Philippians 3:1
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
III.

[6.Original Conclusion of the Epistle (Philippians 3:1).

“FINALLY BRETHREN, FAREWELL IN THE LORD.”]

(1) Finally.—The same word is used in 2Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 6:10; 2Thessalonians 3:1 (as also in this Epistle, Philippians 4:8), to usher in the conclusion. Here, on the contrary, it stands nearly in the middle of the Epistle. Moreover, the commendation above of Timothy and Epaphroditus is exactly that which, according to St. Paul’s custom, would mark the final sentences of the whole. Again, the words “rejoice in the Lord” may, according to the common usage of the time (although certainly that usage is not adopted in other Letters of St. Paul), not improbably signify farewell in the Lord; and even if not used in this formal and conventional sense, yet certainly hold the position of final good wishes, which that sense implies. The resumption of them in Philippians 4:4, where the actual conclusion now begins, is striking. It seems, therefore, highly probable, that in this place the Letter was originally drawing to an end, and that some news was at that moment brought which induced the Apostle to add a second part, couched in language of equal affection, but of greater anxiety and more emphatic warning. Of such a break, and resumption with a far more complete change of style, we have a notable instance at the beginning of the tenth chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians; as also of the addition of postscript after postscript in the last chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.

[7.Words of Warning (Philippians 3:1 to Philippians 4:3).

(1) AGAINST THE JUDAISERS.

(a)Warning against confidencein the flesh,” illustrated by his own renunciation of all Jewish privileges and hopes, in order to have “the righteousness of Christ” (Philippians 3:1-9).

(b)Warning against confidence in perfection as already attained, again illustrated by his own sense of imperfection and hope of continual progress (Philippians 3:10-16).

(2) AGAINST THE ANTINOMIAN PARTY.

Contrast of the sensual and corrupt life of the flesh with the spirituality and hope of future perfection which become citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:17-21).

(3) AGAINST ALL TENDENCY TO SCHISM (Philippians 4:1-3).

To write the same things to you.—These words may refer to what goes before, in which case the reference must be to “rejoice in the Lord.” Now, it is true that this is the burden of the Epistle; but this interpretation suits ill the following words, “for you it is safe,” which obviously refer to some warning against danger or temptation. Hence it is far better to refer them to the abrupt and incisive warnings that follow.

These, then, are said to be a repetition; but of what? Hardly of the former part of this Epistle, for it is difficult there to find anything corresponding to them. If not, then it must be of St. Paul’s previous teaching, by word or by letter. For the use here of the word “to write,” though it suits better the idea of former communication by writing, cannot exclude oral teaching. That there was more than one Epistle to Philippi has been inferred (probably, but not certainly) from an expression in Polycarp’s letter to the Philippians (sect. 3), speaking of “the Epistles” of St. Paul to them. It is not in itself unlikely that another Epistle should have been written; nor have we any right to argue decisively against it, on the ground that no such Epistle is found in the canon of Scripture. But however this may be, it seems natural to refer to St. Paul’s former teaching as a whole. Now, when St. Paul first preached at Philippi, he had not long before carried to Antioch the decree of the council against the contention of “them of the circumcision;” and, as it was addressed to the churches “of Syria and Cilicia,” he can hardly have failed to communicate it, when he passed through both regions “confirming the churches” (Acts 15:41). At Thessalonica, not long after, the jealousy of the Jews at his preaching the freedom of the gospel drove him from the city (Acts 17:5). When he came to Macedonia on his next journey, the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, written there and probably at Philippi, marks the first outburst of the Judaising controversy; and when he returned to Philippi, on his way back, he had just written the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans, which deal exhaustively with the whole question. Nothing is more likely than that his teaching at Philippi had largely dealt with the warning against the Judaisers. What, then, more natural than to introduce a new warning on the subject—shown to be necessary by news received—with the courteous half-apology, “To write the same things to you, to me is not grievous (or, tedious) but for you it is safe,” making assurance doubly sure?

Philippians

PREPARING TO END

Php 3:1-3 {R.V.}.

The first words of the text show that Paul was beginning to think of winding up his letter, and the preceding context also suggests that. The personal references to Timothy and Epaphroditus would be in their appropriate place near the close, and the exhortation with which our text begins is also most fitting there, for it is really the key-note of the letter. How then does he come to desert his purpose? The answer is to be found in his next advice, the warning against the Judaising teachers who were his great antagonists all his life. A reference to them always roused him, and here the vehement exhortation to mark them well and avoid them opens the flood-gates. Forgetting all about his purpose to come to an end, he pours out his soul in the long and precious passage which follows. Not till the next chapter does he get back to his theme in the reiterated exhortation {iv. 4}, ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway; again I will say, rejoice.’ This outburst is very remarkable, for its vehemence is so unlike the tone of the rest of the letter. That is calm, joyous, bright, but this is stormy and impassioned, full of flashing and scathing words, the sudden thunder-storm breaks in on a mellow, autumn day, but it hurtles past and the sun shines out again, and the air is clearer.

Another question suggested is the reference of the second half of verse 1. What are ‘the same things’ to write which is ‘safe’ for the Philippians? Are they the injunctions preceding to ‘rejoice in the Lord,’ or that following, the warning against the Judaisers? The former explanation may be recommended by the fact that ‘Rejoice’ is in a sense the key-note of the Epistle, but on the other hand, the things where repetition would be ‘safe’ would most probably be warnings against some evil that threatened the Philippians’ Christian standing.

There is no attempt at unity in the words before us, and I shall not try to force them into apparent oneness, but follow the Apostle’s thoughts as they lie. We note--

I. The crowning injunction as to the duty of Christian gladness.

A very slight glance over the Epistle will show how continually the note of gladness is struck in it. Whatever in Paul’s circumstances was ‘at enmity with joy’ could not darken his sunny outlook. This bird could sing in a darkened cage. If we brought together the expressions of his joy in this letter, they would yield us some precious lessons as to what were the sources of his, and what may be the sources of ours. There runs through all the instances in the Epistle the implication which comes out most emphatically in his earnest exhortation, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.’ The true source of true joy lies in our union with Jesus. To be in Him is the condition of every good, and, just as in the former verses ‘trust in the Lord ‘ is set forth, so the joy which comes from trust is traced to the same source. The joy that is worthy, real, permanent, and the ally of lofty endeavour and noble thoughts has its root in union with Jesus, is realised in communion with Him, has Him for its reason or motive, and Him for its safeguard or measure. As the passages in question in this Epistle show, such joy does not shut out but hallows other sources of satisfaction. In our weakness creatural love and kindness but too often draw us away from our joy in Him. But with Paul the sources which we too often find antagonistic were harmoniously blended, and flowed side by side in the same channel, so that he could express them both in the one utterance, ‘I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again.’

