Philippians 1:8
For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
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(8) God is my record.—We have a similar adjuration in Romans 1:9; 2Corinthians 1:23; 1Thessalonians 2:5; 1Thessalonians 2:10. These instances show in what sense St. Paul interpreted such commands as the “swear not at all” of Matthew 5:34.

In the bowels of Jesus Christ.—The use of the word, which we translate (not very happily or correctly) by “bowels,” is common with St. Paul. (See 2Corinthians 6:12; 2Corinthians 7:15; Colossians 3:12; Philemon 1:7; Philemon 1:12; Philemon 1:20.) It corresponds to our use of “heart” as the seat of affection—the word “heart” itself in the New Testament being employed, in a wider sense, to signify the whole inner man. (See Ephesians 1:18 : “the eyes of your heart being enlightened,” and Note there.) But the phrase here is striking and even startling. “I long after you” (says St. Paul) “in the heart of Jesus Christ.” He can say (as in Galatians 2:20), “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Hence the deep yearning of love which he feels for them he knows to be an emanation, faint indeed, but true, from the “heart of Jesus Christ” dwelling in him.

1:8-11 Shall not we pity and love those souls whom Christ loves and pities? Those who abound in any grace, need to abound more. Try things which differ; that we may approve the things which are excellent. The truths and laws of Christ are excellent; and they recommend themselves as such to any attentive mind. Sincerity is that in which we should have our conversation in the world, and it is the glory of all our graces. Christians should not be apt to take offence, and should be very careful not to offend God or the brethren. The things which most honour God will most benefit us. Let us not leave it doubtful whether any good fruit is found in us or not. A small measure of Christian love, knowledge, and fruitfulness should not satisfy any.For God is my record - My witness; I can solemnly appeal to him.

How greatly I long after you all - To see you; and how much I desire your welfare.

In the bowels of Jesus Christ - The word "bowels," in the Scriptures denotes the upper viscera - the region of the heart and lungs: see the notes at Isaiah 16:11. That region was regarded as the seat of affection, sympathy, and compassion, as the heart is with us. The allusion here is to the sympathy, tenderness, and love of the Redeemer; and probably the meaning is, that Paul regarded them with something of the affection which the Lord Jesus had for them. This was the tenderest and strongest expression which he could find to denote the ardor of his attachment.

8. Confirmation of Php 1:7.

record—that is, witness.

in the bowels of Jesus Christ—"Christ Jesus" is the order in the oldest manuscripts. My yearning love (so the Greek implies) to you is not merely from natural affection, but from devotedness to Christ Jesus. "Not Paul, but Jesus Christ lives in Paul; wherefore Paul is not moved in the bowels (that is, the tender love, Jer 31:20) of Paul, but of Jesus Christ" [Bengel]. All real spiritual love is but a portion of Christ's love which yearns in all who are united to Him [Alford].

Confirming what he had before written, he appeals to God in the heavens, who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins, as in some other Epistles, Romans 1:9 2 Corinthians 1:23, with 2 Corinthians 11:31 Galatians 1:20 1 Thessalonians 2:5,10; and as Job, Job 16:19; by making a solemn protestation, or oath, to put the matter out of doubt, Hebrews 6:16, and giving them assurance, (as he lawfully might in this way for God’s glory, and their good, Deu 6:13), of the sincerity and intenseness of his hearty affections towards every one of them, Philippians 2:26 4:1 with 2 Corinthians 9:14.

In the bowels of Jesus Christ; not out of any carnal, selfish, or worldly respects; but a really Christian, spiritual, and tender love, seated in the inward parts of this sanctified apostle, Jeremiah 31:33; by the same Spirit that united him unto Christ, who loves his spouse with no common love, but is the spring and procurer, and great exemplar, of that affectionate Christian love, which, like him, they are to exert from the very root of their hearts, purely, unfeignedly, and fervently, without dissimulation, Romans 12:9 1 Peter 1:22; imitating God and Christ, {Luke 1:78} as Paul here, in the highest degree of dearest affection, did love the Philippians, and elsewhere the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 2:7,8,11.

