Philippians 3:4
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Philippians

THE LOSS OF ALL

Php 3:4-8 {R.V.}.

We have already noted that in the previous verses the Apostle is beginning to prepare for closing his letter, but is carried away into the long digression of which our text forms the beginning. The last words of the former verse open a thought of which his mind is always full. It is as when an excavator strikes his pickaxe unwittingly into a hidden reservoir and the blow is followed by a rush of water, which carries away workmen and tools. Paul has struck into the very deepest thoughts which he has of the Gospel and out they pour. That one antithesis, ‘the loss of all, the gain of Christ,’ carried in it to him the whole truth of the Christian message. We may well ask ourselves what are the subjects which lie so near our hearts, and so fill our thoughts, that a chance word sets us off on them, and we cannot help talking of them when once we begin.

The text exemplifies another characteristic of Paul’s, his constant habit of quoting his own experience as illustrating the truth. His theology is the generalisation of his own experience, and yet that continual autobiographical reference is not egotism, for the light in which he delights to present himself is as the recipient of the great grace of God in pardoning sinners. It is a result of the complete saturation of himself with the Gospel. It was to him no mere body of principles or thoughts, it was the very food and life of his life. And so this characteristic reveals not only his natural fervour of character, but the profound and penetrating hold which the Gospel had on his whole being.

In our text he presents his own experience as the type to which ours must on the whole be conformed. He had gone through an earthquake which had shattered the very foundations of his life. He had come to despise all that he had counted most precious, and to clasp as the only true treasures all that he had despised. With him the revolution had turned his whole life upside down. Though the change cannot be so subversive and violent with us, the forsaking of self-confidence must be as real, and the clinging to Jesus must be as close, if our Christianity is to be fervid and dominant in our lives.

I. The treasures that were discovered to be worthless.

We have already had occasion in the previous sermon to refer to Paul’s catalogue of ‘things that were gain’ to him, but we must consider it a little more closely here. We may repeat that it is important for understanding Paul’s point of view to note that by ‘flesh’ he means the whole self considered as independent of God. The antithesis to it is ‘spirit,’ that is humanity regenerated and vitalised by Divine influence. ‘Flesh,’ then, is humanity not so vitalised. That is to say, it is ‘self,’ including both body and emotions, affections, thoughts, and will.

As to the points enumerated, they are those which made the ideal to a Jew, including purity of race, punctilious orthodoxy, flaming zeal, pugnacious antagonism, and blameless morality. With reference to race, the Jewish pride was in ‘circumcision on the eighth day,’ which was the exclusive privilege of one of pure blood. Proselytes might be circumcised in later life, but one of the ‘stock of Israel’ only on the ‘eighth day.’ Saul of Tarsus had in earlier days been proud of his tribal genealogy, which had apparently been carefully preserved in the Gentile home, and had shared ancestral pride in belonging to the once royal tribe, and perhaps in thinking that the blood of the king after whom he was named flowed in his veins. He was a ‘Hebrew of the Hebrews,’ which does not mean, as it is usually taken to do, intensely, superlatively Hebrew, but simply is equivalent to ‘myself a Hebrew, and come from pure Hebrew ancestors on both sides.’ Possibly also the phrase may have reference to purity of language and customs as well as blood. These four items make the first group. Paul still remembers the time when, in the blindness which he shared with his race, he believed that these wholly irrelevant points had to do with a man’s acceptance before God. He had once agreed with the Judaisers that ‘circumcision’ admitted Gentiles into the Jewish community, and so gave them a right to participate in the blessings of the Covenant.

Then follow the items of his more properly religious character, which seem in their three clauses to make a climax. ‘As touching the law a Pharisee,’ he was of the ‘straitest sect,’ the champions and representatives of the law. ‘As touching zeal persecuting the Church,’ it was not only in Judaism that the mark of zeal for a cause has been harassing its opponents. We can almost hear a tone of sad irony as Paul recalls that past, remembering how eagerly he had taken charge of the clothes trusted to his care by the witnesses who stoned Stephen, and how he had ‘breathed threatening and slaughter’ against the disciples. ‘As touching the righteousness which is in the law found blameless,’ he is evidently speaking of the obedience of outward actions and of blamelessness in the judgment of men.

