Philippians 3:8
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) For the excellency of the knowledge.—The word “excellency” is here strictly used to indicate (as in 2Corinthians 3:9-11) that the knowledge of Christ so surpasses all other knowledge, and, indeed, all other blessings whatever, as to make them less nothing. As Chrysostom says here, “When the sun hath appeared, it is loss to sit by a candle.” The light of the candle in the sunlight actually casts a shadow. How that knowledge is gained we learn in Ephesians 3:17-18, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may . . . know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

Dung.—The word appears to mean “refuse” of any kind. The sense adopted in our version is common. Dr. Lightfoot, however, quotes instances of its use for the fragments from a feast, and remarks on the old derivation of the word from that which is “thrown to dogs,” which, however etymologically questionable, shows the idea attached to the word. This use would suit well enough with the ideas suggested by the retort of the name “dogs” on the Judaisers.

I suffered the loss of all things.—There seems to be here a play on words. These things were (he has said) loss; he suffered the loss of them: and the loss of a loss is a “gain.”

That I may win (properly, gain) Christ, and be found in him.—The line of thought in these two clauses is like that of Galatians 4:9, “Now that ye have known God, or rather are known of God.” The first idea suggested by the context is that of “gaining Christ,” finding Him and laying hold of Him by faith; but this, if taken alone, is unsatisfactory, as resting too much on the action of man. Hence St. Paul adds, and “be found (of God) in Him,” drawn into union with Him by the grace of God, so that we may “dwell in Him, and He in us,” and be “found” abiding in Him in each day of God’s visitation.

Philippians

THE GAIN OF CHRIST

Php 3:8-9 {R.V.}.

It is not everybody who can say what is his aim in life. Many of us have never thought enough about it to have one beyond keeping alive. We lose life in seeking for the means of living. Many of us have such a multitude of aims, each in its turn drawing us, that no one of them is predominant and rules the crowd. There is no strong hand at the tiller, and so the ship washes about in the trough of the waves.

It is not everybody who dares to say what is his aim in life. We are ashamed to acknowledge even to ourselves what we are not at all ashamed to do. Paul knew his aim, and was not afraid to speak it. It was high and noble, and was passionately and persistently pursued. He tells us it here, and we can see his soul kindling as he speaks. We may note how there is here the same double reference as we found in the previous verses, gaining Christ corresponding to the previous loss for Christ, and the later words of our text being an expansion of the ‘excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.’ No man will ever succeed in any life’s purpose, unless like Paul he is enthusiastic about it. If his aim does not rouse his fervour when he speaks of it, he will never accomplish it. We may just remark that Paul does not suppose his aim to be wholly unattained, even although he does not count himself to ‘have apprehended.’ He knows that he has gained Christ, and is ‘found in Him,’ but he knows also that there stretch before him the possibilities of infinite increase.

I. His life’s aim was to have the closest possession of, and incorporation in, Christ.

His two expressions, ‘that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,’ are substantially identical in meaning, though they put the same truth from different sides, and with some variety of metaphor. We may deal with them separately.

The ‘gain’ is of course the opposite of the ‘loss.’ His balance-sheet has on one side ‘all things lost,’ on the other ‘Christ gained,’ and that is profitable trading. But we have to go deeper than such a metaphor, and to give full scope to the Scriptural truth, that Christ really imparts Himself to the believing soul. There is a real communication of His own life to us, and thereby we live, as He Himself declared, ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ The true deep sense in which we possess Christ is not to be weakened down, as it, alas! so often is in our shallow Christianity, which is but the echo of a shallow experience, and a feeble hold of that possession of the Son to which Jesus called us, as the condition of our possession of life. Christ is thus Himself possessed by all our faculties, each after its kind; head and heart, passions and desires, hopes and longings, may each have Him abiding in them, guiding them with His strong and gentle hand, animating them into nobler life, restraining and controlling, gradually transforming and ultimately conforming them to His own likeness. Till that Divine Indweller enters in, the shrine is empty, and unclean things lurk in its hidden corners. To be a man full summed in all his powers, each of us must ‘gain Christ.’

The other expression in the text, ‘be found in Him,’ presents the same truth from the completing point of view. We gain Christ in us when we are ‘found in Him.’ We are to be incorporated as members are in the body, or imbedded as a stone in the foundation, or to go back to the sweetest words, which are the source of all these representations, included as ‘a branch in the vine.’ We are to be in Him for safety and shelter, as fugitives take refuge in a strong tower when an enemy swarms over the land.

And lo! from sin and grief and shame, I hide me, Jesus, in Thy name.

We are to be in Him that the life sap may freely flow through us. We are to be in Him that the Divine Love may fall on us, and that in Jesus we may receive our portion of all which is His heritage.

This mutual possession and indwelling is possible if Jesus be the Son of God, but the language is absurd in any other interpretation of His person. It is clearly in its very nature capable of indefinite increase, and as containing in itself the supply of all which we need for life and blessedness, is fitted to be what nothing else can pretend to be, without wrecking the lives that are unwise enough to pursue it--the sovereign aim of a human life. In following it, and only in following it, the highest wisdom says Amen to the aspiration of the lowliest faith. ‘This one thing I do.’

II. Paul’s life’s aim was righteousness to be received.

He goes on to present some of the consequences which follow on his gaining Christ and being ‘found in Him,’ and before all others he names as his aim the possession of ‘righteousness.’ We must remember that Paul believed that righteousness in the sense of ‘justification’ had been his from the moment when Ananias came to where he was sitting in darkness, and bid him be baptized and wash away his sins. The word here must be taken in its full sense of moral perfectness; even if we included only this in our thoughts of his life’s aim, how high above most men would he tower! But his statement carries him still higher above, and farther away from, the common ideas of moral perfection, and what he means by righteousness is widely separated from the world’s conception, not only in regard to its elements, but still more in regard to its source.