For God is my record,.... Which is all one as swearing by him; it is in form of an oath, being a solemn appeal to him as the searcher of hearts, for the uprightness of his mind, the sincerity of his expressions, and the strength of his affections:

how greatly I long after you all; the common members, as well as the bishops and deacons, the weak as well as the strong believers, the poor as well as the rich; the apostle's respects were universal, and without distinction: he longed after their spiritual welfare, an increase of gifts and grace among them; he was their spiritual father, and he hankered after them; as parents after their children; he longed to see them, that he might enjoy their company and conversation, have communion with them, and impart some spiritual gift unto them: and this he did

in the bowels of Jesus Christ; not with an human and carnal affection, but with a Christian and spiritual one; with a love which came from Christ, and was in imitation of him, and on account of their being in him, loved by him, belonging to him, and being believers in him: it was in the most tender manner that he loved them, and was affected to them; the phrase denotes, that his love towards them was internal, in his heart, and was most tender and strong; and like to that tender concern Christ had for them, and which he stirred up in him.

{2} For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

(2) He declares his good will towards them, in addition showing by what means they may chiefly be strengthened and encouraged, that is, by continual prayer.

Php 1:8. A solemn confirmation of the preceding assurance, that he had his readers in his heart, etc. Comp., on the connection, Romans 1:9. Theophylact, moreover, strikingly observes: οὐχ ὡς ἀπιστούμενος μάρτυρα καλεῖ τὸν Θεόν, ἀλλὰ τὴν πολλὴν διάθεσιν οὐκ ἔχων παραστῆσαι διὰ λόγου.

ὡς ἐπιποθῶ κ.τ.λ.] how much I long after you all, etc., which would not be the case if I did not bear you in my heart (γάρ), as announced more precisely in Php 1:7. On ἐπιποθῶ, comp. Romans 1:11; Php 2:26; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:4. The compound denotes the direction (Plat. Legg. ix. p. 855 F; Herod. v. 93; Diod. Sic. xvii. 101; Sir 25:20), not the strength of the ποθεῖν (comp. on 2 Corinthians 5:2), which is conveyed by ὡς; comp. Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:10.

ἐν σπλάγχνοις Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ] is not, with Hofmann,[53] to be connected with what follows (see on Php 1:9); it is an expression of the heartiness and truth of his longing, uttered in the strongest possible terms. ἐν, on account of the sensuous expression which follows (ΣΠΛΆΓΧΝΑ, like רַחֲמְים, as seat of the affections, especially of heartfelt love, Php 2:1; Colossians 3:12; Philemon 1:7; Philemon 1:12; Philemon 1:20; also in classical authors), is to be taken locally: in the heart of Jesus Christ; that is, so that this longing of mine is not my own individual emotion, but a longing which I feel in virtue of the dwelling and working of Christ in me. Paul speaks thus from the consciousness that his inmost life is not that of his human personality, of himself, but that Christ, through the medium of the Holy Spirit, is the personal principle and agent of his thoughts, desires, and feelings. Comp. on Galatians 2:20. Filled with the feeling of this holy fellowship of life, which threw his own individuality into the background, he could, seeing that his whole spiritual ζωή was thus the life of Christ in him, represent the circumstances of his ἐπιποθεῖν, as if the viscera Christi were moved in him, as if Christ’s heart throbbed in him for his Philippians. Bengel aptly says: “In Paulo non Paulus vivit sed Jesus Christus; quare Paulus non in Pauli, sed Jesu Christi movetur visceribus.” Comp. Theodoret: οὐκ ἀνθρώπινον τὸ φίλτρον, πνευματικόν. Not doing justice to the Pauline consciousness of the unio mystica which gives rise to this expression, some have rendered ἘΝ in an instrumental sense, as in Luke 1:78 (Hofmann); others have taken it of the norma: “according to the pattern of Christ’s love to His people” (Rosenmüller, Rilliet); and some have found the sense of the norma in the genitival relation: “in animo penitus affecto ut animus fuit Christi” (van Hengel). So also Wetstein, Heinrichs, and earlier expositors; whilst Storr refers ἘΝ ΣΠΛ. . Χ. even to the readers (sc. ὄντας). For many other interpretations, see Hoelemann and Weiss. The merely approximate statement of the sense, given by Grotius and others: “amore non illo communi, sed vere Christiano,” is in substance correct, but fails to give its full development to the consciousness of the ΧΡΙΣΤῸς ἘΝ ἩΜῖΝ (Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:19; Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 3:17); notwithstanding which Hofmann regards the identification of Paul’s own heart with the heart of Christ as simply impossible; thus, however, applying to the mysticism of deep pious feeling, and the living immediate plastic form in which it finds expression, a criterion alien to its character, and drawing around it a literal boundary which it cannot bear.