So we get a living picture of Paul and of his confidence before he was a Christian. All these grounds for pride and self-satisfaction were like triple armour round the heart of the young Pharisee, who rode out of Jerusalem on the road to Damascus. How little he thought that they would all have been pierced and have dropped from him before he got there! The grounds of his confidence are antiquated in form, but in substance are modern. At bottom the things in which Paul’s ‘flesh’ trusted are exactly the same as those in which many of us trust. Even his pride of race continues to influence some of us. We have got the length of separating between our nationality and our acceptance with God, but we have still a kind of feeling that ‘God’s Englishmen,’ as Milton called them, have a place of their own, which is, if not a ground of confidence before God, at any rate a ground for carrying ourselves with very considerable complacency before men. It is not unheard of that people should rely, if not on ‘circumcision on the eighth day,’ on an outward rite which seems to connect them with a visible Church. Strict orthodoxy takes the place among us which Pharisaism held in Paul’s mind before he was a Christian, and it is easier to prove our zeal by pugnacity against heretics, than by fervour of devotion. The modern analogue of Paul’s, ‘touching the righteousness which is in the law blameless,’ is ‘I have done my best, I have lived a decent life. My religion is to do good to other people.’ All such talk, which used to be a vague sentiment or excuse, is now put forward in definite theoretical substitution for the Christian Truth, and finds numerous teachers and acceptors. But how short a way all such grounds of confidence go to satisfy a soul that has once seen the vision that blazed in on Paul’s mind on the road to Damascus!

II. The discovery of their worthlessness.

‘These have I counted loss for Christ.’ There is a possibility of exaggeration in interpreting Paul’s words. The things that were ‘gain’ to him were in themselves better than their opposites. It is better to to be ‘blameless’ than to have a life all stained with foulness and reeking with sins. But these ‘gains’ were ‘losses,’ disadvantages, in so far as they led him to build upon them, and trust in them as solid wealth. The earthquake that shattered his life had two shocks: the first turned upside down his estimate of the value of his gains, the second robbed him of them. He first saw them to be worthless, and then, so far as others’ judgment went, he was stripped of them. Actively he ‘counted them loss,’ passively he ‘suffered the loss of all things.’ His estimate came, and was followed by the practical outcome of his brethren’s excommunication.

What changed his estimate? In our text he answers the question in two forms: first he gives the simple, all-sufficient monosyllabic reason for his whole life--’for Christ,’ and then he enlarges that motive into ‘the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.’ The former carries us back straight to the vision which revolutionised Paul’s life, and made him abjure all which he had trusted, and adore what he had abhorred. The latter dwells a little more upon the subjective process which followed on the vision, but the two are substantially the same, and we need only note the solemn fulness of the name of ‘Jesus Christ,’ and the intense motion of submission and of personal appropriation contained in the designation, ‘my Lord.’ It was not when he found his way blinded into Damascus that he had learned that knowledge, or could apprehend its ‘excellency.’ The words are enriched and enlarged by later experiences. The sacrifice of his earlier ‘gains’ had been made before the ‘excellency of the knowledge’ had been discerned. It was no mere intellectual perception which could be imparted in words, or by eyesight, but here as always Paul by ‘knowledge’ means experience which comes from possession and acquaintance, and which therefore gleams ever before us as we move, and is capable of endless increase, in the measure in which we are true to the estimate of ‘gains’ and ‘losses’ to which our initial vision of Him has led us. At first we may not know that that knowledge excels all others, but as we grow in acquaintance with Jesus, and in experience of Him, we shall be sure that it transcends all others, because He does and we possess Him.