It is possible to lose oneself in a dreamy mysticism which has had much to say of ‘gaining Christ and being found in Him,’ and has had too little to say about ‘having righteousness,’ and so has turned out to be an ally of indifference and sometimes of unrighteousness. Buddhism and some forms of mystical Christianity have fallen into a pit of immorality from which Paul’s sane combination here would have saved them. There is no danger in the most mystical interpretation of the former statement of his aim, when it is as closely connected as it is here with the second form in which he states it. I have just said that Paul differed from men who were seeking for righteousness, not only because his conceptions of what constituted it were not the same as theirs, though he in this very letter endorses the Greek ideals of ‘virtue and praise,’ but also and more emphatically because he looked for it as a gift, and not as the result of his own efforts. To him the only righteousness which availed was one which was not ‘my own,’ but had its source in, and was imparted by, God. The world thought of righteousness as the general designation under which were summed up a man’s specific acts of conformity to law, the sum total reached by the addition of many specific instances of conformity to a standard of duty. Paul had learned to think of it as preceding and producing the specific acts. The world therefore said, and says, Do the deeds and win the character; Paul says, Receive the character and do the deeds. The result of the one conception of righteousness is in the average man spasmodic efforts after isolated achievements, with long periods between in which effort subsides into torpor. The result in Paul’s case was what we know: a continuous effort to keep his mind and heart open for the influx of the power which, entering into him, would make him able to do the specific acts which constitute righteousness. The one road is a weary path, hard to tread, and, as a matter of fact, not often trodden. To pile up a righteousness by the accumulation of individual righteous acts is an endeavour less hopeful than that of the coral polypes slowly building up their reef out of the depths of the Pacific, till it rises above the waves. He who assumes to be righteous on the strength of a succession of righteous acts, not only needs a profounder idea of what makes his acts righteous, but should also make a catalogue of his unrighteous ones and call himself wicked. The other course is the final deliverance of a man from dependence upon his own struggles, and substitutes for the dreary alternations of effort and torpor, and for the imperfect harvest of imperfectly righteous acts, the attitude of receiving, which supersedes painful strife and weary endeavour. To seek after a righteousness which is ‘my own,’ is to seek what we shall never find, and what, if found, would crumble beneath us. To seek the righteousness which is from God, is to seek what He is waiting to bestow, and what the blessed receivers blessedly know is more than they dreamed of.

But Paul looked for this great gift as a gift in Christ. It was when he was ‘found in Him’ that it became his, and he was found ‘blameless.’ That gift of an imparted life, which has a bias towards all goodness, and the natural operation of which is to incline all our faculties towards conformity with the will of God, is bestowed when we ‘win Christ.’ Possessing Him, we possess it. It is not only ‘imputed,’ as our fathers delighted to say, but it is ‘imparted.’ And because it is the gift of God in Christ, it was in Paul’s view received by faith. He expresses that conviction in a double form in our text. It is ‘through faith’ as the channel by which it passes into our happy hands. It is ‘by faith,’ or, more accurately, ‘upon faith,’ as the foundation on which it rests, or the condition on which it depends. Our trust in Christ does bring His life to us to sanctify us, and the plain English of all this blessed teaching is--if we wish to be better let us trust Christ and get Him into the depths of our lives, and righteousness will be ours. That transforming Presence laid up in ‘the hidden man of the heart,’ will be like some pungent scent in a wardrobe which keeps away moths, and gives out a fragrance that perfumes all that hangs near it.

But all which we have been saying is not to be understood as if there was no effort to be made, in order to receive, and to live manifesting, the ‘righteousness which is of God.’ There must be the constant abandonment of self, and the constant utilising of the grace given. The righteousness is bestowed whenever faith is exercised. The hand is never stretched out and the gift not lodged in it. But it is a life’s aim to possess the ‘righteousness which is of God by faith,’ because that gift is capable of indefinite increase, and will reward the most strenuous efforts of a believing soul as long as life continues.

III. Paul’s life’s aim stretches beyond this life.

Shall we be chargeable with crowding too much meaning into his words, if we fix on his remarkable expression, ‘be found in Him,’ as containing a clear reference to that great day of final judgment? We recall other instances of the use of the same expression in connections which unmistakably point to that time. Such as ‘being clothed we shall not be found naked,’ or ‘the proof of your faith . . . might be found unto praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ,’ or ‘found of Him in peace without spot, blameless.’ In the light of these and similar passages, it does not seem unreasonable to suppose that this ‘being found’ does include a reference to the Apostle’s place after death, though it is not confined to that. He thinks of the searching eye of the Judge taking keen account, piercing through all disguises, and wistfully as well as penetratingly scrutinising characters, till it finds that for which it seeks. They who are ‘found in Him’ in that day, are there and thus for ever. There is no further fear of falling out of union with Him, or of being, by either gradual and unconscious stages, or by sudden and overmastering assaults, carried out of the sacred enclosure of the City of Refuge in which they dwell henceforth for ever. A dangerous presumptuousness has sometimes led to the over-confident assertion, ‘Once in Christ always in Christ.’ But Paul teaches us that that security of permanent dwelling in Him is to be for ever in this life the aim of our efforts, rather than an accomplished fact. So long as we are here, the possibility of falling away cannot be shut out, and there must always rise before us the question, Am I in Christ? Hence there is need for continual watchfulness, self-control, and self-distrust, and the life’s aim has to be perpetual, not only because it is capable of indefinite expansion, but because our weakness is capable of deserting it. It is only when at the last we are found by Him, in Him, that we are there for ever, with all dangers of departure from Him at an end. In that City of Refuge, and there only, ‘the gates shall not be shut at all,’ not solely because no enemies shall attempt to come in, but also because no citizens shall desire to go out.

We should ever have before us that hour, and our life’s aim should ever definitely include the final scrutiny in which many a hidden thing will come to light, many a long-lost thing be found, and each man’s ultimate place in relation to Jesus Christ will be freed from uncertainties, ambiguities, hypocrisies, and disguises, and made plain to all beholders. In that great day of ‘finding,’ some of us will have to ask with sinking hearts, ‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’ and others will break forth into the glad acclaim, ‘I have found Him,’ or rather ‘been found of Him.’

So we have before us the one reasonable aim for a man to have Christ, to be found in Him, to have His righteousness. It is reasonable, it is great enough to absorb all our energies, and to reward them. It will last a lifetime, and run on undisturbed beyond life. Following it, all other aims will fall into their places. Is this my aim?

