Philippians 3:11
If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.
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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.If by any means - Implying, that he meant to make use of the most strenuous exertions to obtain the object.

I might attain unto - I may come to, or may secure this object.

The resurrection of the dead - Paul believed that all the dead would be raised Acts 24:15; Acts 26:6-8; and in this respect he would certainly attain to the resurrection of the dead, in common with all mankind. But the phrase, "the resurrection of the dead," also might be used, in a more limited sense, to denote the resurrection of the righteous as a most desirable object; and this might be secured by effort. It was this which Paul sought - this for which he strove - this that was so bright an object in his eye that it was to be secured at any sacrifice. To rise with the saints; to enter with them into the blessedness of the heavenly inheritance, was an object that the apostle thought was worth every effort which could he made. The doctrine of the resurrection was, in his view, that which distinguished the true religion, and which made it of such inestimable value Acts 26:6-7; Acts 23:6; 1 Corinthians 15; and he sought to participate in the full honor and glory of such a resurrection.

11. If by any means—not implying uncertainty of the issue, but the earnestness of the struggle of faith (1Co 9:26, 27), and the urgent need of jealous self-watchfulness (1Co 10:12).

attain unto the resurrection of the dead—The oldest manuscripts read, "the resurrection from (out of) the dead," namely, the first resurrection; that of believers at Christ's coming (1Co 15:23; 1Th 4:15; Re 20:5, 6). The Greek word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. "The power of Christ's resurrection" (Ro 1:4), ensures the believer's attainment of the "resurrection from the (rest of the) dead" (compare Php 3:20, 21). Compare "accounted worthy to obtain the resurrection from the dead" (Lu 20:35). "The resurrection of the just" (Lu 14:14).

Being found in whom, after justification and sanctification, he doubts not to be glorified, (by a figure of a part, resurrection of the body, for the whole), though he expresseth himself as one that must pass through difficulties ere he attain not only to a spiritual resurrection from sin, but a glorious one of the body from the grave, even such a one as will be an elevation or ascension of the body united to the soul, not only exempted from the grave, but exalted into the air, to be for ever with the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 4:14,17; from whom he was assured no death should separate him, Romans 8:38,39 2 Timothy 4:8; who lived by faith in expectation of the time and the manner of it, 1 Corinthians 15:14,19,30,32 1 Peter 1:6,7, that he should be then completely holy in his measure as Christ himself is. If by any means I, might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not in a figurative sense, the resurrection from the death of sin to a life of grace, of which Christ is the efficient cause, for this the apostle had attained to; unless the consummation of that spiritual life, in perfect holiness, should be intended, than which nothing was more desirable by him; nor in a representative sense, for this also he enjoyed in Christ his head, being risen with him, and in him, when he rose from the dead; but in a literal sense and designs not the general resurrection of the just and unjust, which he believed; for he knew that everyone must, and will attain to this, even Pharaoh, Judas, and the worst of men; but the special and particular resurrection of the righteous, the better resurrection, which will be first, and upon the personal coming of Christ, and by virtue of union to him, and in a glorious manner, and to everlasting life and happiness: and when the apostle says, "if by any means" he might attain to this, it is not to be understood as if he doubted of it, which would be inconsistent with his firm persuasion, that nothing should separate him from the love of God, and with his full assurance of faith, as to interest in Jesus Christ; but it denotes the difficulty of attaining it, since through various afflictions and great tribulations a believer must pass, before he comes to it; and also the apostle's earnest desire of it, and strenuous endeavour for it; not caring what scenes of trouble, or sea of sorrow what fiery trials, severe sufferings, or cruel death he went through, so be it he obtained as he believed he should, the glorious and better resurrection; he counted not his life dear to himself, he loved it not unto death, having in view the blissful and happy state after it. If by any means I might attain unto the {k} resurrection of the dead.

(k) To everlasting life, which follows the resurrection of the saints.

Php 3:11. Εἴ πως] if possibly, designating the aim, the attainment of which is before the apostle’s mind in the συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θαν. αὐτοῦ. In this case, however, the deliberative form of expression (comp. Romans 1:10; Romans 11:14; Kühner, II. 2, p. 1034) bears the impress, not of doubt that he will attain to the resurrection of the dead (in case, namely, he should not live to see the Parousia), but of humility under the conception of the greatness of the bliss, and of the moral condition to which, on man’s part, it is subject; οὐ θαῤῥῶ γάρ, φησιν, οὔπω· οὕτως ἐταπεινοφρόνει, ὅπερ ἀλλαχοῦ λέγει· ὁ δοκῶν ἑστάναι, βλεπέτω μὴ πέσῃ, Theophylact: comp. Chrysostom. This suffices also in opposition to Baur’s doubt (Paulus, II. p. 79 f.) whether Paul could have expressed himself in this way at all. The expression excludes moral security, but not the certitudo salutis in itself, as, following Estius and other Catholic expositors, Bisping still thinks. The certainty of salvation is founded on God’s decree, calling (Romans 8:29 f.), promise, and attestation by the Spirit (Romans 8:10), in faith on the saving facts of redemption (Romans 8:32 ff.). Comp. Calovius.