We do not sufficiently realise the Christian duty of Christian joy, some of us even take mortified countenances and voices in a minor key as marks of grace, and there is but little in any of us of ‘the joy in the Lord’ which a saint of the Old Testament had learned was our ‘strength.’ There is plenty of gladness amongst professing Christians, but a good many of them would resent the question, is your gladness ‘in the Lord’? No doubt any deep experience in the Christian life makes us aware of much in ourselves that saddens, and may depress, and our joy in Him must always be shaded by penitent sorrow for ourselves. But that necessary element of sadness in the Christian life is not the cause why so many Christian lives have little of the buoyancy and hope and spontaneity which should mark them. The reason rather lies in the lack of true union with Christ, and habitual keeping of ourselves ‘in the love of God.’

II. Paul’s apology for reiteration.

He is going to give once more old and well-worn precepts which are often very tedious to the hearer, and not much less so to the speaker. He can only say that to him the repetition of familiar injunctions is not ‘irksome,’ and that to them it is ‘safe.’ The diseased craving for ‘originality’ in the present day tempts us all, hearers and speakers alike, and we ever need to be reminded that the staple of Christian teaching must be old truths reiterated, and that it is not time to stop proclaiming them until all men have begun to practise them. But a speaker must try to make the thousandth repetition of a truth fresh to himself, and not a wearisome form, or a dead commonplace, by freshening it to his own mind and by living on it in his own practice, and the hearers must remember that it is only the completeness of their obedience that antiquates the commandment. The most threadbare commonplace becomes a novelty when occasions for its application arise in our own lives, just as a prescription may lie long unnoticed in a drawer, but when a fever attacks its possessor it will be quickly drawn out and worth its weight in gold.

III. Paul’s warning against teachers of a ceremonial religion.

It scarcely seems congruous with the tone of the rest of this letter that the preachers whom Paul so scathingly points out here had obtained any firm footing in the Philippian Church, but no doubt there, as everywhere, they had dogged Paul’s footsteps, and had tried as they always did to mar his work. They had not missionary fervour or Christian energy enough to initiate efforts amongst the Gentiles so as to make them proselytes, but when Paul and his companions had made them Christians, they did their best, or their worst, to insist that they could not be truly Christians, unless they submitted to the outward sign of being Jews. Paul points a scathing finger at them when he bids the Philippians ‘beware,’ and he permits himself a bitter retort when he lays hold of the Jewish contemptuous word for Gentiles which stigmatised them as ‘dogs,’ that is profane and unclean, and hurls it back at the givers. But he is not indulging in mere bitter retorts when he brings against these teachers the definite charge that they are ‘evil workers.’ People who believed that an outward observance was the condition of salvation would naturally be less careful to insist upon holy living. A religion of ceremonies is not a religion of morality. Then the Apostle lets himself go in a contemptuous play of words, and refuses to recognise that these sticklers for circumcision had themselves been circumcised. ‘I will not call them the circumcision, they have not been circumcised, they have only been gashed and mutilated, it has been a mere fleshly maiming.’ His reason for denying the name to them is his profound belief that it belonged to true Christians. His contemptuous reference puts in a word, the principle which he definitely states in another place, ‘He is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh.’

The Apostle here is not only telling us who are the truly circumcised, but at the same time he is telling us what makes a Christian, and he states three points in which, as I take it, he begins at the end and works backwards to the beginning. ‘We are the circumcision who worship in the Spirit of God’--that is the final result--’and glory in Christ Jesus’--’and have no confidence in the flesh’--that is the starting-point. The beginning of all true Christianity is distrust of self. What does Paul mean by ‘flesh’? Body? Certainly not. Animal nature, or the passions rooted in it? Not only these, as may be seen by noting the catalogue which follows of the things in the flesh, in which he might have trusted. What are these? ‘Circumcised the eighth day, of the tribe of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews’--these belong to ritual and race; ‘as touching the law a Pharisee’--that belongs to ecclesiastical standing; ‘concerning zeal persecuting the church’--that has nothing to do with the animal nature: ‘touching the righteousness which is in the law blameless’--that concerns the moral nature. All these come under the category of the ‘flesh,’ which, therefore, plainly includes all that belongs to humanity apart from God. Paul’s old-fashioned language translated into modern English just comes to this--it is vain to trust in external connection with the sacred community of the Church, or in participation in any of its ordinances and rites. To Paul, Christian rites and Jewish rites were equally rites and equally insufficient as bases of confidence. Do not let us fancy that dependence on these is peculiar to certain forms of Christian belief. It is a very subtle all-pervasive tendency, and there is no need to lift up Nonconformist hands in holy horror at the corruptions of Romanism and the like. Their origin is not solely priestly ambition, but also the desires of the so-called laity. Demand creates a supply, and if there were not people to think, ‘Now it shall be well with me because I have a Levite for my priest,’ there would be no Levites to meet their wishes.

Notice that Paul includes amongst the things belonging to the flesh this ‘touching the righteousness which is in the law blameless.’ Many of us can say the same. We do our duties so far as we know them, and are respectable law-abiding people, but if we are trusting to that, we are of the ‘flesh.’ Have we estimated what God is, and what the real worth of our conduct is? Have we looked not at our actions but at our motives, and seen them as they are seen from above or from the inside? How many ‘blameless’ lives are like the scenes in a theatre, effective and picturesque, when seen with the artificial glory of the footlights? But go behind the scenes and what do we find? Dirty canvas and cobwebs. If we know ourselves we know that a life may have a fair outside, and yet not be a thing to trust to.