Php 3:8-11. Yea doubtless — Not only when I was first converted, but I still account both these and all things else, how valuable soever, to be but loss. Having said, in the preceding verse, that he counted his privileges as a Jew, and his righteousness by the law, to be loss, or things to be thrown away, he here adds, that he viewed in the same light all the things which men value themselves upon, and on which they build their hope of salvation: such as their natural and acquired talents, their knowledge, their moral virtue, and even their good works; yea, and all the riches, honours, and pleasures of the world; all the things in which people seek their happiness. For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord — In comparison of, and in order that I may attain, the experimental and practical knowledge of Christ, as my Lord, as my teaching Prophet, my atoning and mediating Priest, my delivering and ruling King, reigning in my heart by his grace, and governing my life by his laws. For the apostle evidently had a respect here to all the offices and characters of Christ, and intended what he says to be understood of sanctification and practical obedience, as much as of illumination and justification. And he accounted all the things he speaks of as worthless, not only because they were ineffectual to procure for him acceptance with God, but because in themselves they are of little value in comparison with the true knowledge of Christ, and of the way of salvation through him; blessings which the apostle so regarded, that he despised all other knowledge, and every human attainment, as things comparatively unworthy of his care, while pursuing his way to eternal life. For whom I have actually suffered the loss of all things — Which the world esteems, admires, loves, and delights in. It seems probable, from this, that he had been excommunicated by the Jews in Jerusalem, and spoiled of his goods: a treatment which some others, who were not so obnoxious to the Jews as he was, met with after they became Christians, Hebrews 10:33-34. And I count them but dung — So far am I from repenting, that I exposed myself to the loss of them. The discourse rises. Loss is sustained with patience; but dung is cast away with abhorrence. The Greek word, so rendered, signifies any vile refuse of things, the dross of metals, the dregs of liquors, the excrements of animals, the most worthless scraps of meat, the basest offals, fit only for dogs: in such a light did the apostle view every thing that would engage his dependance for justification, or stand in competition with Christ for his affection. That I may win Christ — May have him for my Saviour and Lord; may have an interest in all the offices that he sustains, and in all he hath done and suffered for the salvation of men, and may be made partaker of the benefits which he hath procured for me. And be found in him

Vitally united to him by faith and love; not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law — That merely outward righteousness prescribed by the law, and performed in my own strength; but that which is through the faith of Christ — That justifying, sanctifying, and practical righteousness which is attained through believing in Christ, and in the truths and promises of his gospel. See on Romans 4:6-8; Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 John 3:7. The righteousness which is, εκ Θεου, of, or from God — Which is the gift of his grace and mercy, and not procured by my merit; and is from his Spirit, not effected by my own strength, through the instrumentality of faith alone; a faith, however, productive of love, and of all holiness and righteousness. The phrase in the original here, την εκ Θεου δικαιοσυνην, the righteousness of, or from God, is used, says Macknight, “I think only in this passage. It is opposed to mine own righteousness, which is from the law, a phrase found in other passages, particularly Galatians 3:21. Wherefore, since the righteousness from the law is that which is obtained according to the tenor of the law, the righteousness from God by faith, is that which comes from God’s accounting the believer’s faith to him for righteousness, and from his working that faith in his heart by the influences of his Spirit.” That I may know him — In his person and offices, in his humiliation and exaltation, his grace and glory, as my wisdom and righteousness, my sanctification and redemption; or, as my complete Saviour; and the power Δυναμιν, the efficacy; of his resurrection — Demonstrating the certain truth and infinite importance of every part of his doctrine, the acceptableness of the atonement made by him for sin, (see on Romans 4:25,) opening an intercourse between earth and heaven, and obtaining for me the Holy Spirit, to raise me from the death of sin unto all the life of righteousness, (John 16:7,) assuring me of a future and eternal judgment, (Acts 17:31,) begetting me again to a lively hope of a heavenly inheritance, (1 Peter 1:3,) and raising my affections from things on earth to things above, Colossians 3:1-2 : and the fellowship of his sufferings — Sympathizing with him in his sufferings, and partaking of the benefits purchased for me thereby; as also being willing to take up my cross and suffer with him, as far as I am called to it, knowing that if I suffer with him, I shall also be glorified with him. See the margin. Being made conformable to his death — Being dead to the world and sin, or being made willing to confirm the gospel by enduring the tortures of crucifixion as he did, should it be his will I should do so. If by any means — Having attained an entire conformity to my great Master, and done and suffered the whole will of God; I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead — Unto that consummate holiness and blessedness, which he will bestow upon all his people when the dead in Christ shall rise first, and be distinguished with honour and glory proportionable to the zeal and diligence which they have manifested in his service.

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.Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss - Not only those things which he had just specified, and which he had himself possessed, he says he would be willing to renounce in order to obtain an interest in the Saviour, but everything which could be imagined. Were all the wealth and honor which could be conceived of his, he would be willing to renounce them in order that he might obtain the knowledge of the Redeemer. He would be a gainer who should sacrifice everything in order to win Christ. Paul had not only acted on this principle when he became a Christian, but had ever afterward continued to be ready to give up everything in order that he might obtain an interest in the Saviour. He uses here the same word - ζημίαν zēmian - which he does in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 27:21, when speaking of the loss which had been sustained by loosing from Crete, contrary to his advice, on the voyage to Rome. The idea here seems to be, "What I might obtain, or did possess, I regard as loss in comparison with the knowledge of Christ, even as seamen do the goods on which they set a high value, in comparison with their lives. Valuable as they may be, they are willing to throw them all overboard in order to save themselves." Burder, in Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc.

For the excellency of the knowledge - A Hebrew expression to denote excellent knowledge. The idea is, that he held everything else to be worthless in comparison with that knowledge, and he was willing to sacrifice everything else in order to obtain it. On the value of this knowledge of the Saviour, see the notes at Ephesians 3:19.

For whom I have suffered the loss of all things - Paul, when he became a Christian, gave up his brilliant prospects in regard to this life, and everything indeed on which his heart had been placed. He abandoned the hope of honor and distinction; he sacrificed every prospect of gain or ease; and he gave up his dearest friends and separated himself from those whom he tenderly loved. He might have risen to the highest posts of honor in his native land, and the path which an ambitious young man desires was fully open before him. But all this had been cheerfully sacrificed in order that he might obtain an interest in the Saviour, and partake of the blessings of his religion. He has not, indeed, informed us of the exact extent of his loss in becoming a Christian. It is by no means improbable that he had been excommunicated by the Jews; and that he had been disowned by his own family.