The reader could not feel any doubt as to what ἐξανάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν Paul means, namely, the first, in which οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ (1 Corinthians 15:23) shall arise.[162] Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16. It is the resurrection of the dead κατʼ ἐξοχήν, not different from the ἈΝΆΣΤΑΣΙς ΤῶΝ ΔΙΚΑΊΩΝ. See on Luke 14:14. Nevertheless, we must not find this resurrection denoted by the double compound ἐξανάστ., the ἘΞ in it conveying the idea ἘΚ Τῆς Γῆς ΕἸς ΤῸΝ ἈΈΡΑ (Theophylact). This ΕΞ is simply to be explained by the conception ἘΚ Τῆς Γῆς, so that neither in the substantial meaning nor even in style (Bengel: “Paulinus enim stylus Christo adscribit ἀνάστασιν, ἐξανάστασιν Christianis”) is ἘΞΑΝΆΣΤ. to be distinguished from ἈΝΆΣΤ.; but the former is to be explained solely from the more vividly imaginative view of the event which the apostle has before him. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 6:14. The double compound substantive does not occur elsewhere in the N. T. (the verb, Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28; Acts 15:5); but see Polyb. iii. 55. 4, ii. 21. 9, ii. 35. 4; Genesis 7:4. Compl. We may add, that while it has been explained, at variance with the context, as referring to the ethical resurrection, Romans 6:4 f. (Flacius, Balduin, Coccejus, and others; comp. Schrader), it is also erroneous to find in it the sense: “if perchance I should remain alive until the resurrection of the dead” (van Hengel, Hilgenfeld); since, on the contrary, essentially the same meaning is expressed as in Luke 20:34 by οἱ καταξιωθέντεςτῆς ἀναστάσεως, and it is conceived as a possible case (comp. Php 1:20 ff., Php 2:17) that Paul will not remain alive until the Parousia.[163] καταντ. εἰς (comp. Ephesians 4:13) denotes the attaining to a goal (frequently in Polybius, see Schweighäuser, Lex. p. 332; see also the passages from the LXX. and Apocr. in Schleusner, III. p. 234 f.), which, however, is here not a point of time, but a bliss which is to be attained. Comp. Acts 26:7.

[162] It is incorrect to ascribe to the apostle the idea that none but believers will rise at the resurrection, and that unbelievers will remain in Hades (Weiss). The resurrection of all, as Christ Himself unquestionably taught it (see on John 5:28 f.; Luke 14:14), is also in Paul’s view the necessary premiss of the judgment of all, of believers and also of unbelievers (of the κίσμος, Romans 3:6; 1 Corinthians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 11:32). That view, moreover, is at variance with the apostle’s distinct declaration in Acts 24:15, comp. Acts 17:31. Gerlach properly declares himself (Letzte Dinge, p. 147 ff.) opposed to Weiss, but still limits the final judgment, at p. 101 ff., as regards the persons subjected to it, in a way that is exegetically altogether unjustifiable.