The beginning of our Christianity is the consciousness that we are ‘naked and poor, and blind, and in need of all things.’ Men come to Jesus Christ by many ways, thank God, and I care little by what road they come so long as they get there, nor do I insist upon any stereotyped order of religious experience. But of this I am very sure: that unless we abandon confidence in ourselves, because we have seen ourselves in the light of God’s law, we have not learned all that we need nor laid hold of all that Christ gives. Let us measure ourselves in the light of God, and we shall learn that we have to take our places beside Job, when the vision of God silenced his protestations of innocence. ‘I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.’

That self-distrust should pass into glorying in Christ Jesus. If a man has learned his emptiness he will look about for something to fill it. Unless I know myself to be under condemnation because of my sin, and fevered, disturbed, and made wretched, by its inward consequences which forbid repose, the sweetest words of Gospel invitation will pass by me like wind whistling through an archway. But if once I have been driven from self-confidence, then like music from heaven will come the word, ‘Trust in Jesus.’ The seed dropped into the ground puts out a downward-going shoot, which is the root, and an upward-growing one, which is the stalk. The downward-going shoot is ‘no confidence in the flesh,’ the upward-going is ‘glorying in Christ Jesus.’

But that word suggests the blessed experience of triumph in the possession of the Person known and felt to be all, and to give all that life needs. A true Christian should ever be triumphant in a felt experience, in a Name proved to be sufficient, in a power which infuses strength into his weakness, and enables him to do the will of God. It is for want of utter self-distrust and absolute faith in Christ that ‘glorying’ in Him is so far beyond the ordinary mood of the average Christian. You say, ‘I hope, sometimes I doubt, sometimes I fear, sometimes I tremblingly trust.’ Is that the kind of experience that these words shadow? Why do we continue amidst the mist when we might rise into the clear blue above the obscuring pall? Only because we are still in some measure clinging to self, and still in some measure distrusting our Lord. If our faith were firm and full our ‘glorying’ would be constant. Do not be contented with the prevailing sombre type of Christian life which is always endeavouring, and always foiled, which is often doubting and often indifferent, but seek to live in the sunshine, and expatiate in the light, and ‘rejoice in the Lord always.’

‘Glorying’ not only describes an attitude of mind, but an activity of life. Many things to-day tempt Christian people to speak of their religion and of their Lord in an apologetic tone, in the face of strong and educated unbelief; but if we have within us, as we all may have, and ought to have, the triumphant assurance of His sufficiency, nearness, and power, it will not be with bated breath that we shall speak of our Master, or apologise for our Christianity, but we shall obey the commandment, ‘Lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid.’ Ring out the name and be proud that you can ring it out, as the Name of your Lord, and your Saviour, and your all-sufficient Friend. Whatever other people say, you have the experience, if you are a Christian, which more than answers all that they can say.

We have said that the final result set forth here by Paul is, ‘We worship by the Spirit of God.’ The expression translated worship is the technical word for rendering priestly service. Just as Paul has asserted that uncircumcised Christians, not circumcised Jews, are the true circumcision, so he asserts that they are the true priests, and that these officials in the outward temple at Jerusalem have forfeited the title, and that it has passed over to the despised followers of the despised Nazarene. If we have ‘no confidence in the flesh,’ and are ‘glorying in Christ Jesus,’ we are all priests of the most high God. ‘Worship in the Spirit’ is our function and privilege. The externals of ceremonial worship dwindle into insignificance. They may be means of helping, or they may be means of hindering, the ‘worship in the Spirit,’ which I venture to think all experience shows is the more likely to be pure and real, the less it invokes the aid of flesh and sense. To make the senses the ladder for the soul by which to climb to God is quite as likely to end in the soul’s going down the ladder as up it. Aesthetic aids to worship are crutches which keep a lame soul lame all its days.

Such worship is the obligation as well as the prerogative of the Christian. We have no right to say that we have truly forsaken confidence in ourselves, and are truly ‘glorying’ in Christ Jesus, unless our daily life is communion with God, and all your work ‘worshipping by the Spirit of God.’ Such communion and worship are possible for those, and for those only, who have ‘no confidence in the flesh’ and who ‘glory in Christ Jesus.’ Php 3:1. Finally — Or rather, as το λοιπον should be here rendered, As for what remains; or, what I have further in view in writing this epistle. For the expression cannot here signify finally, as our translators have rendered the word, since the apostle is only entering on the main subject of his letter. Properly, it is a form of transition, and is translated besides, 1 Corinthians 1:16. It is as if he had said, Whatever may become of me, or of yourselves, so far as any worldly interest or prospect is concerned, rejoice in the Lord Christ — In the knowledge you have of him, and of the truths and promises of his gospel; in the faith you have in him; the union you have with him by that faith; the relations in which you stand to him as his friends, his brethren, his spouse; in the conformity you have to him in heart and life, and in the expectations you have from him of felicity and glory eternal. These are sufficient causes for rejoicing, whatever circumstances you may be in, and whatever your trials and troubles may be in this present short and uncertain life. Reader, hast thou these reasons for rejoicing?

Then thou mayest well bear without impatience or discontent the light afflictions which are but for a moment, 2 Corinthians 4:17.