And do count them but dung - The word used here - σκύβαλον skubalon - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, dregs; refuse; what is thrown away as worthless; chaff; offal, or the refuse of a table or of slaughtered animals, and then filth of any kind. No language could express a more deep sense of the utter worthlessness of all that external advantages can confer in the matter of salvation. In the question of justification before God, all reliance on birth, and blood, and external morality, and forms of religion, and prayers, and alms, is to be renounced, and, in comparison with the merits of the great Redeemer, to be esteemed as vile. Such were Paul's views, and we may remark that if this was so in his case, it should he in ours. Such things can no more avail for our salvation than they could for his. We can no more be justified by them than he could. Nor will they do anything more in our case to commend us to God than they did in his.

8. Yea doubtless—The oldest manuscripts omit "doubtless" (Greek, "ge"): translate, "nay more." Not only "have I counted" those things just mentioned "loss for Christ's sake, but, moreover, I even DO count ALL things but loss," &c.

for the excellency—Greek, "On account of the surpassing excellency (the supereminence above them all) of the knowledge of Christ Jesus."

my Lord—believing and loving appropriation of Him (Ps 63:1; Joh 20:28).

for whom—"on account of whom."

I have suffered the loss—not merely I "counted" them "loss," but have actually lost them.

all things—The Greek has the article, referring to the preceding "all things"; "I have suffered the loss of them all."

dung—Greek, "refuse (such as excrements, dregs, dross) cast to the dogs," as the derivation expresses. A "loss" is of something having value; but "refuse" is thrown away as not worthy of being any more touched or looked at.

win—Translate, to accord with the translation, Php 3:7, "gain Christ." A man cannot make other things his "gain" or chief confidence, and at the same time "gain Christ." He who loses all things, and even himself, on account of Christ, gains Christ: Christ is His, and He is Christ's (So 2:16; 6:3; Lu 9:23, 24; 1Co 3:23).

Yea doubtless; he very emphatically, in the Greek, expresseth his stronger resolution upon further deliberation.

And I count all things; as he had reckoned and rated when he was first wrought upon to entertain Christ, so at present he did not alter his judgment, in the valuation of any thing he had rejected; yea, he speaks universally, what he did but indefinitely, using the present tense with a discretive particle: he disesteemed, not only his Jewish privileges and exercises before, but his Christian after conversion, as of any worth to commend him to God, or as any matter to be rested on for his justification before God; showing he did not ascribe his being accepted to eternal life, unto his own works after he was renewed, and now had so many years served God in his apostolical ministry, performed such excellent works, planted so many churches, gained so many souls to Christ, passed through perils for the name of Christ. He remarkably puts in all, not only which he had before recited, but to all works as such whatsoever, yea, and to all whatsoever could be thought on besides Christ.

But loss; whatever they be in themselves, they are but loss or damage, of no worth to me, as to any dependence on them for acceptance with God.

For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; compared with the surpassing worth and excellency in the fiducial, experimental (as is plain from what follows) knowledge of Jesus Christ, in his person, offices, and benefits, wherein an eye of faith can discern transcendent mysteries, Isaiah 53:2 John 17:3 1Jo 5:20 1 Timothy 3:16 1 Peter 1:12; to be adored by the sincere servants of so excellent a Lord, Mark 5:30,33; to have an interest in whom, and to enjoy whom, every thing besides is despicable.

For whom I have suffered the loss of all things; for whom (he adds) he did not only account them loss, {as Philippians 3:7} in his judgment and readiness to lose them, but he actually sustained the loss of them, Acts 20:23 1 Corinthians 4:13 2 Corinthians 11:23, &c.: as to any plea for his acceptance, he suffered them all to go in this case, which he could not do till God, of his rich and insuperable grace, wrought this resolution in him, by his Holy Spirit; then he willingly did it.

And do count them but dung; yea, and upon a right stating of the accounts he reckoned he was no loser by the exchange, in that he did esteem them, in a just balance, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, 1 Corinthians 2:13, in point of trust, those excellent things with an excellent Christ, to be no better than dung, as we with the Syriac and others translate the word; or dogs’, meat, refuse cast to the dogs, with others; and might agree with the gust of those, Philippians 3:2, whom he calls dogs, Matthew 15:26 Mark 7:27. Those much conversant in Greek authors do criticise largely upon the word, which is acknowledged on all hands to import things, if not loathsome, yet vile and contemptible, as chaff, &c.; and so not absolutely, but in their respect, did Paul account all things in comparison of Christ, even our good works proceeding from a heart sanctified but in part; he doth not mean of the substance, but quality of the trust or merit placed in them; not in themselves, but in regard of confidence in them, as to pardon and acceptance with God: not in point of sanctification, but justification, the apostle is here speaking to. So to rely upon them would not only comparatively, but positively, be greatest loss, as keeping from Christ, who is the greatest gain, for which the loss of all besides was to be sustained.

That I may win Christ; that he might gain him, and be assured of an interest in him, whom he had above described in his state of humiliation and exaltation, and enjoy communion with him, Matthew 11:28 Luke 14:26,33 2 Corinthians 4:6 1Jo 5:12; of whom he would receive more, and for whom he would do more, aiming at the making of Christ himself his own, by some kind of propriety, 1 Corinthians 1:30.

Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss,.... Not only the things before mentioned, but anything, and everything else but Christ, or that stood in competition with him, or were short of him; as his natural and acquired parts; the whole compass of learning he had attained to; all that honour, credit, reputation, and popularity he was in for knowledge and devotion; all worldly substance, the comforts of life, and life itself; and all his righteousness since conversion, as well as before; of this no doubt could be made by those who knew him, his principles and his practices: and all this