[163] This also applies against the view of Otto, Pastoralbr. p. 233, who has altogether misunderstood vv. 11 and 12.Php 3:11. εἴ πως καταντ. This construction closely corresponds to the Homeric usage of εἴ κε or ἤν (as in Odyss., 3, 83, πατρὸς ἐμοῦ κλέος μετέρχομαι, ἤν που ἀκούσω) where the protasis really contains in itself its own apodosis “which consists of an implied idea of purpose” or hope (see Goodwin, MT[54]., p. 180; Burton, MT[55]., § 276; Viteau, Le Verbe, pp. 62, 116). Here the clause is almost equivalent to an indirect question. The Resurrection is the Apostle’s goal, for it will mean perfect, unbroken knowledge of Christ and fellowship with Him. Paul knows by experience the difficulty of remaining loyal to the end, of being so conformed to Christ’s death that the power of sin will not revive its mastery over him. So his apparent uncertainty here of reaching the goal is not distrust of God. It is distrust of himself. It emphasises the need he feels of watchfulness and constant striving (cf. διώκω, Php 3:12), lest “having preached to others” he “be found a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, along with Romans 8:17, are the best parallel to the passage before us). But, on the other side, he is always reminded that “faithful is He that calleth you” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).—καταντήσω. Probably aorist subjunctive (as corresponding with καταλάβω in Php 3:12).—τὴν ἐξαν. τ. νεκρ. Authority, both external and internal, supports the reading τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν. ἐξανάστ. is found nowhere else in N.T., and never in LXX. In later Greek it means “expulsion”. It occurs only here in this sense. Holst, suggests that ἐξαν. is used here of the actual resurrection, because ἀνάστασις was used above of believers with an ethical, ideal meaning. We are disposed to believe (with Ws[56]. and others) that Paul is thinking only of the resurrection of believers (cf. Ps. Sol. 3:13–16 for Jewish thought on this subject, the thought which had been Paul’s mental atmosphere). This is his usual standpoint. In the famous passage 1 Corinthians 15:12 ff. it is exclusively of Christians he speaks. We have no information as to what he taught regarding a general resurrection. But considering that it is with spontaneous, artless letters we have to do, and not with theoretical discussions, it would be hazardous to say that he ignored or denied a general resurrection. For him the resurrection of Christians depends on and is conformed to the resurrection of their Lord. Teichmann (Auferstehung u. Gericht, p. 67), comparing chap. Php 1:23 with this passage, holds that Paul, although he has replaced the idea of resurrection by that of a continuous existence after death, occasionally (as here) uses the traditional termini technici. This may be so. More probably at one time he would give prominence to the thought of uninterrupted fellowship with Christ after death, while at another his longings would centre round the great crisis when Christ should acknowledge all His faithful servants and make them full sharers in His glory. It is not to be doubted that Paul, like the rest of the early Christians, expected that crisis soon to come.

[54] . Moods and Tenses (Burton, Goodwin).

[55] . Moods and Tenses (Burton, Goodwin).

[56] . Weiss.11. if by any means] For the strong language of contingency here cp. 1 Corinthians 9:27. Taken along with such expressions of exulting assurance as Romans 8:31-39; 2 Timothy 1:12; and indeed with the whole tone of “joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13) which pervades the Scriptures, we may fairly say that it does not imply the uncertainty of the final glory of the true saint. It is language which views vividly, in isolation, one aspect of the “Pilgrim’s Progress” towards heaven; the aspect of our need of continual watching, self-surrender, and prayer, in order to the development of that likeness without which heaven would not be heaven. The other side of the matter is the efficacy and perseverance of the grace which comes out in our watching; without which we should not watch; which “predestinates” us “to be conformed to the image of the Son of God” (Romans 8:29). The mystery lies, as it were, between two apparently parallel lines; the reality of an omnipotent grace, and the reality of the believer’s duty. As this line or that is regarded, in its entire reality, the language of assurance or of contingency is appropriate. But the parallel lines, as they seem now, prove at last to converge in glory (John 6:39-40; John 6:44; John 6:54; John 10:27-29; Romans 8:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

See Hooker’s Sermon Of the Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith in the Elect, especially the closing paragraphs.

I might] Lit., and here better, with R.V., I may.