To write the same things — Which you have heard from me before, or which I have written to other churches, and which I have desired Epaphroditus to tell you; to me indeed is not grievous — Nothing was accounted grievous or troublesome by him which was for the edification of the church; but for you it is safe — It will tend to preserve you from the errors and sins in which you might otherwise be insnared. The condemnation of the errors of the Judaizers, which the apostle was about to write in this chapter, he had already written in his epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians. But as they were matters of great importance, he did not grudge to write them in this letter; because, if they were only communicated to them verbally, by Epaphroditus, or others, all the Philippians might not have had an opportunity of hearing them, or they might have misunderstood them. Whereas, having them in writing, they could examine them at their leisure, and have recourse to them as often as they had occasion. St. Paul, we may observe further, wrote most of his epistles, partly at least, with a view to confute the erroneous doctrines and practices of the Judaizing teachers, who in the first age greatly disturbed the churches chiefly by their affirming, that unless the Gentiles were circumcised, after the manner of Moses, they could not be saved — But as these teachers artfully suited their arguments to the circumstances and prejudices of the persons whom they addressed, the controversy hath a new aspect in almost every epistle. And what the apostle advances in confutation of their doctrine, and for explaining and establishing the genuine doctrines of the gospel, comprehends a variety of particulars highly worthy of the attention of Christians in every age.3:1-11 Sincere Christians rejoice in Christ Jesus. The prophet calls the false prophets dumb dogs, Isa 56:10; to which the apostle seems to refer. Dogs, for their malice against faithful professors of the gospel of Christ, barking at them and biting them. They urged human works in opposition to the faith of Christ; but Paul calls them evil-workers. He calls them the concision; as they rent the church of Christ, and cut it to pieces. The work of religion is to no purpose, unless the heart is in it, and we must worship God in the strength and grace of the Divine Spirit. They rejoice in Christ Jesus, not in mere outward enjoyments and performances. Nor can we too earnestly guard against those who oppose or abuse the doctrine of free salvation. If the apostle would have gloried and trusted in the flesh, he had as much cause as any man. But the things which he counted gain while a Pharisee, and had reckoned up, those he counted loss for Christ. The apostle did not persuade them to do any thing but what he himself did; or to venture on any thing but that on which he himself ventured his never-dying soul. He deemed all these things to be but loss, compared with the knowledge of Christ, by faith in his person and salvation. He speaks of all worldly enjoyments and outward privileges which sought a place with Christ in his heart, or could pretend to any merit and desert, and counted them but loss; but it might be said, It is easy to say so; but what would he do when he came to the trial? He had suffered the loss of all for the privileges of a Christian. Nay, he not only counted them loss, but the vilest refuse, offals thrown to dogs; not only less valuable than Christ, but in the highest degree contemptible, when set up as against him. True knowledge of Christ alters and changes men, their judgments and manners, and makes them as if made again anew. The believer prefers Christ, knowing that it is better for us to be without all worldly riches, than without Christ and his word. Let us see what the apostle resolved to cleave to, and that was Christ and heaven. We are undone, without righteousness wherein to appear before God, for we are guilty. There is a righteousness provided for us in Jesus Christ, and it is a complete and perfect righteousness. None can have benefit by it, who trust in themselves. Faith is the appointed means of applying the saving benefit. It is by faith in Christ's blood. We are made conformable to Christ's death, when we die to sin, as he died for sin; and the world is crucified to us, and we to the world, by the cross of Christ. The apostle was willing to do or to suffer any thing, to attain the glorious resurrection of saints. This hope and prospect carried him through all difficulties in his work. He did not hope to attain it through his own merit and righteousness, but through the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ.Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord - That is, in the Lord Jesus; see Philippians 3:3; compare the Acts 1:24 note, and 1 Thessalonians 5:16 note. The idea here is, that it is the duty of Christians to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ. This duty implies the following things:

(1) They should rejoice that they have such a Saviour. People everywhere have felt the need of a Saviour, and to us it should be a subject of unfeigned joy that one has been provided for us. When we think of our sins, we may now rejoice that there is one who can deliver us from them; when we think of the worth of the soul, we may rejoice that there is one who can save it from death; when we think of our danger, we can rejoice that there is one who can rescue us from all peril, and bring us to a world where we shall be for ever safe.

(2) we may rejoice that we have such a Saviour. He is just such as we need. He accomplishes just what we want a Saviour to do. We need one to make known to us a way of pardon, and he does it. We need one to make an atonement for sin, and he does it. We need one to give us peace from a troubled conscience, and he does it. We need one to support us in trials and bereavements, and he does it. We need one who can comfort us on the bed of death, and guide us through the dark valley, and the Lord Jesus is just what we want. When we look at his character, it is just such as it should be to win our hearts, and to make us love him; and when we look at what he has done, we see that he has accomplished all that we can desire, and why should we not rejoice?

(3) we may and should rejoice in him. The principal joy of the true Christian should be in the Lord. He should find his happiness not in riches, or gaiety, or vanity, or ambition, or books, or in the world in any form, but in communion with the Lord Jesus, and in the hope of eternal life through him. In his friendship, and in his service, should be the highest of our joys, and in these we may always be happy. It is the privilege, therefore, of a Christian to rejoice. He has more sources of joy than any other man - sources which do not fail when all others fail. Religion is not sadness or melancholy, it is joy; and the Christian should never leave the impression on others that his religion makes him either gloomy or morose. A cheerful countenance, an eye of benignity, a conversation pleasant and kind, should always evince the joy of his heart, and in all his contact with the world around hint he should show that his heart is full of joy.

To write the same things - That is, to repeat the same truths and admonitions. Perhaps he refers in this to the exhortations which he had given them when he was with them, on the same topics on which he is now writing to them. He says, that for him to record these exhortations, and transmit them by a letter, might be the means of permanent welfare to them, and would not be burdensome or oppressive to him. It was not absolutely necessary for them, but still it would be conducive to their order and comfort as a church. We may suppose that this chapter is a summary of what he had often inculcated when he was with them.

To me indeed is not grievous - It is not burdensome or oppressive to me to repeat these exhortations in this manner. They might suppose that in the multitude of cares which he had, and in his trials in Rome, it might be too great a burden for him to bestow so much attention on their interests.

But for you it is safe - It will contribute to your security as Christians, to have these sentiments and admonitions on record. They were exposed to dangers which made them proper. What those dangers were, the apostle specifies in the following verses.

CHAPTER 3

Php 3:1-21. Warning against Judaizers: He Has Greater Cause than They to Trust in Legal Righteousness, but Renounced It for Christ's Righteousness, in Which He Presses after Perfection: Warning against Carnal Persons: Contrast of the Believer's Life and Hope.

1. Finally—rather, not with the notion of time, but making a transition to another general subject, "Furthermore" [Bengel and Wahl] as in 1Th 4:1. Literally, "As to what remains," &c. It is often used at the conclusion of Epistles for "finally" (Eph 6:10; 2Th 3:1). But it is not restricted to this meaning, as Alford thinks, supposing that Paul used it here intending to close his Epistle, but was led by the mention of the Judaizers into a more lengthened dissertation.

the same things—concerning "rejoicing," the prevailing feature in this Epistle (Php 1:18, 25; 2:17; 4:4, where, compare the "again I say," with "the same things" here).