for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: "by the knowledge of Christ" is not meant subjectively the knowledge that is in Christ, or which he has of others, either as God or man; but objectively, that knowledge which believers have of him, who know him not only in his person, as God over all, but as a Saviour and Redeemer, and as theirs; they know him in all his relations, and particularly as their Lord, not by creation only, but by redemption and grace, as the apostle did, putting an emphasis on these words, "my Lord"; thereby expressing his faith of interest in him, his great affection for him, and cheerful subjection to him. And this knowledge is not general, but special, spiritual, and saving; it is a knowledge of approbation of Christ above all others; a fiducial one, which has faith in him joined with it, and is both experimental and, practical, and, at least at times, appropriating; and though imperfect, it is progressive and capable of being increased, and will at last be brought to perfection. It is attained to, not by the light of nature, nor by the help of carnal reason, nor by the law of Moses, but by the Gospel of the grace of God, as a means; and the efficient cause of it is Father, Son, and Spirit; the Father reveals Christ in his saints; the Son gives them an understanding to know him; and the Spirit is a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; and this knowledge is very excellent: a spiritual knowledge of Christ is more excellent than a general and notional one, or than a knowledge of Christ after the flesh; and the knowledge of Christ under the Gospel dispensation, though the same in nature, is more excellent than that which was under the legal dispensation, by promises, prophecies, and the ceremonial law, in degree, extensiveness, and clearness; but the most excellent knowledge of Christ is that of the saints in heaven; yea, even there is an excellency in what the saints have here on earth, and a superior one to all other knowledge, if the author and original of it is considered: it is not of ourselves, nor by the assistance of men; it is not in the book of nature, nor in the schools of the philosophers; it is not of earth, nor earthly, but it comes from afar, from above, from heaven, from God the Father of lights; it is a free grace gift, a distinguishing one, and is very comprehensive, unspeakable, and unchangeable: and as to the object of it, it is Christ, the chiefest among ten thousands; who made the heavens, earth, and seas, and all that in them are, the sun, moon, and stars, men and beasts, birds and fishes, fossils, minerals, vegetables, and everything in nature; and therefore the knowledge of him must be superior to the knowledge of everything else; and, which adds to its excellency, it makes Christ precious, engages faith and confidence in him, influences the life and conversation, humbles the soul, and creates in it true pleasure and satisfaction; when all other knowledge fills with self-love, pride, and vanity, and increases sorrow; whereas this is not only useful in life, but supports, as under afflictions, so in the views of death and eternity; through it grace is received now, and by it glory hereafter; for it is the beginning, earnest, and pledge of eternal life. Well may the believer count all things but loss for it, as the apostle did; who adds, for further confirmation of what he had asserted,

for whom I have suffered the loss of all things; he dropped all confidence in his carnal privileges, and civil, ceremonial, and moral righteousness, for Christ and his righteousness; he parted with all for this pearl of great price; he lost his good name, credit, and reputation among men, and suffered afflictions and persecutions in various shapes; he lost the comforts of life, being often in cold and nakedness, in hunger and thirst, and was ready to suffer the loss of life itself for professing and preaching Christ:

and do count them but dung; or dog's meat; see Philippians 3:2; what is fit only to be cast to dogs, as the word signifies; and intends every thing that is base, mean, and worthless; as the faeces of men, the dregs and lees of liquor, the falling of fruit, chaff, stubble, the dross of metals, dung, and what not: so he esteemed his carnal descent; his form and sect of religion, and zeal in it; his ceremonial and moral righteousness before and after conversion; and everything of the creature, or what was his own, and but flesh; being of the same opinion with the church of old, who reckoned her righteousnesses, the best, and the whole of them, as "filthy rags". The apostle next expresses his end and views in this,

that I may win Christ; not get an interest in him, for this he had already, and he knew he had, and that he should never lose it; and besides, an interest in Christ is not a thing that begins in time, but commenced from all eternity; and is not gotten at all, not by good works, nor repentance, nor faith; for these, if right and genuine, are the fruits and effects of an interest in Christ, but is what is freely given. The apostle's meaning is, either that he might gain or acquire a larger knowledge of Christ; and he cared not what pains he took, what expenses he was at, nor what loss he sustained for what he esteemed the most excellent, and for which he had already suffered the loss of all things; and if he had had more to lose, he could willingly part with it for more of this knowledge; compare Philippians 3:10; or his sense is, that he might gain by Christ, or that Christ might be gain to him, as he found him to be, and as he is to every believer; who by parting with all for Christ, gains much by him, as a justifying righteousness, acceptance with God, peace, pardon, life, grace, and glory.

Yea doubtless, and I count {e} all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may {f} win Christ,

(e) He shuts out all works, those that go before, as well as those that come after faith.

(f) That in their place I might get Christ, and from a poor man become rich, so far am I from losing anything at all.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 3:8. Ἀλλά is the climactic but, still, much more, giving a corrective reference of the sense, signifying that with the previous ἅτιναζημίαν there has not yet been enough said. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 7:11. In the μὲν οὖν it is implied, that “μὲν rem praesentem confirmet, οὖν autem conclusionem ex rebus ita comparatis conficiat,” Klotz, ad Devar. p. 663. Hence ἀλλὰ μὲν οὖν: at quidem igitur. The καί before ἡγοῦμαι (after ἀλλὰ μ. οὖν) serves also to help the climactic sense, outbidding what has been said previously: etiam, i.e. adeo. It is consequently to be explained: but, accordingly, I am even of opinion that everything (not merely what was meant by ἅτινα in Php 3:7) is a disadvantage. It is clear, withal, from the following διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον κ.τ.λ. that πάντα is meant indeed without restriction, of all things, goods, honours, etc. (comp. also Hofmann), but in so far as they are not made subordinate to the knowledge of Christ. The explanation of others, according to which ἀλλὰ μὲν οὖν is intended to oppose the present ἡγοῦμαι by way of correction to the perfect ἥγημαι (Calvin and others, including Winer, p. 412 [E. T. 552], and the explanation hitherto given by me), is incorrect, because ἥγημαι, and not the aorist ἡγησάμην, was employed previously, and the perfect already involves the continuance of the opinion in the present, so that no contrast of the tenses would logically be elicited. The climactic contrast lies rather in the fact that the second ἡγεῖσθαι ζημίαν is a much more comprehensive one than the first, in fact, one without exception (πάντα).

διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον κ.τ.λ.] on account of the surpassingness of the knowledge of Christ; that is, because this knowledge, to which I have attained, is a possession which excels in value everything else; the eminent quality of a possession attained is the ground (διά) for estimating other possessions according to their relation to that one, and consequently, if they stand to the latter in a relation hindersome to us, for looking upon them no longer as something advantageous, but as hurtful. As to the neuter adjective used as a substantive with the genitive, in order to the more prominent setting forth of the attribute, see Bernhardy, p. 155 f.; Winer, p. 220 [E. T. 294].

Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ὁ κυριός μοῦ; this is the fundamental sum of the whole contents of Christian knowledge. This saving knowledge is the necessary intelligence of faith (comp. on John 8:32), and grows with the experience of faith (Php 3:10; Ephesians 3:16 ff.).

διʼ ὅν] for the sake of whom, i.e. for the sake of possessing Him; comp. afterwards ἵνα Χριστὸναὐτῷ.

τὰ πάντα] the whole, not general like πάντα previously (Hofmann), but: which I possessed, Php 3:5-7. This more precise definition by the article results from ἐζημιώθην, in connection with which the aorist is to be noted, by which Paul denotes that great historical turning-point in his life, the event of his conversion; through that event he has lost all his (pre-Christian) valued possessions,[158] and thenceforth he has them no more. Luther erroneously interprets: “considered as harm;” and the emotion and force of the expression are only weakened by the frequently given reflexive sense (see Beza, Calvin, Heinrichs, Flatt, Hoelemann, van Hengel, and many): I have made myself lose,—a meaning, besides, which cannot be shown to belong to the passive form of the aorist of this verb (not even in Luke 9:25). The future passive form ζημιωθήσομαι (see Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iii. 9. 12, Thuc. iii. 40. 2) is invariably damno afficiar.

καὶ ἡγοῦμαι κ.τ.λ.] not to be taken as independent (de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Weiss), but, in keeping with the climactic flow of the discourse, as still in continuous connection with ΔΙʼ ὋΝ Κ.Τ.Λ.; hence ΔΙʼ ὋΝ Τ. Π. ἘΖΗΜ. is not, with van Hengel, to be put in a parenthesis. Paul had become loser of all these things for Christ’s sake, and he holds them as not worthy of possession, but as rubbish! σκύβαλον,[159] refuse (such as sweepings, dung, husks, and the like); Sir 27:4; Plut. Mor. p. 352 D; and see Wetstein ad loc.; frequently in the Anthol., see Jacobs, Ach. Tat. p. 522, ad Anthol. VII. p. 173, IX. p. 208. Comp. the similar figurative expressions περικάθαρμα and ΠΕΡΙΨΉΜΑ, 1 Corinthians 4:13.

ἽΝΑ Χ. ΚΕΡΔ.] The design in the ἩΓΟῦΜΑΙ ΣΚΎΒ. ΕἾΝΑΙ: in order to gain Christ, not the aim of τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην (Hofmann), there being no reason for such a retrospective reference. The gaining of Christ, i.e. the appropriation of Him by means of the fellowship brought about through faith, is that, which for him is to take the place of those former κέρδη which he has lost, and so he looked to this gain in his ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα εἶναι; it is present to his view as the one and highest gain at which he has to aim. It is true that Paul has Christ already long ago (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:3); nevertheless, this κερδαίνειν is from its nature a development, the completion of which still lies before him. Comp. Php 3:12 ff.

[158] Observe here, also, the shrewdly contrived correspondence of ζημίαν in ver. 7 f., and ἐζημιώθην in ver. 8, in which the former expresses the idea of damnum, detrimentum, and the latter: I have become loser of. It might be reproduced in Latin: “etiam censeo omnia detrimentum (i.e. detrimentosa) esse … propter quem omnium detrimentum (i.e. jacturam) passus sum censeoque ea esse quisquilias.”

[159] Not to be derived from τοῖς κυσὶ βάλλειν, quod canibus projicitur, but from σκῶρ (σκάς). See Lobeck, Pathol. p. 92.

Php 3:8. ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε. Probably γε ought to be read (see crit. note supr.), as its absence in some good authorities is accounted for by the ease with which it could be omitted (so D omits it in 2 Corinthians 11:16; [41]D[42]F[43]G in Romans 8:32; B in Romans 9:20). Almost = “Nay, that is a feeble way of expressing it; I can go further and say,” etc. ἀλλά suggests a contrast to be introduced, μέν adds emphasis, while οὖν, gathering up what has already been said, corrects it by way of extending his assertion (γε can scarcely be translated, representing, rather, a tone of the voice in taking back the limitations implied in ἅτινακέρδη). “Nay rather, I actually count all things,” etc. We cannot well see, in view of the natural translation of ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε, how the emphasis could be laid on any other word than πάντα. There is no need for contrasting ἥγημαι and ἡγοῦμαι. He does not compare present and past. ἥγημαι already expresses the fixed decision to which he has come. He has spoken of regarding his important Jewish prerogatives as “loss” for Christ’s sake. Now he widens the range to πάντα. This is the goal of Christian life. It is not to be divided up between Christ and earthliness. It is not to express itself in attention to certain details. “If we should say some things, we might be in danger of sliding into a one-sided puritanism” (Rainy, op. cit., p. 191).—τὸ ὑπερέχον τ. γνώς. Χ. . κ.τ.λ. An instance of the extraordinary predilection of the later language for forming abstract substantives from adjectives and participles. Cf. 2 Corinthians 4:17, τὸἐλαφρὸν τῆς θηίψεως ἡμῶν. Probably = “the surpassing (or supreme) thing which consists in the knowledge,” etc. “We beheld His glory.” That glory outshines all this earth’s guiding-stars.—τ. γνώσεως. This knowledge on which Paul is so fond of dwelling is, as Beysch. well expresses it, “the reflection of faith in our reason” (op. cit., ii., p. 177). It is directly connected with the surrender of the soul to Christ, but, as Paul teaches, that always means a close intimacy with Him, from which there springs an ever-growing knowledge of His spirit and will. Such knowledge lays a stable foundation for the Christian character, preventing it from evaporating into a mere unreasoning emotionalism. The conception, which is prominent in Paul’s writings, is based on the O.T. idea of the knowledge of God. That is always practical, religious. To know God is to revere Him, to be godly, for to know Him is to understand the revelation He has given of Himself. Cf. Isaiah 11:2, Habakkuk 2:14. It is natural that in the later Epistles this aspect of the spiritual life should come into the foreground, seeing that already the Christian faith was being confronted by other explanations of man’s relation to God. To know Christ, the Apostle teaches, is to have the key which will unlock all the secrets of existence viewed from the standpoint of religion.—τοῦ Κυρίου μ. It was as Κύριος, the exalted Lord, that Paul first knew Christ. And always it is from this standpoint he looks backwards and forwards. To recognise this is to understand his doctrinal teaching.—διʼ ὃν τ. πάντα ἐζημιώθην. τὰ πάντα = “the sum-total” as opposed to a part. (So also Holst.) Perhaps in contrasting ἐζημ. and κερδήσω, as in the similar contrast in Php 3:7, he may have in view our Lord’s words in Matthew 16:26. In N.T. only the passive of ζημιόω is used with various constructions. [It gives good sense to regard καὶ ἡγ. σκύβ. as a parenthesis, and thus to make ἵνα κερδ. along with its parallel τοῦ γνῶναι depend on ἐζημ. In this case the Apostle speaks from the standpoint of his conversion. See J. Weiss, Th. LZ[44]., 1899, col. 264.]—σκύβαλα. The derivation is uncertain. It is most probably connected with σκῶρ, “dung”. It is often used in this sense itself, but also in the wider meaning of any “refuse,” such as the remains of a banquet. See a large collection of exx. from late writers in Wetstein and Lft[45]., and cf. the apt parallel in Plautus, Truc., ii., 7, 5, Amator qui bona sua pro stercore habet. Probably εἶναι ought to be omitted, although there is great divergence in the authorities. (See crit. note supr.) It might easily be inserted as parallel to the preceding εἶναι.—ἵνα Χ. κερδήσω. “That I may win Christ.” There is nothing mechanical or fixed about fellowship with Christ. It may be interrupted by decay of zeal, the intrusion of the earthly spirit, the toleration of known sins, the easy domination of self-will, and countless other causes. Hence, to maintain it, there must be the continuous estimating of earthly things at their true value. Accordingly he looks on “winning Christ” as something present and future, not as a past act. (As to the form, an aorist ἐκέρδησα is found in Herod., Joseph., LXX, etc. See Kühner-Blass, Gramm., ii., p. 457.)