The revolutionising motive may be conceived of in two ways. We have to abandon the lower ‘gains’ in order to gain Christ, or to abandon these because we have gained Him. Both are true. The discernment of Christ as the one ground of confidence is ever followed by the casting away of all others. Self-distrust is a part of faith. When we feel our feet upon the rock, the crumbling sands on which we stood are left to be broken up by the sea. They who have seen the Apollo Belvedere will set little store by plaster of Paris casts. In all our lives there come times when the glimpse of some loftier ideal shows up our ordinary as hollow and poor and low. And when once Christ is seen, as Scripture shows Him, our former self appears poor and crumbles away.

We are not to suppose that the act of renunciation must be completed before a second act of possession is begun. That is the error of many ascetic books. The two go together, and abandonment in order to win merges into abandonment because we have won. The strongest power to make renunciation possible is ‘the expulsive power of a new affection.’ When the heart is filled with love to Christ there is no sense of ‘loss,’ but only of ‘exceeding gain,’ in casting away all things for Him.

III. The continuous repetition of the discovery.

Paul compares his present self with his former Christian self, and with a vehement ‘Yea, verily,’ affirms his former judgment, and reiterates it in still more emphatic terms. It is often easy to depreciate the treasures which we possess. They sometimes grow in value as they slip from our hands. It is not usual for a man who has ‘suffered the loss of all things’ to follow their disappearance by counting them ‘but dung.’ The constant repetition through the whole Christian course of the depreciatory estimate of grounds of confidence is plainly necessary. There are subtle temptations to the opposite course. It is hard to keep perfectly clear of all building on our own blamelessness or on our connection with the Christian Church, and we have need ever to renew the estimate which was once so epoch-making, and which ‘cast down all our imaginations and high things.’ If we do not carefully watch ourselves, the whispering tempter that was silenced will recover his breath again, and be once more ready to drop into our ears his poisonous suggestions. We have to take pains and ‘give earnest heed’ to the initial, revolutionary estimate, and to see that it is worked out habitually in our daily lives. It is a good exchange when we count ‘all but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Php 3:4-5. Though I — Above many others; might have confidence in the flesh — That is, I have such pretences for that confidence as many, even Jews, have not. He says I, in the singular number, because the Philippian believers, being of Gentile race, could not speak in that manner. If any other man — Gentile or Jew, private Christian or public teacher; thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh — That he has cause for so doing; I more — I have more reason to think so than he. See 2 Corinthians 11:18-22. Circumcised the eighth day — Not at ripe age, as a proselyte, but born among God’s peculiar people, and dedicated to him from my infancy, being solemnly admitted into the visible church, according to his ordinance, in the most regular and pure way. It is certain the Jews did not only lay a great deal of stress on the ceremony of circumcision, but on the time of performing it; affirming, that circumcision before the eighth day was no circumcision; and after that time of less value. Hence they thought it necessary to circumcise a child on the sabbath day, when that day was the eighth from its birth, (though all manner of work was forbidden on that day,) rather than defer performing the rite to a day beyond that time, John 7:22; and made it a rule that the rest of the sabbath must give place to circumcision. And this opinion, as it agrees with the text, Genesis 17:12, so it seems to have obtained long before our Lord’s time; for the Septuagint and the Samaritan version read Genesis 17:14 thus: “The uncircumcised male, who is not circumcised the eighth day, shall be cut off: he hath broken my covenant.” Of the stock of Israel — Not the son of a proselyte, nor of the race of the Ishmaelites or Edomites; of the tribe of Benjamin — In which Jerusalem and the temple stood, and who kept close to God and his worship when the ten tribes revolted, and fell off to idolatry; a tribe descended from the wife of the patriarch Jacob; and on that account, as Theodoret has observed, more honourable than the four tribes descended from Bilhah and Zilpah, the handmaids; a Hebrew of the Hebrews — Descended, by both father and mother, from Abraham’s race, without any mixture of foreign blood. “The Jews who lived among the Greeks, and who spake their language, were called Hellenists, Acts 6:1; Acts 9:29; Acts 11:20. Many of these were descended from parents, one of whom only was a Jew. Of this sort was Timothy, Acts 16:1. But those who were born in Judea, of parents rightly descended from Abraham, and who, receiving their education in Judea, spake the language of their forefathers, and were thoroughly instructed in the laws and learning of the Jews, were reckoned more honourable than the Hellenists; and to mark the excellence of their lineage, education, and language, they were called Hebrews; a name the most ancient, and therefore the most honourable, of all names borne by Abraham’s descendants. A Hebrew, therefore, possessing the character and qualifications above described, was a more honourable appellation than an Israelite, as that name marked no more but one’s being a member of the commonwealth of Israel; which a Jew might be, though born and bred in a foreign country.” — Macknight. As touching the law, a Pharisee — One of that sect who most accurately observe it, and maintain many of those great truths of religion which the Sadducees and some others reject.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.Though I might also have confidence in the flesh - That is, though I had uncommon advantages of this kind; and if anyone could have trusted in them, I could have done it. The object of the apostle is to show that he did not despise those things because he did not possess them, but because he now saw that they were of no value in the great matter of salvation. Once he had confided in them, and if anyone could find any ground of reliance on them, he could have found more than any of them. But he had seen that all these things were valueless in regard to the salvation of the soul. We may remark here, that Christians do not despise or disregard advantages of birth, or amiableness of manners, or external morality, because they do not possess them - but because they regard them as insufficient to secure their salvation. They who have been most amiable and moral before their conversion will speak in the most decided manner of the insufficiency of these things for salvation, and of the danger of relying on them. They have once tried it, and they now see that their feet were standing on a slippery rock. The Greek here is, literally: "although I((was) having confidence in the flesh." The meaning is, that he had every ground of confidence in the flesh which anyone could have, and that if there was any advantage for salvation to be derived from birth, and blood, and external conformity to the law, he possessed it. He had more to rely on than most other people had; nay, he could have boasted of advantages of this sort which could not be found united in any other individual. What those advantages were, he proceeds to specify. 4. "Although I (emphatical) might have confidence even in the flesh." Literally, "I having," but not using, "confidence in the flesh."