In the Lord—marks the true ground of joy, in contrast with "having confidence in the flesh," or in any outward sensible matter of boasting (Php 3:3).

not grievous—"not irksome."

for you it is safe—Spiritual joy is the best safety against error (Php 3:2; Ne 8:10, end).Philippians 3:1-3 Paul exhorteth to rejoice in the Lord, and to beware

of the false teachers of the circumcision,

Philippians 3:4-6 showing that as a Jew he had better grounds of

confidence than they.

Philippians 3:7-11 But that he disclaimed them all, trusting only to the

justification which is of God by faith, and hoping

to partake of the resurrection through Christ.

Philippians 3:12-14 He acknowledgeth his present imperfection, and that

he was still anxiously striving for the prize,

Philippians 3:15,16 exhorting others to be like-minded,

Philippians 3:17 and to follow his example.

Philippians 3:18,19 For many were enemies to the gospel, being earthly minded,

Philippians 3:20,21 but his conversation and views were heavenly.

Finally; moreover, or as to what remains, i.e. by way of conclusion to the antecedent matter, and transition to the general exhortation, he here premiseth to the subsequent admonition.

My brethren; willingly repeating the title of brethren, to show the respect he had for them, and to sweeten that he was about to subjoin.

Rejoice in the Lord; he moves them (as we, with almost all, do translate it) not as saluting or bidding them farewell, Luke 1:28 2 Corinthians 13:11; but to rejoice in the Lord, as Philippians 4:4, either connoting the object matter of their joy, compared with Philippians 3:3, or rather the efficient, importing for and according to the will of the Lord, in a manner agreeable to the pleasure of him who affords a ground of rejoicing in the midst of your tribulations and afflictions; considering his mercy, Philippians 2:18,27,29, they might taste how good the Lord is, as elsewhere, Psalm 37:4 Jeremiah 9:24, with Romans 5:11 2 Corinthians 10:17 1 Thessalonians 5:16 1 Peter 1:8; and so not after a carnal and worldly, but spiritual and Christian manner, to cheer up themselves in him, when the world frowns most, Psalm 4:6,7.

To write the same things to you; writing of the same things cannot be referred to any other epistles which he wrote to the Philippians, but to those things which, while present with them, he had delivered to them by word of mouth, as Philippians 4:9: compare Isaiah 28:10 Romans 15:15 2 Peter 1:12 1Jo 2:21.

To me indeed is not grievous; for my part, I do not do it with regret, nor account it tedious, (as some teachers do), as if I were ashamed of it, that I should do any thing superfluous, or not necessary, in writing again the same things for the matter of them, that I had before preached to preserve you from falling, as others have done, Philippians 3:18.

But for you it is safe; because this repetition of the same doctrine, though in another way, is pertinent to your edification, (yea, as some read, it is necessary), it is greatly advantageous for your stability in the faith, and to caution and keep you in safety, from the insinuations of false teachers, that I now give you a brief memorial in writing of those things, that you may be cautioned, and they may not, especially in this day of adversity, slip out of your memories, or be lost.

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord,.... The Syriac version reads, "in our Lord", i.e. Christ. The apostle seems as if he was about to conclude his epistle; and therefore, as if he was taking his farewell of this church, and giving his last advice to them, he exhorts them in a most affectionate manner, as his dear brethren in a spiritual relation, that they would make Christ their chief joy; that whatever sorrow they might have on account of his bonds, or the sickness of Epaphroditus, yet, he observes they had reason to rejoice in their Lord and Saviour; and however, it might be matter of rejoicing to them to hear of his hope of coming once more to them, and of the recovery of their minister and his return to them, yet Christ should be the principal object of their joy. A believer has always reason to rejoice in Christ; in the greatness of his person, he being in the form of God, and equal to him, and therefore able to save his to the uttermost by his obedience and death, and has interest enough in heaven to make his intercession prevalent and successful and power to keep safe all that are committed to him; and in the fitness of his person to be a Mediator, and daysman, to take care of things pertaining to the glory of God, and to make reconciliation for sin; and in the fulness of his person, he having all grace in him for his people, which is all theirs, and with joy may they draw water out of the full wells of salvation in him; and in the beauty of his person which surpasses all others, a sight of which fills with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. They may, and should rejoice, as they sometimes do, in his salvation; in the contrivance of it by infinite wisdom; in the impetration of it by himself; and in the application of it by his spirit; and that because hereby justice is satisfied, the law is magnified and made honourable, sin is finished, and an everlasting righteousness brought in. Also they are called upon to rejoice in his resurrection, which is for their justification; in his ascension, seeing he then received gifts for men; and in his session at the right hand of God, which is in their nature; and in his intercession which is to their advantage; and in all the relations he stands in to them, as head, husband, father, brother, friend; and in everything that is his, and that belongs unto him, as his Gospel, ordinances, ways, and worship,

To write the same things to you. The apostle finding he had more time on his hands, or fresh thoughts occurred to him, writes on, and makes an apology for writing the same things, which he had either wrote to other churches, or which he had delivered when first among them, or which he had since wrote to them. For sometimes it is necessary to say and write the same things over and over again, partly that they may be the better understood, and partly that they may be more strongly fixed in the memory; as also, that the saints may be the more established in the present truth: and which he says,

to me indeed is not grievous; or troublesome; he found no backwardness to it, nor sluggishness in it; he was not loath to do it, nor was it wearisome to him; or made him slothful, as the Arabic renders it; nor was he afraid to repeat what he had wrote, or again to warn them against false teachers, of whom he stood in no fear:

but for you it is safe; or "necessary", as the Vulgate Latin version reads, being a means of preserving them from the error of the wicked; for though the saints are safe in Christ, and can never finally and totally be deceived, yet the Gospel, and the frequent ministration of it, are a means of keeping them from the deception of evil men; for as the Syriac version renders it, "they make you more cautious"; when truth is repeated, and afresh confirmed, it guards against falling in with damnable heresies. And so the Arabic version renders it, "is a guard", or "garrison to you".

Finally, {1} my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. {2} To write the {a} same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

(1) A conclusion of those things which have been said before, that is, that they go forward cheerfully in the Lord.