[53] According to Hofmann, namely, ἐν σπλ. Χ. . asserts with reference to the following καὶ τοῦτο προσεύχ. that Christ’s heart towards those who are His produces such prayer in the apostle, and manifests itself therein.

Php 1:8. An exact parallel is Romans 1:9-11, μάρτυς γάρ μού ἐστιν ὁ Θεόςὡς ἀδιαλείπτως μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιοῦμαιἐπιποθῶ γὰρ ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς. Such adjuration of God he uses only in solemn personal appeals; cf. Galatians 1:20. Perhaps this goes to justify Zahn in supposing that the Philippians had imagined some lack of cordiality in Paul’s reception of their gift. Comm[59] have noted the intensity of language manifested in the compound ἐπιποθῶ. But it is needful to remember the fondness of later Greek for compounds which had lost their strong sense. Calvin, with practical insight: neque enim parum hoc valet ad fidem doctrinæ, faciendam cum persuasus est populus a doctore se amari.—ἐν σπλάγχνοις. “With the heart of Jesus Christ” (with which his own has become identified). This amounts to the same thing as love. Cf. Galatians 2:20, which is the best comment. Possibly Paret (Jahrb. f. deutsche Theol., iii., 1, p. 25) is not too fanciful in finding here a definite recollection of Jesus’ nature, of which σπλαγχνίζεσθαι (in the Gospels) is a common expression. Every genuine pastor has some experience of this feeling.

[59]omm. Commentators.

8. God is my record] Better, witness; for which word “record” is a synonym in older English, e.g. in Chaucer.—For this solemn and tender appeal cp. Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; and see 2 Corinthians 1:18.

long after] The Greek verb is full of a yearning, homesick tenderness. It occurs in similar connexions, Romans 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:4; below, Php 2:26; and its cognates, Romans 15:23; 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 7:11(?), 2 Corinthians 9:14; below, Php 4:1. St Paul employs the verb also, with beautiful significance, to denote the believer’s yearning for heavenly rest and glory, 2 Corinthians 5:2; St James, for the Spirit’s yearning jealousy for our spirits’ loyalty, James 4:5; St Peter, for the regenerate man’s longing for the “milk” of Divine truth, 1 Peter 2:2.

in the bowels of Jesus Christ] MS. evidence favours the order Christ Jesus, see note on Php 1:1.—“In the bowels”:—better perhaps in the heart. The Greek word in the classics means, strictly, the “nobler vitals,” including the heart, as distinguished from the intestines (Æschylus, Agam., 1221). On the other hand the Septuagint in their (rare) use of the word do not observe such a distinction, and render by it the Heb. rachamîm, the bowels, regarded as the seat of tender feeling. But in any case, the question is not of anatomy, but of current usage and reference; and our word “heart” is thus the best rendering.—The phrase here carries with it no assertion of a physicospiritual theory; it only uses, as a modern naturalist might equally well do, a physical term as a symbol for non-physical emotion.—R.V. paraphrases “tender mercies.”

The phraseology (“in the heart of Christ Jesus”) is deeply significant. The Christian’s personality is never lost, but he is so united to his Lord, “one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17), that the emotions of the regenerate member are, as it were, in continuity with those of the ever-blessed Head. Tyndale (1534), Cranmer (1539), and Geneva (1557) render “from the very heart root in Jesus Christ.”—The ministration of His life to the member is such that there is more than sympathy in the matter; there is communication.

Php 1:8. Ἐν σπλάγχνοις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, in the bowels of Jesus Christ) Not Paul, but Jesus Christ lives in Paul; wherefore Paul is not moved in the bowels of Paul, but of Jesus Christ.

Verse 8. - For God is my record - rather, witness (comp. Romans 1:9) - how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. The word σπλάγχνα, here rendered "bowels," means the heart, liver, etc.. he not the entrails. The expression is remarkable, and is well illustrated by Bengel's striking words, "Paulus non in Pauli, sed Jesu Christi movetur visceribus." "Not I, but Christ liveth in me." He is so united with Christ that he feels with the heart of Christ, he loves with the love of Christ. Philippians 1:8In the bowels of Jesus Christ (ἐν σπλάγχνοις Χριστοῦ Ιησοῦ)

Rev., better, in the tender mercies. Describing his longing, not as his individual emotion, but as Christ's longing, as if the very heart of Christ dwelt in him. "In Paul not Paul lives, but Jesus Christ" (Bengel) With tender mercies compare reins, Revelation 2:23, note.

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