[41] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[42] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[43] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[44] . LZ. Theologische Literaturzeitung.

[45] Lightfoot.

8. Yea doubtless, and &c.] Better, perhaps, Yea rather I even &c. He adds a twofold new weight to the assertion; “I count” (not only “I have counted”), emphasizing the presentness of the estimate; and “all things,” not only specified grounds of reliance. Whatever, from any point of view, could seem to compete with Christ as his peace and life, he renounces as such; be it doings, sufferings, virtues, inspiration, revelations.

for] Better, again, on account of.

the excellency] More lit., the surpassingness. For St Paul’s love of superlative words see on Php 2:9 above.

the knowledge &c.] He found, in the light of grace, that “this is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). On the conditions and blessedness of such “knowledge” cp. e.g. Matthew 11:27 (where the word is kindred though not identical); John 1:10-12; John 10:14; John 14:7; John 17:25; 2 Corinthians 5:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 3:19; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:3-5; 1 John 3:6; 1 John 4:7-8. The Apostle sometimes speaks with a certain depreciation of “knowledge” (e.g. 1 Corinthians 8:1; 1 Corinthians 13:2; 1 Corinthians 13:8). But he means there plainly a knowledge which is concerned not with Christ and God, but with spiritual curiosities, which may be known, or at least sought, without Divine life and love. The knowledge here in view is the recognition, from the first insight eternally onward, of the “knowledge-surpassing” (Ephesians 3:19) reality and glory of the Person and Work of the Son of the Father, as Saviour, Lord, and Life; a knowledge inseparable from love. See further on Php 3:10.

Observe the implicit witness of such language as that before us to the Godhead of Christ. Cp. Ephesians 3:19, and notes in this Series.

of Christ Jesus my Lord] Note the solemnity and fulness of the designation. The glorious Object shines anew before him as he thinks out the words. Observe too the characteristic “my Lord” (see note on Php 1:3 above). There is a Divine individualism in the Gospel, in deep harmony with its truths of community and communion, but not to be merged in them. “One by one” is the law of the great ingathering and incorporation (John 6:35; John 6:37; John 6:40; John 6:44; John 6:47; John 6:51 &c.); the believing individual, as well as the believing Church, has Christ for “Head” (1 Corinthians 11:3), and lives by faith in Him who has loved the individual and given Himself for him (Galatians 2:20; cp. Ephesians 5:25).

for whom] Lit. and better, on account of whom; in view of the discovery of whom.

I have suffered &c.] Better, I suffered &c.; a reference to the crisis of his renunciation of the old reliance, and also of the stern rejection with which the Synagogue would treat him as a renegade. This one passing allusion to the tremendous cost at which he became a Christian is, by its very passingness, deeply impressive and pathetic; and it has of course a powerful bearing on the nature and solidity of the reasons for his change, and so on the evidences of the Faith. See on this last subject, Observations on the Character &c. of St Paul, by George, first Lord Lyttelton (1747).

The verb rendered “I suffered loss,” “I was fined, mulcted,” is akin to the noun “loss” used just above, and takes it up. There is a certain verbal “play” in this; he reckoned his old privileges and position loss, from a spiritual point of view, and he was made by others to feel the loss of them, in a temporal respect.

all things] The Gr. suggests the paraphrase, my all.

dung] Better, refuse, as R.V. margin. The Greek word is used in secular writers in both senses. Its probably true derivation favours the former, but the derivation popularly accepted by the Greeks (“a thing cast to the dogs”) the latter. And this fact leans to the inference that in common parlance it meant the leavings of a meal, or the like. See Lightfoot here.

that I may win] Better, with R.V., that I may gain; the verb echoes the noun of Php 3:7. There was no merit in his coming to a true conviction about “confidence in the flesh”; but that conviction was so vital an antecedent to his possession and fruition of Christ that it was as it were the price paid in order to “gain” Him. Cp. the imagery of Revelation 3:17-18.

That I may”:—practically, we may paraphrase, “that I might”; with a reference to the past. The main bearing of the passage is obviously on the crisis of his conversion; on what he then lost and then gained, but he speaks as if he were in the crisis now. Not unfrequently in N.T. Greek the past is thus projected into the present and future, where certainly in English we should say “might,” not “may.” Cp. e.g. (in the Greek) Matthew 19:13; Acts 5:26; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 John 3:5. It is true that the Apostle here uses the present, not the past, in the adjoining main verb (“I count”). But this may well be an exceptional case of projection of the whole statement about the past, instead of part of it, into the present.—Or may not the words “and do count them refuse” be parenthetic? In that case he would in effect say, what would be a most vivid antithesis, “I suffered the loss of my all, (and a worthless ‘all’ I now see it to be,) that I might gain Christ.”