the resurrection of the dead] The better supported reading gives, as R.V., the resurrection from the dead. The phrase implies a certain leaving behind of “the dead”; and this is further emphasized in the Greek, where the noun rendered “resurrection” is the rare word exanastasis, i.e. the common word (anastasis) for resurrection, strengthened by the preposition meaning “from.” This must not, however, be pressed far; later Greek has a tendency towards compounding words without necessarily strengthening the meaning. It is the setting of the word here which makes an emphasis in it likely.—It has been inferred that St Paul here refers to a special and select resurrection, so to speak, and that this is “the first resurrection” of Revelation 20:5-6, interpreted as a literal resurrection of either all saints or specially privileged saints, before that of the mass of mankind. (Such an interpretation of Revelation 20 appears as early as Tertullian, cent. 2, de Monogamiâ, c. x.). But against this explanation here lies the fact that St Paul nowhere else makes any unmistakable reference to such a prospect (1 Corinthians 15:23-24 is not decisive, and certainly not 1 Thessalonians 4:16); and that this makes it unlikely that he should refer to it here, where he manifestly is dealing with a grand and ruling article of his hope. We explain it accordingly of the glorious prospect of the Resurrection of the saints in general. And we account for the special phrase by taking him to be filled with the thought of the Lord’s Resurrection as the pledge and, so to speak, the summary of that of His people; and His Resurrection was emphatically “from the dead.”—Or it may be that we have here to explain “the dead” as a term of abstract reference, meaning practically “the state of the dead,” the world of death.—In any case, the phrase refers to “the resurrection of life” (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29); “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14); differenced from that of “the unjust” (Acts 24:15), whether or no in time, certainly in an awful distinction of conditions and results. The blessed resurrection is here called “the resurrection” as the blessed life is called “the life” (e.g. 1 John 5:12). The antithesis is not non-resurrection, and non-existence, but such resurrection, and such existence, as are ruin and woe.—It is observable that the Apostle here implies his expectation of death, to be followed by resurrection; not of survival till the Lord’s Return. Cp. 2 Corinthians 4:14.Php 3:11. Εἴπως, if by any means, in any way) This denotes the struggle of Paul’s faith; so, εἰ, if, Php 3:12.—καταντήσω, I may attain) He gradually passes from the figure of loss and gain to that of a race. Καταντᾷν is to come up to, the very act of attaining and gaining possession.—ἐξανάστασιν [42]ΤῶΝ ΝΕΚΡῶΝ) i.e. ἀνάστασιν (Χριστοῦ) ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, the resurrection (of Christ) from the dead; comp. Romans 1:4, note [2 Timothy 2:11]; for the style of Paul ascribes ἀνάστασιν to Christ; ἘΞΑΝΆΣΤΑΣΙΝ to Christians.[43] But the resurrection of Christ and our resurrection are considered as one resurrection, by reason of the κοινωνία, fellowship. After the mention of the resurrection, he brings in some things suited to his own present state, and interweaves the rest [of the discussion of the resurrection] at Php 3:20-21.

[42] Τὴν ἐκ is read by ABD(Δ)fg Vulg., Iren. 309, Lucif. 166. Τῶν ἐκ is read by G. Τῶν by Memph. and Rec. Text.—ED.

[43] This fact ought to have led Beng. to take ἀναστάσεως above of the resurrection, not the mere appearing of Christ. The phrase, “power of His resurrection,” expresses a parallel idea to Ephesians 1:19-20, “The exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.” Comp. Colossians 2:12; Colossians 3:1; Romans 6:5. The same power is needed to quicken the soul as was needed to raise Jesus from the dead. To have that power (the Holy Spirit) in us, is a pledge of our hereafter attaining the ἐξανάστασις, Romans 8:11. This word probably implies the rising of the saints first out of the rest of the dead, 1 Corinthians 15:23; Revelation 20:5. Ἐξανάστασις is nowhere else found in N. T.—ED.

The Germ. Vers., following the decision of the 2d Ed., adopts the reading τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν, which was reckoned among those not to be approved in the larger Ed.—E. B.Verse 11. - If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. The apostle uses the language of humble expectation. For the particles, "if by any means" (εἴ πως), comp. Acts 27:12; Romans 1:10; Romans 11:14. The verb "attain" means to arrive at the end of a journey; it presents the figure of a pilgrimage. Read, with R.V. and the best manuscripts, the resurrection from the dead. This phrase (used also in Luke 20:35 and Acts 4:2) means the resurrection of the blessed dead (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). This meaning is strengthened here by the repetition of the preposition with the word "resurrection" (ἐξανάστασις). The general resurrection is always called the resurrection of the dead. If by any means (εἴ πως)

For the form of expression compare Romans 1:10; Romans 11:14. Not an expression of doubt, but of humility.

I might attain (καταντήσω)

See on Acts 26:7.

The resurrection of the dead (τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν).

Rev., more correctly, from the dead. Lit., the resurrection, that, namely, from the dead. Compare Acts 4:2. This compound noun for resurrection is found only here, and expresses the rising from or from among (ἐξ), which is further emphasized by the repetition of the preposition ἐκ (from). The kindred compound verb occurs Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28; Acts 15:5, but in neither passage of raising the dead. The word here does not differ in meaning from ἀνάστασις, commonly used, except that the idea is more vividly conceived as a rising from the earth. See Matthew 22:31; Luke 20:35. The phrase resurrection of or from the dead does not often occur in the Gospels, and resurrection ἐκ from the dead only twice in the New Testament, Acts 4:2; 1 Peter 1:3. For the phrase, see on Luke 16:31. Resurrection of the dead is a generic phrase, denoting the general resurrection of the dead, bad and good. Resurrection from the dead, in the only two passages where it occurs, signifies resurrection unto life. In 1 Peter 1:3, it is applied to Christ.

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