I more—have more "whereof I might have confidence in the flesh."

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh: to prevent any cavil about what he said, as if he did magnify Christ, and forbear glorying in those external privileges they did so much bear themselves upon, out of envy to them for what they had; he here argues upon supposition, (as elsewhere, to cut off occasion from boasters, 2 Corinthians 11:12,18,21,22), that, if it were lawful, and would turn to any good account, to confide in the flesh, he had the same ground the impostors had, and might build up that in himself which he had destroyed in others, Galatians 2:18.

If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: yea, and to compare things by a just balance, if any of those he had justly taxed, or any other in conceit might hold his head higher in that way, he could produce not only as much, but much more ground of trust in those external rites, &c. as he that was most excellent; only that it was in vain, and of no value, Philippians 3:7. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh,.... This he says, lest it should be objected to him, that the reason why he had no confidence in the flesh, and did not boast of it, was, because he could not; he had nothing to glory of, and put his confidence in, and therefore acted the common part of such persons, who despise what either they have not, or are ignorant of: but this was not the apostle's case, he had as much reason, and as good a foundation for trust in himself, his privileges and attainments, as any man had, and more; and his meaning here is not, that he might lawfully have confidence in the flesh, for that is criminal in every one, but that he had as good pretensions to it; and were it lawful, might with greater appearance of truth do it than some other persons, or indeed any other:

if any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I:more: the sense is, if there were any other person besides the false teachers he speaks of in Philippians 3:2; that were of the judaizing sect, or any whatever of the Jewish nation, be he who he will, who thought within himself he had, or seemed to others to have (for all such confidence, and the grounds of it, are only in show and appearance, and in imagination, not in reality), reasons for boasting and trusting in himself and in his carnal privileges and performances, the apostle had more, and which he enumerates in Philippians 3:5; not but that he might be exceeded by some in some one particular or another; as for instance, he was not of the tribe of Levi: nor of Judah; he was neither of the house of Aaron, nor of David; neither of the priestly line, nor of the blood royal; but taking all together, there was not a man in whom so many reasons met, for boasting and confidence in the flesh, as in himself.