(2) A preface to the next admonition that follows, to take good heed and beware of false apostles, who join circumcision with Christ, (that is to say, justification by works, with free justification by faith), and beat into men's head the ceremonies which are abolished, instead of true exercises of godliness and charity. And he calls them dogs, as profane barkers, and evil workmen, because they neglected true works and did not teach the true use of them. To be short, he calls them concision, because in urging circumcision, they cut off themselves and others from the Church.

(a) Which you have often times heard from me.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 3:1. Τὸ λοιπόν] introduces what is still to be done by the readers in addition to what has been hitherto communicated; see on Ephesians 6:10. Hence it is of frequent occurrence towards the close of the epistles, as bringing in a further request, exhortation, etc. Comp. Php 4:8; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. To the closing address thus introduced, but at once abandoned again in Php 3:2, Paul would have attached his giving of thanks for the aid sent to him (comp. Php 4:8; Php 4:10 ff.). This is contrary to the view of Schinz and van Hengel, who, from the fact that Paul has not yet expressed his thanks, conclude that he did not at this point desire to proceed to the closing of the letter. We need not search for a connection with what precedes (Chrysostom: ἔχετε Ἐπαφρόδιτον, διʼ ὃν ἠλγεῖτε, ἔχετε Τιμόθεον, ἔρχομαι κἀγώ, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἐπιδίδωσι· τί ὑμῖν λείπει λοιπόν; comp. Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Michaelis, and others). The preceding topic is closed, and the exhortation beginning with τὸ λοιπ. which now follows stands by itself; so that we are not even justified in saying that Paul here passes from the particular to the general (Schinz, Matthies), but must simply assume that he is proceeding to the conclusion, which he desired to commence with this general encouragement.

χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ] is a summons to Christian joyfulness, which is not κατὰ κόσμον (see Chrysostom), but has its ground in Christ, and is thereby specifically defined, inasmuch as Christ—through the Holy Spirit—rules in the believing heart; hence the χαρὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου (1 Thessalonians 1:6) or ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ (Romans 14:17) are in substance not different from this (comp. Galatians 5:22). The subsequent double repetition of this encouragement (Php 4:4) is the result of the apostle’s special love for his readers, and of the whole tone of feeling pervading the epistle. Moreover, in ἐν κυρίῳ we are not to seek for a new special element, preparing the way for the transition to the explanations which follow (Weiss, Hofmann); for Paul could not in what went before mean any other joy, either on his own part (Php 1:18) or on the part of his readers (Php 2:17 f., 28), and in other passages also he does not add to χαίρετε the self-evident definition ἐν κυρίῳ (2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16). Another joy in the Christian life he knew not at all.

τὰ αὐτὰ γράφειν] “Hic incipit de pseudo-apostolis agere,” Calvin. After χαίρ. χ ἐν κ. there is a pause; Paul breaks off. τὰ αὐτά has been erroneously referred to χαίρ. ἐν κ., and in that case the retrospective reference which Paul had in view is either not explained at all (Bengel, Zachariae), or is believed to be found in Php 2:18 (van Hengel, Wiesinger), or in Php 1:27 f. (Matthies, Rilliet), or in Php 1:27 to Php 2:16 (Storr). This view is at variance, not indeed with the plural τὰ αὐτά (see, on the contrary, Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 19 D; Mätzner, ad Antiph. p. 153; Kühner II. 1, p. 60), but with the facts, first, that there is no express summons whatever to Christian joyfulness generally, given in the previous portion of the epistle (not even in Php 2:18); secondly, that so simple and natural a summons—which, moreover, occurs again twice in Php 4:4—would certainly have least of all given rise to an apology for repetition; and lastly, that ἀσφαλές, in accordance with its idea (without danger), points not to the repetition of a summons of this kind, but to a warning, such as follows immediately in the context.[145] The accusation of poverty of thought (Baur) is therefore all the more groundless here. And as the altogether vague reference of Theodoret and Erasmus (Annotat.) to the numerous exhortations contained in the epistle generally, or to the fundamental tone of the letter hitherto (Weiss), is simply at variance with the literal import of the words, τὰ αὐτά cannot be interpreted as applicable to anything but the subsequent warning against the false teachers. This warning, however, has not occurred previously, either at Php 1:15 f., or indirectly in Php 1:27, as Lünemann thinks, or in Php 1:27 to Php 2:18, as Ewald assumes. Hence many have caught at the explanation: “eadem repetere, quae praesens dixeram” (Pelagius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, so also Erasmus, Paraphr., Calvin, Beza, Balduin, Estius, Calovius, Wolf, Schrader, and others; de Wette undecidedly). But this quae praesens dixeram is quite gratuitously imported; it must at least have been indicated by τὰ αὐτὰ καὶ γρ. ὑμ. or in some other way. The same objection applies against Wieseler (Chronol. d. apost. Zeitalt. p. 458 f.), who takes τὰ αὐτά as contrasted with the oral communications, which would be made to the readers by Epaphroditus and especially by Timothy. The only correct explanation, therefore, that remains is the assumption (which, however, is expressly rejected already by Theodoret) that Paul had already written what follows in an earlier epistle to the Philippians [146] which is not preserved, and that he here repeats the same. So Aegidius Hunnius, Haenlein, Bertholdt, Flatt, Köhler, in the Annal. d. ges. Theol. 1834, III. 1, p. 18 f.; Feilmoser, Bleek, Jatho, Schenkel, Bisping, Hilgenfeld, Hofmann; de Wette undecidedly. It must remain uncertain, however, whether this repetition covers Php 3:2 only, or Php 3:3 also, or a still larger portion of the sequel; as also, how far the repetition is a literal one, which seems to be the case with Php 3:2 from its peculiar character.

ὀκνηρόν] irksome, matter of scruple (Dem. 777. 5; Theocr. xxiv. 35; Pind. Nem. xi. 28; Herodian vi. 9, 7; Soph. O. R. 834), comp. οὐκ ὀκνητέον, Polyb. i. 14. 7, also Plat. Ep. II. 310 D: τἀληθῆ λέγειν οὔτε ὀκνήσω οὔτε σἰσχυνοῦμαι.

