, ὅτι τὰ μὲν αὐτῶν ἀπολοῦνται, τὰ δὲ ὑμέτερα ἰσχυρὰ καὶ ἀνάλωτα καὶ αὐτόθεν ἔχοντα τὴν σωτηρίαν; Theophylact. The ἥτις involving a reason is just as in Ephesians 3:13, See on that passage. This would be still more emphatically expressed by ἥτις γε (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 305). But the fact that the ἀντικείμενοι do not recognise in the undauntedness of those persecuted a proof (not: causa, as in the Vulgate; but comp. Romans 3:25 f.; 2 Corinthians 8:24; Plat. Ep. vii. p. 341 E; Legg. xii. p. 966 C) of their own perdition, and on the other hand of the salvation of the persecuted (ὑμῶν δὲ σωτηρίας), does not alter the state of the case in itself, that the μὴ πτύρεσθαι is in reality objectively such an ἔνδειξις to them. It is, indeed, the σημεῖον of the righteous divine cause, and of its necessary final victory. Perdition and salvation: both without more precise definition; but the reader knew what reference to assign to each, viz. the Messianic perdition and salvation. Comp. on the matter, 2 Thessalonians 1:5 ff.; Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12; Luke 12:32, et al.

καὶ τοῦτο ἀπὸ Θεοῦ] and that (see on Romans 13:11) of God, thus certain, therefore, and infallible. It adds force to the encouragement conveyed by ὑμῶν δὲ σωτηρίας; for the context shows by the ὑμῖν which is emphatically placed first in Php 1:29,—without making the reading ὑμῖν necessary, however, in Php 1:28 (Hofmann); see the critical remarks,—that τοῦτο refers only to this second and main part of ἥτις κ.τ.λ. (Calvin, Piscator, Calovius, Flatt, and others, also Ewald and Hofmann), and not to both halves of ἥτις (Beza, Grotius, and many others, also Wiesinger, Weiss, and Ellicott). Entirely foreign to the connection is any purpose of humiliation (Hoelemann and older expositors, following the Greek Fathers). Nor are the words to be attached to what follows (ὅτι, that) (Clemens Alex., Chrysostom, Theodoret, Erasmus, and others, and recently Rilliet); in which case the (preparative) τοῦτο would receive an uncalled-for importance, and yet ἀπὸ Θεοῦ would be obviously intelligible through ἐχαρίσθη.Php 1:28. πτυρόμ. is apparently used esp[77] of scared horses. So Diod. Sic., xvii., 34, 6, διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν περὶ αὐτοὺς σωρευομένων νεκρῶν πτυρόμενοι. It is found in Plut., Reipub. Ger. Praec., p. 800, of a multitude. See Kypke ad loc.τ. ἀντικειμ. Who are their adversaries? In Php 1:30 he speaks of them as having the same conflict as he had when at Philippi and now has at Rome. In both these instances, most probably, his opponents were heathen. Further, when warning his readers against Jewish malice, what he usually fears is not that they will be terrified into compliance, but that they will be seduced from the right path. And, as Franke (Myr[78]5 ad loc.) points out, the conflict here is for the πίστις, not for the ἀλήθεια of the Gospel. It is no argument against this that some of his reasoning would only have force for Jews, e.g., suffering as a gift of God (so Holst., Jahrb. f. prot. Th., 1875, p. 444). For he is speaking of the impression made upon them (the Philippians), and he uses Christian modes of expression. Probably therefore he thinks chiefly of their heathen antagonists, as, in any case, Jews seem to have formed a very small minority of the population. The pagans of Philippi, on the other hand, would struggle hard against a faith which condemned all idol-worship, for the extant remains at Philippi and in its neighbourhood show that they were an extraordinarily devout community. See esp[79] Heuzey et Daumet, Mission Archéologique de Macédoine, pp. iii., 84–86. At the same time we cannot exclude the possibility that he had non-Christian Jews in his mind as well.—ἥτις. “Inasmuch as this” (sc., the fact of their not being terrified). The relative is, as frequently, attracted to its predicate. So ἥτις, agreeing with ἐνδ., for τοῦτο. In the following words the true reading is ἐστὶν αὐτοῖς. That of TR. has arisen for the sake of symmetry with the succeeding clause.—ἔνδειξις. An Attic law-term. In N.T. only in Paul. Not found in LXX. It denotes proof obtained by an appeal to facts. See SH[80] on Romans 2:15.—ἀπώλεια has its usual Pauline antithesis σωτηρία. Paul has never defined ἀπώλεια.—All edd. read ὑμῶν δέ. Not only is it better attested (see crit. note), but it also deserves preference as being the harder reading and sufficient to explain the other. It really includes ὑμῖν. The emphasis in Paul’s mind changes from the persons to their destinies. It was quite natural to assimilate ὑμῖν to αὐτοῖς preceding. But there is also the thought that they (the adversaries) will be affected not only by the proof of their own destruction, but also by that of the Philippians’ salvation.—τοῦτο seems to refer to ἔνδειξις. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