{4} Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

(4) He does not doubt to prefer himself even according to the flesh, before those perverse zealous urgers of the Law, that all men may know that he does with good judgment of mind, consider of little worth all of those outward things. For he who has Christ lacks nothing, and confidence in our works cannot stand with the free justification in Christ by faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 3:4. By the οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθ., which he had just used, Paul finds himself led to his own personal position; for he was, in fact, the proper organ of the anti-Judaizing tendency expressed in Php 3:3, and the real object against which the whole conflict with it was ultimately directed. Hence, by the words οὐκ ἐν σαρκὶ πεποιθ. he by no means intends to concede that he is destitute of that πεποίθησις which was founded on externals;[153] no, in this respect also he has more to show than others, down to Php 3:6. [154] So no one might say that he was despising what he himself did not possess.

The classical καίπερ with the participle (only used here by Paul; and elsewhere in the N.T. only in Hebrews 5:8, et al.; 2 Peter 1:12), adds to the adversative sentence a limiting concessive clause (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 201 f.), and that in such a way, that from the collective subject of the former the apostle now with emphasis singles out partitively his own person (ἐγώ).[155] If, following the Homeric usage, he had separated the two particles, he would have written: καὶ ἐγώ περ.; if he had expressed himself negatively, he would have said: οὐδέπερ ἑγώ οὐκ ἔχων.

The confidence also in flesh, i.e. in such circumstances as belong to the sphere of the materially human, is in ἔχων (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:4) conceived as a possession; he has this confidence, namely, from his personal position as an Israelite—a standpoint which, laying out of view for the moment his Christian transformation, he boldly adopts, in order to measure himself with his Judaistic opponents on their own ground of proud confidence, and thereupon in Php 3:7 ff. yet again to abandon this standpoint and to make those Israelitish advantages vanish into nothing before the light of his vital position as a Christian. Hence the πεποίθησις, his possession of which he in the first instance urges, is not fiduciae argumentum (Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Estius, and others, including Flatt, Hoelemann, and Weiss); nor is the possession of it to be viewed as something which he might have (Storr, Rilliet, Matthies, Ewald); nor is it to be referred to the pre-Christian period of the apostle’s life (van Hengel). The latter is also the view of Hofmann, who holds ἔχων (and then ΔΙΏΚΩΝ also) as the imperfect participle, and gives to the whole passage the involved misinterpretation: that καίπερ introduces a protasis, the apodosis of which follows with ἀλλά in Php 3:7. In accordance with this view, Php 3:4 is supposed to mean: “Although I possessed a confidence, and that, indeed, based on such matters as are flesh, if any other ventures to trust in such things, I for my part possessed confidence in a higher degree”. This is erroneous; first, because the familiar ἀλλά of the apodosis is used indeed after ΚΑΊΤΟΙ (with finite tense; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 68 E; Parm. p. 128 C), but not after the common καίπερ with participle, attaching itself to a governing verb; secondly, because ΚΑΊ before ἘΝ ΣΑΡΚΊ means nothing else than also, which does not suit the interpretation of Hofmann, who desires to force upon it the here inappropriate sense, and that indeed; thirdly, because the present δοκεῖ presupposes the present sense for ἔχων also; and lastly, because with ἘΓῺ ΜᾶΛΛΟΝ the present (in accordance with the preceding δοκεῖ), and not the imperfect, again suggests itself as to be supplied. And how awkward would be the whole form of expression for the, after all, very simple idea!

ΤΙςἌΛΛΟς] quite generally: any other person, but the intended application to the above-mentioned Judaizers was obvious to the reader. See the sequel. The separation by δοκεῖ lays all the stronger stress on the ΤΊς.