ἀσφαλές] safe, so that ye will the more firmly rely thereon for the determination of your conduct. Comp. Acts 25:26; Hebrews 6:19; Wis 7:23; Plat. Rep. 450 E; Phaed. p. 100 D E; Dem. 372. 2, 1460. 15. Hofmann, without any precedent of usage, assigns to ὀκνηρόν the sense of indolent cowardice, and takes ἀσφαλές as prudent, which linguistically is admissible (Heind. ad Plat. Soph. p. 231 A), but would be unsuitable to the ὑμῖν. The apostle wishes to say, that the repetition is for himself not irksome (ὄκνος, haesitatio), and is for his readers an ἀσφαλὲς τεκμήριον (Eur. Rhes. 94.) to be attended to.

[145] The expedient to which Wiesinger has recourse is gratuitously introduced, when he connects the χαίρετε ἐν κ. more closely with the warning that follows by imagining that, in χαίρ. ἐν κ., he detects already the idea on which the sequel is based, namely the στήκετε ἐν κυρίῳ, Php 4:1.

[146] Comp. also Credner, Einl. I. p. 333.

NOTE.

This exegetical result, that, previously to our epistle, Paul had already written another to the Philippians,[147] is confirmed by Polycarp,[148] who, ad 3, says: τοῦ μακαρίου κ. ἐνδόξου Παύλου, ὃς γενόμενος ἐν ὑμῖν κατὰ πρόσωπον τῶν τότε ἀνθρώπων ἐδίδαξεν ἀκριβῶς κ. βεβαίως τὸν περὶ ἀληθείας λόγον, ὃς καὶ ἀπὼν ὑμῖν ἔγραψεν ἐπιστολὰς, εἰς ἃς ἐὰν ἐγκύπτητε, δυνήσεσθε οἰκοδομεῖσθαι κ.τ.λ. It is true that the plur. in this passage (ἐπιστολὰς, εἰς ἅς) is usually explained as referring to one epistle (see Cotelerius in loc.; and Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. II. p. 914 f.; Hilgenfeld, Apost. Väter, p. 210; J. B. Lightfoot, p. 138 f.), just as it is well known that also in profane authors ἑπιστολαί (comp. literae) is used of one despatch (Thuc. i. 132. 6, viii. 39. 2), sometimes generally in a generic sense as plural of the category, and sometimes specially of commissions and orders. See Schaefer, Plut. VI. p. 446; Blomf. and Stanl. ad Aesch. Prom. 3; Rettig, Quaest. Phil. II. p. 37 f. But there is the less ground for assuming this construction here, since doctrinal epistles, both in the N. T. and also in the apostolic Fathers, are always described by the singular when only one epistle is intended, and by the plural (as in 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 10:9-11; 2 Peter 3:16; comp. Acts 9:2; Acts 22:5) if more than one are meant,—a practice from which there is no exception (not even in 1 Corinthians 16:3), as, in fact, Polycarp, in regard to ἐπιστολή, elsewhere very definitely distinguishes between the singular and plural. See ch. 13: τὰς ἐπιστολὰς Ἰγνατίου τὰς πεμφθείσας ἡμῖν ὑπʼ αὑτοῦ καὶ ἄλλας ὅσας εἴχομεν παρʼ ἡμῖνʼ ἐπέμψαμεν ὑμῖν, καθὼς ἑνετείλασθε· αἵτινες ὑποτεταγμέναι εἰσὶ τῆ πιστολῇ ταύτῃ. In order to prove that Polycarp in ch. 3. did not mean more than one epistle to the Philippians, an appeal has been made to ch. 4., where, in the Latin version, which alone has been preserved, it is said: “Ego autem nihil tale sensi in vobis vel audivi, in quibus laboravit beatus Paulus, qui estis (non-genuine addition: laudati) in principio epistolae ejus; de vobis enim gloriatur in omnibus ecclesiis, quæ Deum solae tunc cognoverant, nos autem nondum noveramus.” But epistolae ejus cannot here be the epistle to the Philippians, for the idea: “ye are in the beginning of his epistle,” would be simply absurd; epistolae is, on the contrary, the nominative plural, and the sense is: “Ye are originally his epistles,” that is, his letters of recommendation, in which phrase allusion is made to 2 Corinthians 3:1 ff.[149] The correctness of this explanation, which Wieseler has substantially adopted, is corroborated by the sequel: de vobis enim gloriatur, etc.

It is, moreover, à priori intelligible and likely enough that Paul should have corresponded with this church—which enjoyed his most intimate confidence, and the founding of which marked his entrance on his European labours—at an earlier period than merely now, almost at the close of his life. And Polycarp was sufficiently close to the time of the apostle, not merely to have inferred such a correspondence from our passage, but to have had a historical knowledge of it (in opposition to Hofmann).

[147] Ewald also acknowledges the composition of more than one epistle to the Philippians, but finds traces of them not here, but at Php 2:12Php 3:1-3. A SALUTATION CHANGED INTO A WARNING.Ch. Php 3:1-3. Let them cultivate Joy in the Lord, as the true preservative from the Dangers of Judaistic Teaching

1. Finally] Lit., “For the rest”; “For what remains.” See Ephesians 6:10, and note in this Series. In 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; below Php 4:8; and (in a slightly different form) Galatians 6:17; the phrase appears to mean “in conclusion.” But it is plainly elastic, and in 1 Thess. we have an example, as here, of its use (and of course of its retention by the writer on review of his writing) some time before the actual farewell. As a fact the Apostle is just about to open the last large topic of his letter, the topic of the difference between a true and a false Gospel; all else in the remaining paragraphs is only accessory. Hitherto he has been dealing, in effect, with the duty and blessedness of unity, secured by humility and watchfulness; bringing in some all-important doctrinal statements, but only by the way. He will now close with a definite and solemn message of spiritual truth, in a matter of present urgency.

The connexion of this passage has been much debated, and particularly the bearing of the phrase “to write the same things unto you.” What does he refer to? To a previous Epistle? To a previous similar statement in this Epistle? But there is no other hint whatever of a previous letter; and in this present letter there is no previous injunction to rejoice. The solution offered by Bp Lightfoot is as follows:—“The same things” are the exhortations to unity so often made already, and which the Apostle was about to reinforce. But he was interrupted in his work, and not till after an interval of days, perhaps, did he resume it. He then dropped the intended appeal, and turned instead to the yet more serious subject of doctrinal error.