He thus “gained” nothing less than Christ; not merely subsidiary and derived benefits, but the Source and Secret of all benefits. The glorious Person, “who is made unto us of God wisdom, even righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30), was now his own, in a mysterious but real possession.

Php 3:8. Μενοῦν, yea) There is an amplification of the language, namely, in the employment of this particle, and then by the emphatic addition [Epitasis. Append.] of synonymous terms; also in the fuller appellation of Christ Himself.—καὶ ἡγοῦμαι, even I count) καὶ, even, intensifies the force of the present tense in ἡγοῦμαι, I count. Righteousness, not only at first, but always throughout the whole career of the saints, is of faith.—πάντα, all things) not only those which I have now mentioned, but all things.—διὰγνώσεως, κ.τ.λ., forof the knowledge, etc.) Construed with I count[37], and refer to this, Php 3:10-11, τοῦ γνώναι, that I may know.—τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως, the excellency of the knowledge) Excellency properly belongs to Christ; but when He is known, the knowledge of Him likewise obtains excellency.—τοῦ Κυρίου μου, of my Lord) The appropriation of the [Saviour by the] believer.—ἐζημιώθην) not only I counted them loss, but in reality I cast them away.—σκύβαλα) There is an amplification here in regard to the believer’s self-denial as to all things: ζημία, loss, is incurred with equanimity; σκύβαλα are hastily thrown away, as things not afterwards to be considered worthy either to be touched or looked at. The Hebrew word, פרש, contains an Antanaclasis[38] in relation to the Pharisees;[39] see P. Zornii, T. 2. Opusc. sacr. p. 514. Gataker says: “σκύβαλον marks out any worthless thing, that is to be cast away, such as the excrements of animals, the dregs and grounds of liquors, the dross of metals, what falls from plants, the refuse of the crops, the bran of meal, the crumbs of the table, the wipings of the hands, which are destined for the dogs.[40] See this very fully in Adversar. misc. posth. cap. 43.”—ἵνα, that) The two things are incompatible, both to retain other things and to win (obtain) Christ.—κερδήσω καὶ εὑρεθῶ, that I may win and he found) Each of the two is antithetical to ζημίαν, loss. He who loses all things, not even excepting himself, wins Christ, and is won in Christ. Christ is his, and he is Christ’s. More still, Paul speaks as if he had not yet won.

[37] On account of the excellency, etc., I count all things loss: not with εἶναι ζημίαν, to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge.—ED.

[38] The same word, in the same context, used in a double sense. See Append.—ED.

[39] Of whom Paul, ver. 5, had said he was one, a Pharisee, Th. Pharash, in the sense separate: and yet one who counted all else but Christ פֶרֶשׁ, in the sense .—ED.

[40] According to the derivation assigned to σκύβαλον, εἰς κύνας βάλλειν, as σκορακίζω, from εἰς κόρακας.—ED.

Verse 8. - Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss. He holds fast the truth which he once learned; he still counts all things as loss in comparison with the one thing needful. The particles used here (see Winer, sect. liii.) correct and strengthen the assertion of the last verse, both as to time, "I count," and as to extent, "all things," not only the privileges mentioned above. For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. The preposition may be rendered "for the sake of," as in ver. 7, or "because of." The knowledge of Christ is a blessing so surpassing and transcendent that nothing else is worthy to be called good in comparison with that one highest good. Its glory, like the rising sun, overwhelms and hides all lesser lights. My Lord. The pronoun expresses the warmth of his affection, the close personal communion between the apostle and the Savior (see ch. 1:3). For whom I have suffered the loss of all things; rather, I suffered the loss of; literally, I was fined or mulcted; the aorist refers to the time of his conversion. All things (τὰ πάντα); all that I had in the world, my all, all things together (comp. Romans 8:32). He lost his all for Christ, for the sake of possessing Christ: with Christ God will freely give him all things (τὰ πάντα again). And do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Σκύβαλα (also in Ecclus. 27:4); dung, or perhaps refuse, dogs' meat; comp. Matthew 15:26, 27. There the Jews were the children, the Gentiles dogs. St. Paul here, as in ver. 2, reverses the terms of the comparison; the legal privileges of the Jew nee but as crumbs thrown to dogs in comparison with the rich blessings of the gospel. Comp. also Matthew 16:26, where our Lord uses the same verbs, to lose and to gain; the whole world is but loss, the Savior says, compared with the never-dying soul. The loss of one's all in this world (St. Paul echoes the sacred words) is as nothing; all things put together are but as dung, compared with the one thing which St. Paul so longed to gain, Christ himself - his presence in the soul, spiritual union with the Lord. "To gain Christ is to lay fast hold upon him, to receive him inwardly into our bosoms, and so to make him ours and ourselves his, that we may be joined to him as our Head, espoused to him as our Husband, incorporated into him as our Nourishment, engrafted in him as our Stock, and laid upon him as a sure Foundation" (Bishop Hall, ' Christ Mystical,' ch. 6, quoted by Bishop EIlicott). Philippians 3:8Yea doubtless (ἀλλὰ μὲν οὖν)

Ἁλλὰ but, Philippians 3:7, puts that verse in direct contrast with the preceding verse. Ἁλλὰ yea or verily, in this verse affirms more than the preceding statement, while οὖν therefore (not rendered), collects and concludes from what has been previously said: Yea verily therefore.

All things

An advance on those (things) of Philippians 3:7.

For the excellency, etc. (διὰ)

On account of: because the knowledge of Christ is so much greater than all things else.

I have suffered the loss (ἐζημιώθην)

Rev., better, I suffered; when I embraced Christianity. Lit., was mulcted. See on Matthew 16:26, and see on cast away, Luke 9:25.

All things (τὰ πάντα)

Collectively. All things mentioned in Philippians 3:5-7.

Dung (σκύβαλα)

Rev., refuse. Either excrement or what is thrown away from the table; leavings. The derivation is uncertain. According to some it is a contraction from ἐς κύνας βάλλω to throw to the dogs. See on filth, 1 Corinthians 4:13. Notice the repetition of gain, count, loss, all things, Christ.

Win (κερδήσω)

Rev., better, gain, corresponding with gain, Philippians 3:7.

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