ΔΟΚΕῖ
] not: “thinks to be able to confide” (de Wette and many others); nor yet: “si quis alius videtur” (Vulgate), since it is a matter depending not upon the judgment of others, but upon his own fancy, according to the connection. Hence: if any one allows himself to think, if he presumes. Just in the same way, as in the passage parallel also in substance, Matthew 3:9. Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:16.

ἐγὼ μᾶλλον] sc. δοκῶ πεπ. ἐν σαρκί, I for my part presume it still more. This mode of expression implies a certain boldness, defiance; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:21.

[153] καὶ ἐν σαρκί, namely, in addition to the higher Christian relations, on which I place my confidence.

[154] Only a comma is to be placed after πεποιθότες in ver. 3; but after ἐν σαρκί in ver. 4 a full stop; and after ἄμεμπτος in ver. 6 another full stop. So also Lachmann and Tischendorf. In opposition to Hofmann’s confusing construction of the sentence, see below.

[155] Comp. Kühner, II. 1, p. 246. 8.Php 3:4-6. PAUL’S CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH.4–11. His own experience as a converted Pharisee: Justification by Faith: its spiritual and eternal issues

4. Though I might also &c.] The Greek seems to assert that he not only might have, but has, such confidence. But the whole context, and St Paul’s whole presentation of the Gospel, alike assure us that this is but a “way of speaking.” What he means is to assert, in the most concrete form, his claim, if any one could have such a claim, to rely on privilege and observance for his acceptance. Render accordingly with R.V., Though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. So the Latin versions; Quanquam ego habeam &c.

thinketh] R.V. margin, “seemeth.” But A.V., and text R.V., are certainly right. The “seeming” or “appearing” is to the man’s self; he thinks it to be so. Cp. for this (frequent) use of the Greek verb (dokeîn) e.g. Luke 24:37; Acts 12:9. And see esp. Matthew 3:9, “Do not think (seem) to say in yourselves &c.”; where common sense gives the paraphrase, “Do not think that you may say.” So here, “thinketh that he may have confidence &c.”

I more] “I, from his point of view, think that I may have it more.” Cp. 2 Corinthians 11:21-22, a passage closely akin to this.Php 3:4. Καίπερ ἐγὼ, although I) The singular is included in the preceding plural: we glory, and I glory, although I, etc.; but because the discourse proceeds from the plural to the singular, I is interposed and is added, because the Philippians had been Gentiles. Paul was of the circumcision. Comp. Revelation 17:8, note.—ἔχων, having) for the construction depends on those things which go before[34]: Having, not using.—εἴτις ἄλλος, if any other) a word of universal comprehension: other is sweetly redundant; comp. note ad Gregorii Neocaes. Paneg. p. 195.—ἐγὼ μᾶλλον, I more) i.e. ἐγὼ μᾶλλον πέποιθα, I have more ground for being confident. He speaks of his former feeling with a Mimesis[35] of those who gloried in such outward carnalities; see the following verse.

[34] ἐγώ being included in the ἡμεῖςοἱπεποιθότες, constructed with the verb ἐσμεν.—ED.

[35] An allusion, in the way of imitation, to his opponents’ mode of stating their grounds of confidence.—ED.Verse 4. - Though I might also have confidence in the flesh; literally, though having myself confidence in the flesh also; that is, as well as in Christ. The apostle had both grounds of confidence: the one he renounces for the other; but no man could accuse him of despising that which he did not himself possess. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more. He claims the privileges of the Jew; they are his by right, but he counts them loss for Christ. Though I might also have confidence (καίπερ ἐγὼ ἔχων πεποίθησιν)

Lit., even though myself having confidence. Also should be joined with the flesh and rendered even. Rev., though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. The sense of the translation might have is correct; but Paul puts it that he actually has confidence in the flesh, placing himself at the Jews' stand-point.

Thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust (δοκεῖ πεποιθέναι).

The A.V. is needlessly verbose. Rev., much better, thinketh to have confidence.

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