This ingenious suggestion offers, however, a serious difficulty, by assuming that St Paul, with his scribe beside him, would have sent out an Epistle in a state so disjointed, simply for lack of revision. No view of Divine inspiration demands it; and certainly all considerations of thoughtful authorship are against it.

We offer the following theory:—The Apostle sees before him, as he thinks of Philippi, the danger of doctrinal error; error which in one way or another undervalues Christ and Him crucified. The true antidote to such error is a developed and rejoicing intuition into Christ and His work, such as had been granted to himself. This he will now make his theme. But he has, in a sense, done so already, by the oft-repeated allusions to the Lord’s sovereign and vital connexion with His people (“in the Lord,” “in the heart of Christ,” &c.), and above all by the opening passages of ch. 2. So he is “writing the same things” when he writes now “finally” about “rejoicing in the Lord” as their righteousness, life, glory, strength, and peace. All “other Gospels” were obscurations of that great joy.

Thus the special injunction to “rejoice” has regard to the past and coming context at once. In particular, it anticipates Php 3:3 below, (“glory in Christ Jesus”).

A suffrage in one of the Litanies of the venerable Church of the Unitas Fratrum (“the Moravians”) is in point here:—“From the loss of our glory in Thee, preserve and keep us, gracious Lord and God.”

rejoice] R.V. margin, “or, farewell.” But the evidence of Php 4:4, which plainly takes this phrase up, and adds the word “always,” is altogether for the text R.V., and A.V. “Farewell always” is an impossible formula of conclusion; we are constrained to render “Be glad always” there. And already Php 2:18 he has used the same Greek word in that sense beyond doubt. See the last note.

in the Lord] See last note but one, and that on Php 1:8.

To write the same things] See last note but two, for a reference of this to “the things” already written in this Epistle about the glory and fulness of Christ.

to me indeed … safe] The Greek words form an Iambic trimeter, a verse corresponding in the Greek drama to our blank heroic, and may thus be a quotation by the way[22]. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 we almost certainly have such a quotation from a Greek dramatist, Menander or perhaps Euripides; “Ill converse withers fair morality.” We may render here, with a view to the rhythm, To me not irksome, it is safe for you.— St James (Php 1:17) appears similarly to adopt a Greek hexameter; “Every giving of good and every boon of perfection.”

[22] I owe this remark to a friend.Php 3:1. Τὸ λοιπὸν, Furthermore) a phrase used in continuing a discourse, 1 Thessalonians 4:1. So λοιπὸν and τοῦ λοιποῦ are used.—[28] τὰ αὐτὰ, the same things) concerning joy. [The proper principle on which to rest our rejoicing is presently presented, namely, to be in communion with Christ.—V. g.]—οὐκ ὀκνηρὸν, is not troublesome) For it is pleasant for a person who feels joy to write: rejoice. The contrary is found at Galatians 6:17.—ὑμῖν δὲ ἀσφαλές, but for you it is safe) Spiritual joy produces the best safety against errors, especially Jewish errors, Php 3:2.

[28] Χαίρετε ἐν Κυρίῳ, rejoice in the Lord) dost thou thyself rejoice with all diligence (earnestness) and constancy in the Lord Jesus Christ? ch. Php 4:4.—V. g.Verse 1. - Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. This word "finally" (τὸ λοιπόν is frequently used by St. Paul to introduce a practical conclusion after the doctrinal portion of his Epistles: thus it occurs again in Philippians 4:8, and also in 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Some render χαίρετε "farewell;" but "rejoice" seems more suitable here. The golden thread of spiritual joy runs through this Epistle. "Rejoice in the Lord" is the oft-repeated refrain of St. Paul's solemn hymn of praise. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. "The same things:" does he refer to his oral instructions, to a previous Epistle now lost, to his exhortations to unity, or to his reiterated command "Rejoice"? The words seem most naturally to point to something in the same Epistle rather than to advice given on former occasions. It is true that Polycarp, in his letter to the Philippiaus (section 3), says that St. Paul wrote Epistles (ἐπιστολάς) to them; but there is no trace of any other Epistle; and the mere plural number is not sufficient to support the theory of other letters, the plural word being frequently used of a single letter. Bishop Lightfoot suggests the exhortation to unity in Philippians 2:2. But this topic does not reappear before Philippians 4:2. And the hypothesis of an interruption, which (as Bishop Lightfoot and others think) suddenly turned the apostle's thoughts into another channel and prevented him from explaining τὰ αὐτά (the same things) till Philippians 4:2, seems forced and unnecessary, notwithstanding the great authority by which it is supported. It seems more probable (Bengel and others) that St. Paul refers to the constant admonition of this Epistle, "Rejoice in the Lord." To repeat this again and again was to him not grievous (rather, with R.V., "irksome"), but safe for the Philippians. Christian joy has a close connection with safety, for it implies unswerving faith, and, more than that, the presence of Christ. Compare the oft-repeated exhortation of Psalm 37, "Fret not thyself: it tends only to evil-doing" (ver. 8, in the Hebrew). Possibly, however, ἀσφαλές here, as in Acts 22:30 and. 25:26, may mean "certain." The repetition is not irksome to St. Paul, while it makes his meaning and his wishes certain to the Philippians. Finally (τὸ λοιπόν)

Lit., for the rest. Frequent in Paul's writings in introducing the conclusions of his letters. See 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 13:11, note. Evidently Paul was about to close his letter, when his thought was directed into another channel - the Judaizing teachers, and their attempts to undermine his influence.

Rejoice (χαίρετε)

See on 2 Corinthians 13:11.

The same things

It is doubtful what is referred to. Possibly previous letters, or the dissensions in the Church.

Grievous (ὀκνηρόν)

Only here, Matthew 25:26; Romans 12:11, in both instances rendered slothful. From ὀκνέω to delay. Hence, in classical Greek, shrinking, backward, unready. The idea of delay underlies the secondary sense, burdensome, troublesome. It is the vexation arising from weary waiting, and which appears in the middle English irken to tire or to become tired, cognate with the Latin urgere to press, and English irk, irksome, work.

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