[77] especially.

[78] Meyer.

[79] especially.

[80] Sanday and Headlam (Romans).28. terrified] More precisely, scared. The verb (found here only in N.T., and nowhere in LXX. and Apocrypha) is used in classical Greek of the starting, or “shying,” of frightened animals, and thence of alarm in general. The word would specially suit the experience of the “little flock” in violent Philippi.

which is to them &c.] He means that the whole phenomenon of this union, stedfastness, energy, and calm of the saints in face of seemingly hopeless odds, is in itself an omen of the issue. Of course the statement is made not in the abstract, but in the particular case of the Gospel. Many a false and finally losing cause may conceivably be maintained for a time courageously and calmly. But the Apostle assumes that the Gospel is the eternal truth, sure of ultimate victory, and then says here that the realization of this fact, in the convictions of both its foes and its friends, will be all the more impressive the more the Church acts in the spirit of calm, united, decisive resolution.

perdition] in its deepest and most awful sense; the eternal loss and ruin of all persistent opponents of God and His truth. So below, Php 3:19; and so always in N.T., excepting only Matthew 26:8; Mark 14:4; where the word means waste, spoiling, loss of a material thing.

salvation] This word also bears its deepest sense here. The faithful believer, witness, and worker, is on the way to eternal glory; and the prospect brightens in anticipation and realization as the company of such disciples unites around, and in, the cause of Jesus Christ. On the word “salvation” see note above, on Php 1:19.

and that] “That” in the Greek, refers not immediately to the word “salvation” but to the whole previous idea, of opposition met in a way to encourage faith. God Himself has ordained the circumstances, and given the union and courage. See next note but one.

of God] Lit. “from God”; so R.V. But the older English of the A.V. (and all previous English versions) is scarcely mistakable.Php 1:28. Μὴ πτυρόμενοι, not terrified) with a great and sudden terror; for πτύρω is properly said of horses.—ἥτις, which) the striving.—αὐτοῖς) to them.—ἔνδειξις, an evident token) 2 Thessalonians 1:5.Verse 28. - And in nothing terrified by your adversaries; literally, snared, as a frightened horse. Which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation; translate, seeing that it (your courage) is to them an evident token of perdition, but (with the best manuscripts) of your salvation. And that of God. These words are to be taken with "an evident token." The courage of God's saints in the midst of dangers is a proof of his presence and favor, a token of final victory (comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:5). Terrified (πτυρόμενοι)

Only here in the New Testament. Properly of the terror of a startled horse. Thus Diodorus Siculus, speaking of the chariot-horses of Darius at the battle of Issus: "Frightened (πτυρόμενοι) by reason of the multitude of the dead heaped round them, they shook off their reins" (xvii. 34). Plutarch says: "The multitude is not easy to handle so that it is safe for any one to take the reins; but it should be held sufficient, if, not being scared by sight or sound, like a shy and fickle animal, it accept mastery."

Which is (ἥτις ἐστὶν)

Seeing that it is.

An evident token (ἔνδειξις)

Only here, Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26; 2 Corinthians 8:24. Lit., a pointing out. Used in Attic law of a writ of indictment. A demonstration or proof.

To you of salvation (ὑμῖν)

Read ὑμῶν of you. Rev., of your salvation.

And that of God

Rev., from God (ἀπό). Lightfoot finds here an allusion, in accord with striving together, to the sign of life or death given by the populace in the amphitheater when a gladiator was vanquished, by turning the thumbs up or down. "The christian gladiator does not anxiously await the signal of life or death from the fickle crowd. The great Director of the contest Himself has given him a sure token of deliverance."

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